WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — A prominent pro-life activist is calling upon Christians across the U.S. to ask their local bishops to publicly defend Bishop Joseph Strickland amid reports that he will be asked to resign by Pope Francis.
Randall Terry, founder of the abortion protest group Operation Rescue, spoke with LifeSiteNews senior correspondent Jim Hale yesterday outside the papal nunciature in Washington, D.C., where he protested the papal call for Bishop Strickland to step down.
Terry believes that this opportunity to support Bishop Strickland is the “test of the mettle” of American bishops, and said he has a “strong feeling” that if 10 or more bishops speak out on Bishop Strickland’s behalf, that the Vatican will “back off.”
“But if they can cut down Bishop Strickland without a peep from the American episcopacy, it sends a message to other bishops: Shut up, sit down, don’t talk about the deposit of faith, don’t talk about orthodoxy, don’t talk about pro-life and homosexual marriage, don’t say what is righteous and holy and good in a political election. Just be quiet. And that is exactly what is wrong with so many aspects of the Church today,” Terry told Hale.
Terry said that not only should Bishop Strickland not be deposed, but that we need more bishops like him. In fact, he believes that the scandal which plagues the Catholic Church is due to a lack of bishops like Strickland.
“If more bishops would speak boldly, plainly, outspokenly, courageously about the deposit of faith, I don’t think we’d be in the mess that we’re in right now,” said Terry.
The pro-life activist also recently learned that Bishop Strickland’s diocese is one of the most successful in the country in its numbers of men entering the priesthood.
“Why? Because [his] valor and orthodoxy inspire young men to be soldiers of Christ and to go into the priesthood,” said Terry.
He called upon all Christians to “say the truth with courage like Bishop Strickland does.”
“If you’re a pro-lifer, don’t give up. Be bold, be courageous, say that abortion is murder. Don’t flinch. Tell your fellow Christians and Catholics, if they vote for someone who supports the killing of babies, they have blood on their hands because of their vote,” he went on.
When asked by Hale for his thoughts on the lack of response from Washington, D.C. Archbishop Wilton Gregory on the recent conviction of five pro-life activists found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, Terry replied, “My fear for Bishop Strickland is men like Cardinal Gregory.”
“These are people who do not want to stand up for the babies, the unborn, who don’t want to stand against so-called homosexual marriage, who don’t want to stand unflinchingly for Catholic orthodoxy in the public realm,” he continued.
Hale went on to ask Terry if he had “ever seen anything” like the Biden Justice Department’s current “war on pro-lifers.”
“Think with me over 50 or 60 years of civil disobedience in America… When have you ever seen non-violent protesters of any political persuasion being hammered with felonies and facing six, eight, 11 years in prison? This is abominable. This is despicable.”
“The point of these prosecutions is persecution. This is a message to the pro-life movement: We will destroy you. You might have overturned Roe v. Wade, but we‘re gunning for you and we will put you in prison. So this is designed to terrorize people, to put fear in their hearts,” concluded Terry.
Bishop Strickland, 64, is known for his unequivocal defense of Catholic teaching, teaching that is often cast in confusion by papal statements or messages.
Strickland’s more public positions on moral and doctrinal issues include urging Francis to deny Holy Communion to former U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over her support of legal abortion, accusing the Pope of a “program of undermining the Deposit of Faith,” and condemning the prominent pro-LGBT “blasphemy” of Father James Martin, S.J.
He has also been notably forthright on moral controversies in U.S. politics and culture, including the Biden administration’s spying on Catholics and public displays by self-described “Satanic” groups. This summer, he spoke at a protest against the Los Angeles Dodgers’ hosting an anti-Catholic drag queen troupe called the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” who style themselves as grotesque nuns.
But the apostolic visitation is believed to have been particularly prompted by a May 13 post on X, formerly Twitter, in which he explicitly stated: “I reject [Pope Francis’] program of undermining the Deposit of Faith.”