In Gaillot’s case, his removal did little to silence him. He showed up often in the media and was an early adopter of the internet, becoming what some called the Catholic Church’s first “virtual bishop” and earning the title of “red cleric.”
Strickland’s critics have called for his ouster, but some have expressed concern the Texas bishop, who has attracted a wide following among opponents of Francis, could imitate Gaillot in continuing to trumpet his views should the Vatican remove him. Unlike Gaillot, Strickland has the power of a far more robust internet and social media, for which he has shown an aptitude.
“I believe that the fear is that, if he’s removed, his visibility will be amplified,” Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, told RNS earlier this year.
In his email to RNS, Strickland expressed frustration with rumors about the meeting, chiding primarily “whoever is supposedly leaking information from important meetings at the Vatican.” But he added opprobrium for the media: The “intimation of these articles, even if found to be completely false,” he said, “is harmful to the Bride of Christ that we are called to love and serve.”
This article originally appeared here.