Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas took to social media to support Fr. Anthony Buś — a Chicago priest in hot water for pushing back against Cdl. Blase Cupich's restrictions on ad orientem worship and the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM).
Ad orientem means "toward the east" — facing the High Altar and not facing the people.
"This brave priest goes to the heart of the issue," Bp. Strickland tweeted Jan. 15.
This brave priest goes to the heart of the issue. "Do we go the way of Jesus Christ or do we accommodate and compromise our faith in deference to the world?" My answer, I choose Jesus. Let us pray for each other as we choose His way in this storm. https://t.co/qgnel3rXg2— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishopoftyler) January 15, 2022
Pro-gay Jesuit celebrity priest James Martin reacted in a tweet, "Truly astonishing: A bishop praises a priest in another diocese who is challenging his own bishop, apparently saying that this means to 'choose Jesus.' By the way, at the ordination Mass, a priest promises 'respect and obedience' to the local bishop and his successors."
Come on, Father! Bishop Strickland is a trusted authority in the U.S. Church on matters of orthodoxy. You are just a priest known not for orthodoxy or holiness but for promoting sodomy. The old saying goes, "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Well, here are a few well-aimed stones against your house of glass.
Truly astonishing: A bishop praises a priest in another diocese who is challenging his own bishop, apparently saying that this means to "choose Jesus." Btw, at the Ordination Mass, a priest promises "respect and obedience" to the local bishop and his successors. https://t.co/yT6ld4y399— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) January 15, 2022
Fr. Martin wrote: "At the ordination Mass, a priest promises 'respect and obedience' to the local bishop and his successors." That's misleading at best. Upon a man's ordination to the priesthood, he makes a promise of obedience to his bishop and the bishop's successors solely concerning matters of faith and morals. This has been true for as long as priests have been making such vows.
When a man places his hands between the bishop's hands and makes his vows at his ordination Mass, he does so with the thought in his mind that these promises he makes in public are being made to Christ Himself. The bishop, acting in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) at the ordination Mass, receives this man's promises.
Making vows of ordination to our Lord Himself is not something any man takes lightly. The parties involved — the bishop acting on the part of Christ and the man becoming a priest — understand full well that the vows being placed are to be kept faithfully in keeping with Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. A priest's promise of obedience does not make the priest some sort of slave to his bishop or the bishop's successors. Nor does it apply to issues outside this scope.
In recent times, there's been an overreach of bishops' authority. Showing obedience now has been twisted to involve following health recommendations, including so-called vaccine mandates by dioceses and mask requirements in churches.
The promises a priest makes upon his ordination are best understood in light of what Paul said to the Corinthians, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). A priest makes various promises to his bishop to follow Christ and to follow Christ's Church. He is not some sort of slavish adherent to the various caprices and proclivities of his bishop.
Father Martin couldn't be more off base, while Bp. Strickland is clearly within his rights. The bishops' whims, perhaps, are in keeping with the Democratic Party's goals, but they fall outside the domain of our Faith or the Church's moral teaching — the only realm in which obedience applies. Bishop Strickland is correct to support persecuted clerics against fellow U.S. ordinaries' aggressive tactics of weaponizing obedience.
Furthermore, what credibility, what integrity, does Fr. James Martin have in flinging aspersions against Bp. Strickland? Isn't it the pope's job to discipline a bishop, not Fr. Martin's?
Father Martin is way out of bounds here and, as such, should keep his tweets to himself.