Pro-Life Priest Frank Pavone ‘Dismissed from Clerical State’ with ‘No Possibility of Appeal’

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‘They’ve been creating one excuse after the other to try to sideline my work, to discredit Priests for Life and to get me out of leadership.’

Father Frank Pavone, leader of the pro-life organization Priests for Life, has been dismissed from the clergy with no possibility of appealing his case.

According to a Dec. 13 letter (pdf), Archbishop Christophe Pierre announced that Pavone had been “dismissed from the clerical state” on Nov. 9, with “no possibility of appeal.” According to an attached statement, Pavone was “found guilty in canonical proceedings of blasphemous communications on social media and of persistent disobedience of lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” Despite Pavone’s dismissal being in November, as announced in the Dec. 13 letter, news of his removal was not widely known until it was revealed in a Dec. 17 report by the Catholic News Agency.

While Pierre did not cite the specific “blasphemous communications,” or disclose the precise acts of “persistent disobedience,” the dismissal appears to be retribution for a video Pavone posted on social media.

The video shows Pavone standing behind the altar in the Priests for Life chapel. On the altar lies the body of an aborted fetus. “Today, we are going to pray with this baby, and we are going to let this baby’s body bear witness to our nation.” Pavone then appeals to Americans to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, saying they “have an opportunity here to make a real difference for children just like this.”

In a Nov. 8, 2016, statement, Bishop Patrick J. Zurek said “Priests for Life, Inc., is not a Catholic institution, but a civil organization, and it is not under the control or supervision of the Diocese of Amarillo.”

Zurek also cited the video, saying the Diocese was “opening an investigation.”

Pavone’s History of Pro-Life Advocacy

Pavone, one of the most famous pro-life advocates in the world, was ordained in 1988 by Cardinal John O’Connor. He became the National Director of Priests for Life in 1993. He is also the President of the National Pro-life Religious Council and the National Pastoral Director of both the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries. In June 1994, Pavone visited Mother Teresa at her Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, where she expressed support for priests like Pavone, who advocate for the sanctity of life. The Vatican appointed Pavone to the Pontifical Academy for Life and to the Pontifical Council for the Family to help facilitate pro-life activities of the Catholic Church.

By Patricia Tolson

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