Father Frank Pavone, noted pro-life activist and national director of American Priests for Life; He was fired Clergy state for “defamatory communications on social media” and “continued disobedience to the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
In a Dec. 13 letter to U.S. bishops, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Americas, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, head of the Dicastery for the Clergy issued the decision on Nov. 9, saying there is “no possibility of appeal.”
“Father Pavone had ample opportunities to defend himself in canonical proceedings, and he also had many opportunities to submit to the authority of his diocesan bishop.” “It was determined that there was no reasonable justification for Father Pavon’s actions.”
Pavone, however, said he had not been notified of the Vatican ruling.
It is not known exactly in which diocese he incarnated. He received permission from the Vatican in 2019 to move from the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, where he was ordained in 2005, to another unnamed diocese, according to the Priests for Life website. Pavone hosted “Defending Life” on EWTN for several years until the bishop of Amarillo, Texas, revoked Pavone’s permission to appear on the network.
Originally based in New York state, the priests are now headquartered in Titusville, Florida in the Diocese of Orlando. Pavon has served as national director of the pro-life organization since 1993. In 2008, Bishop Patrick J. Jurek has been at odds with Pavon ever since he became bishop of Amarillo. In 2011, Bishop Jurek publicly excommunicated Pavon. The suspension was lifted by the Vatican.
An outspoken supporter of Donald Trump, Pavone held official positions in the Trump campaign in 2016 and was co-chair of the Trump 2020 Pro-Life Coalition and a member of the Catholics for Trump Advisory Committee. Canon law prohibits clergy from taking an active role in political parties unless they receive permission from their bishop. In November 2016, Pavone filmed a video at Priests for Life headquarters, urging support for Trump. The video unfolds with Pavone laying the aborted baby’s body in front of what appears to be an altar. Shortly after the release of the video, Bishop Zurek said he would launch an investigation into the incident, calling it “against the dignity of human life” and “desecration of the altar”, adding that “Father Pavon’s actions and presentation video are incompatible with the beliefs of the Catholic Church”.
on his website, Pavon recounts his version of what happened in the video. He posted exactly what he said in the video.
“Most of the criticism was about me putting the baby on an ‘altar,’ and some people got caught up in technical complaints about what the altar should or shouldn’t do. But as much as they wanted to get technical, I pointed out that it was a table in our office, a consecrated altar in a church. Not.
“This table, sometimes used for mass, is where all my videos for this educational series of election programs are made.” “In retrospect, I should have done the baby’s video elsewhere to avoid the initial confusion.”
Pavone wrote that the baby’s remains were given to him for proper burial, which he said he did after taking the video.
Pavone resigned from two of his positions in Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign at the behest of church authorities. But she continued to use her social media platforms to defend Trump and condemn the Democratic Party.
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