Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Father Pavone suspended from Priests for Life leadership

September 13, 2011

Father Frank Pavone, the president of Priests for Life, has been suspended from ministry outside of his Amarillo, Texas diocese.

Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo revealed, in a letter to other American bishops, that he has recalled Father Pavone to the Texas diocese because of “deep concerns regarding his stewardship of the finances of the Priests for Life organization” and Father Pavone’s resistance to ecclesiastical authority.

Father Pavone has indicated that he will obey his bishop’s order. He will remain a priest in good standing in Amarillo, but will not be available to continue his leadership of Priests for Life. In recent years he has traveled extensively, giving speeches and conducting retreats, in his capacity as leader of the pro-life group.

Bishop Zurek disclosed that he had taken action in response to persistent questions about the financial affairs of Priests for Life: an organization with a $10 million annual budget. Father Pavone, he said, has “refused to subject the PFL to a transparent and complete auditing of all expenditures.” Bishop Zurek encouraged his fellow bishops to “inform the Christian faithful under your care to consider withholding donations to the PFL until the issues and concerns are settled.”

The Amarillo bishop also expressed concern about Father Pavone’s “incorrigible defiance of my legitimate authority as his Bishop.” He said the priest’s prominence as a national pro-life leader had encouraged him to “see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his unique status and an obstacle to the possible international scope of his ministry.”

Father Pavone and Priests for Life have a history of tension with the hierarchy. In 2007, after one conflict with the Amarillo diocese, the pro-life priest complained on his blog that “there are too many leaders in the Church who are more concerned about controlling God’s work than about doing God’s work.” A year later the diocese, with the approval of the Vatican, suppressed Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, a religious order that Father Pavone had founded. At the time, Church leaders reportedly based their decision on concerns about the financial affairs of the order, and its ties to Priests for Life. Writing on the Catholic Culture web site in August 2008, “Diogenes” commented: “In the long run, the move may presage further troubles for Priests for Life, Father Pavone's more successful venture.”


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  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 14, 2011 10:19 AM ET USA

    Go back to the Epistle to the Hebrews. See what Paul says about the ones God chastises, and those He does not. It should give you a clearer understanding.

  • Posted by: seewig - Sep. 14, 2011 1:17 AM ET USA

    jdempsey199 may have touched upon a streak of suspensions lately which effectively silenced quite a few active and orthodox priests, all within the last year or two. I also didn’t find it quit necessary of Phil Lawler (whose work and writings I appreciate a lot), to go on a truth-finding campaign in the case of Fr. Corapi, which left one thing out: Fr. Corapi’s own words. He could have interviewed him personally, before letting loose his devastating “facts”. The whole truth wasn’t out yet, and perhaps there could be something true about silencing loud speakers for the Lord? Fr. Corapi never said anything or promoted anything contrary to the official Church teachings, while many of his contemporary priests and bishops openly opposed the Pope and the Magisterium. The USCCB could never find enough courage to strongly support the orthodox forces in the Church. Losing a few of the dissenters would not have hurt the Church, but strengthened her. But as things are we jump on news of “alleged” impropriety and accusations of misconduct, as if it were truth. The hierarchy was hiding and coddling the abusers for decades, but we don’t take time to “investigate” some precious fighters for the Church. If I am wrong please show me.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 13, 2011 10:05 PM ET USA

    Let right and discipline prevail here, but dear bishops, while you are cracking the whip take note of the dissenters who promote every evil under the sun in the universities and even theological schools!

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Sep. 13, 2011 8:51 PM ET USA

    It is hard for me to understand how both Fr. Corapi and Fr. Pavone could reach the point of suspension. Who was providing their supervision along the way and lettng financial matters become so problematic? In regard to Fr. Pavone, I am deeply saddened as the Priest for Life work under his leadership has been saving so many babies' lives - and souls! I will offer my Holy Hour of Adoration tomorrow for Fr. Pavaone and PFL and their work.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Sep. 13, 2011 8:07 PM ET USA

    We need to pray for our priests, especially those with high profiles. They are prime targets for the evil one. If he can get them to fall, he takes others with them. Lord God, send your angels to protect your priests. Give them the gift of humility.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Sep. 13, 2011 4:03 PM ET USA

    At this rate, EWTN will lose all of its programs! Fr. Corapi, Fr. Roberts, Mons. Clark, Fr. Raymond Bourque, Fr. Euteneuer, and now Fr. Pavone.