Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Father Pavone moving to another new diocese?

April 22, 2020

Father Frank Pavone, the controversial pro-life activist, has told the Catholic News Agency (CNA) that he is no longer under the authority of the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, where he has clashed with Bishop Patrick Zurek.

Father Pavone told CNA that he is transferring to a new diocese, and already considers himself to be under the authority of the new bishop. He declined to name that bishop. The Amarillo diocese did not respond to queries from CNA about his status.

Father Pavone, the head of Priests for Life, has frequently been at odds with bishops. Originally ordained in the New York archdiocese, he transferred to Amarillo in 2005, but was suspended by Bishop Patrick Zurek in 2011. The Vatican lifted that suspension in 2012.

The priest’s difficulties with the hierarchy have stemmed primarily from his work with Priests for Life: an organization that has drawn scrutiny from American bishops and Vatican investigators. That conflict came to a head in 2014, when New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan withdrew support from Priests for Life, citing Father Pavone’s refusal to allow an independent audit of the group’s finances. Cardinal Dolan revealed that because the group would not allow him to enact reforms that the Vatican had called for, “I am unable to fulfill their mandate, and want nothing further to do with the organization.”

Bishop Zurek announced another investigation of Father Pavone in 2016, when the priest posted a video showing the body of an aborted unborn child on an altar, while making a plea for support of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. The bishop said that the exploitation of the unborn child was an offense “against the dignity of human life and is a desecration of the altar.”

The Catholic News Agency questioned Father Pavone about his canonical status because he has become active in President Trump’s re-election campaign. Father Pavone countered that he is not violating a ban on partisan political activity by clerics, because he is working for the pro-life cause.


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  • Posted by: wenner1687 - Apr. 25, 2020 9:54 AM ET USA

    If Fr Pavone has nothing to hide, he should welcome outside audit. His bishop was not asking for something unreasonable, nor "against his conscience". Obedience is the mark of true humility, without which holiness is impossible. No matter how just your cause, if you lack humility you lack holiness and your good efforts will become counter-productive. As for putting a fetus on the altar, Fr P. seems carried away by misplaced zeal as well as bad taste: "Be not righteous overmuch."

  • Posted by: Bobalouie - Apr. 25, 2020 9:43 AM ET USA

    The faithful have been caught short too many times by leaders we thought were holy. If God wants the work done, the first thing He asks for is obedience. That I have learned from the lives of the saints. I see a pattern of disobedience emerging with Fr Pavone. There can be no good fruit, no matter how holy his cause.

  • Posted by: [email protected] - Apr. 23, 2020 2:26 AM ET USA

    Good for him. An audit would help his organization. Get its financial house in order. He should not bow to these progressive bishops. Hopefully his organization has the i dotted and t crossed.