Vatican Defrocks Pro Life Priest Frank Pavone
Vatican Defrocks Pro Life Priest Frank Pavone
In a shock to the Catholic pro-life community, the Vatican defrocked — or laicized — Father Frank Pavone, a longtime activist on behalf of human life.
In writing this, I feel a bit out of my lane here. I am, and always have been, pro-life. But as a lifelong Lutheran, I don’t know how the mechanics of the Vatican work. However, my church, the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, has walked arm-in-arm for decades with the Catholic church to support unborn babies. And I always saw Catholics as my fellow Christians in arms to defend life.
So it came as a shock to me when I read that Fr. Frank Pavone is, well, no longer Father Pavone. And it also came as a shock to LifeSite News, too.
On Sunday morning, the New York Times reported that the Vatican had removed the “incendiary” leader of Priests for Life. A letter that Pope Francis’s representative, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, sent to the United States read:
“This action was taken after Father Pavone was found guilty in canonical proceedings of blasphemous communications on social media, and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
On top of that, the Vatican said that there is no possibility of appeal, either.
However, the letter didn’t name the bishop, the disobedience, nor describe the blasphemy. As Fr. Pavone (yes, I’ll still call him Father) told the NYT:
“I’m waiting for them to point out to me what I did wrong that merits something like this.”
But the National Catholic Reporter says they know why.
Calling Fr. Pavone a “right wing provocateur,” the NCR said he “for years defied requests from the Vatican and multiple U.S. bishops to stop engaging in partisan political advocacy inconsistent with his role as a member of the Catholic clergy.”
Other offenses the NCR name include urging Catholics not to vote for pro-abortion Hillary Clinton in 2016. Pavone also released a video showing him place an unborn baby in a jar on an altar. And, perhaps worst of all to the NCR, “he has denied the 2020 U.S. presidential results and spread false lies that Joe Biden did not lawfully win the presidential election.”
I don’t deny the results of the 2020 election, nor do I support Donald Trump. Moreover, while Lutheran theology proscribes clergy from endorsing candidates or parties, I can’t speak for Catholic theology.
But it seems to me that this is a distraction from what really irritates the Vatican about Fr. Pavone. It’s not that he’s political, it’s that he expresses the wrong political opinions.
I imagine some of the Vatican movers and shakers — perhaps even Pope Francis himself — echoing the words of the English king Henry II about Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury:
“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
Henry’s men assassinated Thomas Becket in 1170 while the cleric was at prayer. I guess Fr. Pavone can be thankful for keeping his life.
The Vatican Powers-That-Be don’t want to associate with the likes of Fr. Frank Pavone. But as a good Catholic friend of mine pointed out on Facebook, look whom they think is just fine and dandy.
Jesuit priest Fr. James Martin goes against everything the Church teaches about homosexuality. But apparently that’s okay.
In 2019, Martin tweeted this:
“Interesting: “Where the Bible mentions [same-sex sexual] behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether the biblical judgment is correct. The Bible sanctioned slavery as well and nowhere attacked it as unjust..“
Interesting: "Where the Bible mentions [same-sex sexual] behavior at all, it clearly condemns it. I freely grant that. The issue is precisely whether the biblical judgment is correct. The Bible sanctioned slavery as well and nowhere attacked it as unjust.. https://t.co/52jL6NDgRu
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) October 23, 2019
He also referred to traditional Catholics as “homophobic” and “close-minded:”
“But I have a hard time imagining how even the most traditionalist, homophobic, close-minded Catholic cannot look at my friend and say, “That is a loving act. And that is a form of love that I don’t understand, but that I have to reverence.”
He also called for Pope Francis to create a civil union law in the Church:
“This is a major step forward in the church’s support for LGBTQ people. Pope Francis: “What we have to create is a civil union law,” he said. “That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that.”
Breaking: This is a major step forward in the church's support for LGBTQ people.
Pope Francis: “What we have to create is a civil union law,” he said. “That way they are legally covered. I stood up for that."https://t.co/wscr7u3HRZ
— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) October 21, 2020
Flouting the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is okay for the current Vatican, apparently. Standing up for the unborn as a priest? Not so much.
Fr. Frank Pavone is not likely to go to his death for his beliefs, but there have been devout Catholics who have squared off against tyranny and paid that price.
Like the Polish priest, St. Maximillian Kolbe, who concealed Jews from the Gestapo and died in Auschwitz as a result. Catholic Christoph Probst, a member of the student anti-Nazi group “White Rose,” met his end via a guillotine. And Col. Claus von Stauffenberg, who was executed for his part in a failed assassination attempt on Adolph Hitler, was a devout Catholic.
Talk about “incendiary” Catholics.
Yes, Hitler and the Nazis are the prime poster images of the Ultimate Evil. But so is abortion — yes, I said it. Fr. Frank Pavone is paying the price for championing the unborn and opposing abortion. Because the Vatican just had to rid themselves of a turbulent priest.
Featured image: Screenshot/@TeresaTomeo/Twitter.