Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Perspective: Fr. Frank Pavone Speaks Out on Kresta in the Afternoon

Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and one of the country's most visible and vocal opponents of abortion, has been recalled to his home diocese of Amarillo, TX and suspended from active ministry outside the Diocese of Amarillo. He remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Amarillo. Bishop Patrick Zurek in a decree issued Sept. 6 ordered the 52-year-old New York-born priest to return to Amarillo and announced it in a Sept. 9 letter to his fellow bishops. He pointed to "persistent questions and concerns" from clergy and laity about how the millions of dollars donated to Priests for Life are used as the reason for suspending Father Pavone's ministry. Fr. Pavone has said he is "confident that we will be able to resolve this difficulty soon, without any harm to either my own reputation and without any slowdown of the valuable pro-life work we do at Priests for Life." Fr. Frank Pavone joined "Kresta in the Afternoon" yesterday.




  1. Dear Al,

    I reallly like your commentary on these things. I can't quite stomach listening to Fr. Pavone here so I'm skipping it. It bothers me immensely that he and other prolife priests (some of whom have been justly removed from the scene) think that their apostolates prolife and otherwise somehow have precedence over holiness and obedience to their Bishop. (St Maximilian Kolbe says that Obedience to lawful superiors is Holiness). There is a book listed in our Carmelite Catalogue (ICS Publications), this past month called "Temptation and Discernment" by Segundo Galilea. It's discribed as follows: "Drawing on the teaching of Ignatius of Loyola, John of the Cross, and Teresa of Avila, noted author shows us how to avoid activism, messianism, and many other common pitfalls in ministry and prayer."

    I think Fr. Pavone should read and meditate on it. His prolife work will serve no purpose if it is not done under the blessing of obedience. The horrible scandal of him jumping about from Diocese to Diocese till he gets someone to tickle his ears, more than undoes any good he might have done. I will pray for him.

    God bless you,

  2. I found it uncomfortable listening the Fr. Pavone on your show. I'd ask Fr. Pavone to ask himself if he is an activist or a priest. The two can be one, but the priesthood must come first and the activist must be discarded if it undermines the priesthood. I do not hear that in the man.

  3. This interview was a vindication of Fr Frank from any wrong doing implied by the media. It makes me question the motivation of the Bishop. Some of these Bishops are not very good. Fr Frank is not your ordinary priest, he has been gifted and dedicated his life to life. The Bishop should check his ego and wallet in the confessional and ask himself some soul searching questions.

  4. I am wondering why, if Fr. Pavone sees no serious accusations and if he is okay with coming back to the Amarillo diocese "temporarily" then why did he, as I have read(?), appeal to the Vatican over this matter? I don't think that was mentioned on the radio interview with Al Kresta.

    Steve Blubaugh

  5. Dear Al,

    I deeply respect and admire Father Frank Pavone. I admire his passion, his unwavering commitment to the unborn, and the tireless energy with which he follow his vocation. When I listen to him, I think of the expression "the lion of Judah", I think of John the Baptist or Saint Paul. Not that I am calling Father Pavone a saint prematurely, but I see the power of his personality as reminiscent of others in the bible who had a decidedly strong presence. Knowing what we all know about our US Catholic church, however, I wonder what kind of welcome John the Baptist would get from the average parishioner or the average bishop in our politically correct era? I think we all know because we have seen it time and time again: the same US church that will not censure or proscribe punishments for corrupt Catholic politicians, particularly in the area of abortion, will waste no time to silence and discipline a "fiery" priest like Father Pavone.

    I have a question for all who think that meekness is the only appropriate response available to a Christian, priest or otherwise: was Jesus any less holy when he threw the money changers out of the temple? Was he any less charitable when he told the Pharisees "in their face" what they needed to hear? Was he any less compassionate when he warned people about going to hell for the obstinacy of their sins? Why do we forget that BEFORE Jesus reached the point where he had to face death on the cross, he was at times forcefully blunt with those inside and outside his inner circle? ("Get away from me Satan!", speaking to Peter.) Is this not a legitimate part of the "example" Jesus gave us?

    This politically correct gospel we get Sunday after Sunday is like salt that has lost its taste. Let's face it: if priests throughout the church were vigorously preaching against abortion, heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity, contraception, and so on, we simply would not need an organization like Priests for Life and we would not be divided as we are, practically down the middle, on these subjects. Even though the truth must be told with a good measure of charity, there is no real charity if the fullness of truth is held back out of abject fear for the consequences of such honesty. Isn't the Word of God supposed to be like a "two-edged sword" that cuts to the very heart of the matter? Did not Jesus say he came to bring division by his word and example? (The kind that heals and sanctifies because it roots out the wickedness and the blindness in our hearts.) How can this happen if the fullness of Catholic teaching of these subjects is never PROCLAIMED from the pulpit?

    (Continued in the next post.)

  6. (Continued...)

    We Catholic Christians should be careful not to always label as "activism" and "arrogance" that which may be in fact an honest zeal for the gospel and for the particular vocation being pursued. The founders of many religious orders in the church today were at some point accused of such "activism" and "arrogance" by others who were simply jealous of their zeal and their accomplishments. Even though Padre Pio is an admirable saint who deserves all the respect and admiration he gets, his way of dealing with hostility from within the church is not the only one worthy of consideration. The question of Father Pavone's holiness aside, the fact is that we honor many, many "saints" who did not conform to our politically correct notion of "holiness" always and everywhere. Priests and religious do not check their humanity at the door when they enter religious life, and in a church where charity is supposed to be the foremost consideration in our relating to others we should not fall into the trap of placing unreasonably high expectations on priests and religious. Having said that, if Father Pavone is convinced that this is the vocation God has called him to, and the church has legitimate avenues for pursuing that calling, I do not see why he should be criticized for doing so.

    Finally, it is clear from the manner in which this dispute with his bishop was disclosed to the public that Father Pavone has enemies within the Church hierarchy that apparently have no qualms about acting in a manner that is unworthy of a Christian. After reading all that is out there about this dispute to date, I think most of the criticism should be directed at the cowards who continue to occupy "places of honor" within the church hierarchy while at the same time engaging in such dirty tactics. They are the ones who should be outed and publicly shamed for their conduct.


  7. I think its shameful for a priest to believe that he is bigger than the cause he is fighting.

  8. To me it's all about saving babies.Fr.Pavone is my hero in Christ and Mary.I contribute to the cause through his organization monthly.God bless.

  9. Dear Al, It appears to me that you just may be one of those "professional Catholics" Pope Benedict was lamenting. Why on earth would you interview a priest regarding a disciplinary process that is in process? You know (or should know) that the Bishop is not at liberty to accept an interview invitation to discuss such a private matter. Shame on you! Do you think this is 'unbiased' news reporting? This is an issue between Fr Pavone and his superior. It should not be opened for public debate.

  10. I agree with "anonymous" who wrote:"This politically correct gospel we get Sunday after Sunday is like salt that has lost its taste. Let's face it: if priests throughout the church were vigorously preaching against abortion, heterosexual and homosexual promiscuity, contraception, and so on, we simply would not need an organization like Priests for Life and we would not be divided as we are, practically down the middle, on these subjects."

    What is wrong with some Cardinals/Bishops/Priests in the Catholic Church these days? Did not Jesus say that we should be apart from the world? This is all so discouraging and sad.

  11. Putting bloody fetuses for everyone to see is ridiculous and completely inappropriate because people did not ask for that information. If you think we need to do this for "truth" how about this.... A giant billboard outside of parishes showing a priest having sex with an 8 year old boy screaming. Now how do you feel about "truth" is disregard for decency?

  12. The pictures of babies being murdered are real,imagined pictures of priests doing molestation are not available and even if they are they promote more immorality especially to people who can even imagine it.