Amarillo bishop widens inquiry into pro-life charities — UPDATED

The probe extends beyond Priests for Life, to include two of its affiliates.

From Amarillo.com:

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek has demanded that the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, produce documentation for how donations have been handled by the Staten Island, N.Y., charity’s affiliates Rachel’s Vineyard and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, said Monsignor Harold Waldow, vicar of clergy for the Diocese of Amarillo.

Zurek has tethered Pavone indefinitely to Amarillo, cutting him off from full-time pro-life work because of a protracted dispute over financial stewardship accelerated by an apparent clash of wills.

“They’re both very strong personalities,” Waldow said Tuesday.

Pavone obeyed Zurek’s direction to return to Amarillo, arriving by plane from Birmingham, Ala., late Tuesday. But he also has initiated an appeal, ultimately to Rome, regarding the bishop’s decision.

Zurek was not in Amarillo for Pavone’s arrival. The bishop is traveling and placed Waldow in charge of assigning duties.

“I’m sure that our bishop does not stand alone on this,” Waldow said. “He is in a community of other bishops who have had the conversation also with the Holy See in Rome, asking questions as to … what is being done with the monies. I think Rome has been quite clear the bishops of the United States need to exercise more prudential guidance and governance over the patrimony of the church.

“This is patrimony of the church. It belongs to the church. People give their money over the understanding that it goes to the church or church auspices and programs and ministries.”

Questioning the finances of Pavone’s charities doesn’t mean there’s a crisis, Waldow said.

Priests for Life provided a 2010 audit to Zurek, Pavone said.

The organization posted the audit on its website Tuesday in answer to questions Zurek raised in a fiery letter sent Friday to bishops across the nation, critizing Pavone for “incorrigible defiance to my legitimate authority.”

Before celebrating a noon Mass Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Pavone expressed bewilderment at Zurek’s claims that his pro-life group has not been financially transparent.

“We have been completely transparent,” he said. “We sent him the entire check register. I am totally baffled. … From the day he arrived as bishop (in 2008), we have been sending him material.”

Though the letter specifically refers to Priests for Life, Waldow said the reference encompasses the other organizations under its umbrella.

Zurek requested audits in March for Rachel’s Vineyard, which ministers to people directly affected by abortion, and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, a lay association for Priests for Life, Pavone said. They are not yet completed.

“Two of the major pieces of the international pro-life movement and national pro-life movement are missing,” Waldow said.

Rachel’s Vineyard is an international ministry that collected $362,057 in contributions in 2008 for its healing programs for people who have dealt personally with abortion. But the organization spent $407,474, losing $45,417 for the year and ending with net assets of $28,918, according to its tax return.

There’s much more at the link.

Also, you can find a comprehensive list of stories and documents, from all sides, here and here.

UPDATE: A significant quote comes near the end of the above linked article, in which Fr. Pavone indicates he will soon seek incardination in another diocese.  Also, the interview with him below, from yesterday, is now on YouTube:

YouTube Preview Image

UPDATE II: As Fr. Pavone releases more statements on the matter, Ed Peters is continuing to update his original post on the canonical aspects of this story — and has some sharp words for the priest and his handling of this situation.

UPDATE III:  Catholic News Agency has a few updates and additional details, including new statements from the Vicar of Clergy for Amarillo, and some thoughts on the situation from the Archbishop of Baltimore, who is expressing support for Bishop Zurek.

Comments

  1. Rudy says:

    It is clear that the bishop has it in for Fr. Pavone. Whatever the financial or hierarchical issues put forth, it seems to me more a matter of wounded egos and personal dislikes than anything else from both parts, but specially the bishop.

    Of course the bishop has the power of authority on his side. But it seems to me that he rather destroy the ministry (he asked people not to give money to it) and the reputation of Father Pavone for the sake of his hurt feelings than handle this matter in a more discreet and appropriate manner

  2. Roger Conley says:

    The financial attacks against Priest for Life were quickly proven false so the diocese immediately turns its guns against other pro-life organizations. The Catholic bureaucrats don’t care about the pro-life movement, they care about control. This is much like their attack on EWTN , attempting to take it over. PFL is an efficient findraiser compared to other groups that use the mail to raise money. As an accounting matter none of the funds used to build a church are charged to fundraising, but fundraising is one of the activities that goes on there. You’d love to accuse him of stealing, but you can’s, so you get in high moral dudgeon about his helping the babies “inefficiently.” The diocesan bureaucrats sitting around in their offices doing very little, and communicating with practically no one bother you not at all. In your mind that’s the perfect model for pro-life activities.

    The bureaucrats want control, but the also want a cut: “This is patrimony of the Church,” he added. “It belongs to the Church. People give their money over the understanding that it goes to the Church or Church auspices and programs and ministries.” Msgr. Harold Waldow, Vicar of Clergy, Moderator of the Curia. (They give themselves impressive titles, don’t they?)

  3. Susan Kehoe says:

    Rudy, it is not known who leaked the letter from the bishop. Roger, did you read deacon Greg’s earlier post on the low rating the BBB and other watch dogs gave Priests for Life? It seems that the Bishop has a right to be concerned and a duty to investigate.

  4. Rudy says:

    I work for a private company and have been in the private sector for a long time. I know that the settings are not the same, but when you have an audit going to happen for a department or a related business, you don’t announce it to the world and send a letter to the executives asking for support. You quietly get the auditing team, you go to whomever you are auditing and conduct your business.

    If you get your information and you find something wrong you report it and then steps are taken to solve the situation, which may include firing, civil or criminal prosecution, etc. The point is you don’t start a hissing contest in such unprofessional way, instead you conduct your investigation and then you publish the results.

  5. william harcourt says:

    Let’s just ask the Better Business Bureau to officiate in this process.

  6. Joanc57 says:

    I just don’t believe that someone like Father Pavone is crooked. Which is the bottom line to me. He is very real as a person to me. Corapi’s message was all I cared about listening to him; if I had to take into account my perceptions of him as just a man, I’d say he did not exude warmth or humanity and I could not say the same thing as I did about Father Pavone.

  7. Klaire says:

    Regardless of who is right, wrong, unjustly accused, guilty, innocent, or even why or how they got there, the fact of the matter remains, that within the past year, the 3 biggest voices for pro life in this country have been silenced (Corapi, Eutanuer, and now Pavonne).

    That alone should give all of us pause (and an incentive to pray, especially for our priests (including bishops).

    Blessed JPII often said, “there are no coincidences.”

    The spiritual battles rages…

  8. Jon says:

    This is really embarassking, as Popeye would say. Why couldn’t Fr Pavone just come back and be quiet and simmer down? Sad. He is making a fool of himself. His cause is not going to go away. His devotees are not going to go away. PFL needs a good PR firm, not a canon lawyer. How come Fr’s buddies aren’t exhorting him to “turn the other cheek”?

  9. jcd says:

    From Dr Ed Peters, JCD: http://canonlawblog.com/2011/09/initial-remarks-on-zurek-pavone-dispute.html

    [JC: I'm letting this comment go through, but I already linked to Ed in a previous post. I think his piece is also in one of the subsequent links I added to this post. Dcn. G.]

  10. Itstheorientation says:

    I got a newsletter in the mail yesterday from Priests for Life that said they were trying to be recognized as an International organization – I am not sure by whom, Rome? I don’t know how that would affect Priests for Life relationship w/TX bishop. I wonder if bishop is trying to stop that.

  11. magnus says:

    This is really bad timing on the Bishop’s part. Prolife Sunday is just around the corner and the message will be obscured by the temper tantrums on both sides.

    We’re about protecting life from womb to tomb people.

  12. naturgesetz says:

    I wonder what the point of becoming “international” would be, and how it differs from what they are now.

    In order for contributions to an organization to be tax-deductible on an United States tax return, the organization must be a “domestic charity,” that is, organized under the laws of a State of the United States or of the federal government, even if they work outside the U.S.

    The status of PFL does not seem to affect Fr. Pavone’s incardination in Amarillo.

    And thinking about that leads me to a tangent. From what I’ve read here, Fr. Pavone was ordained in the Archdiocese of New York. Several years back, he had his incardination transferred to Amarillo. I gather this was because the archbishop of New York was proving difficult to deal with and the bishop of Amarillo was more sympathetic. Now a new bishop of Amarillo seems to have his own difficulties with Fr. Pavone. It begins to seem that, if he has had trouble with two bishops, the problem may be with Fr. Pavone.

  13. Fred says:

    The bishops have their authority and power, but they don’t understand that they have lost the automatic confidence of Catholics. This is due to fallout from the sexual abuse scandals, where less than 1% of priests were ever implicated, but a majority of bishops were and are involved in cover-ups. Some of their despositions, I’m thinking of a major Midwest Cardinal, reveal just what devious and dishonest men they really are.

    So to the Pavone case, for which I admit that I don’t know any facts, but my immediate sympathies are for priest, who we all know to be an outstanding national pro-life leader, rather than for the bishop, who is an anonymous bureaucrat known only to the insiders who engineered his appointment.

  14. Joe says:

    Here’s the thing:

    These bishops will go after the Pavones of the world full-out.

    (And perhaps he deserves it- I think there are huge questions being raised. )

    But they ignore every kind of abuse and problem in their own dioceses from the “left” side of the tracks.

    Want to say a Tridentine Mass?

    SLAM!

    Ad-lib the Eucharistic prayer?

    Shrug.

    and the list could go on and on.

    THAT’s why people get upset.

  15. David says:

    I thought bishops had not authority over private associations of the faithful (per Ed Peters, JCD)? If so, the bishop should mind his own business.

  16. JosephW says:

    Roger,

    I don’t see how you come up with this:

    “The financial attacks against Priest for Life were quickly proven false so the diocese immediately turns its guns against other pro-life organizations. The Catholic bureaucrats don’t care about the pro-life movement, they care about control. This is much like their attack on EWTN , attempting to take it over. PFL is an efficient findraiser compared to other groups that use the mail to raise money.”

    Proven false quickly? Really? I haven’t seen what you are talking about. You seem to be enveloping all Bishops and even the Pope into your assertion. Was the mass email sent out requesting money efficient, wrong, both?

    Maybe a little obedience here will work this all out?

  17. HMS says:

    Apparently, there was a previous letter sent by Bishop Zurek to his fellow bishops on January 24, 2010. It is referenced in Deacon Greg’s first “here” link above.

    The link is to the website: Kresta in the Afternoon, Ave Maria Radio. The website lists a series of links relevant to the issue between Fr. Pavone and Bishop Zurek. The fifth link (Diocese of Amarillo – Jan 24 Letter From Bishop Patrick Zureck (sic) to Fellow Bishops) comes from a priests’ mailing on Wednesday, February 16 in the diocese of Las Cruces. The letter can be found on page 4.

    In the letter Bishop Zurek points out that Priests for Life may have recognition as a nonprofit organization in civil law but “does not enjoy ecclesiastical establishment as a juridic person in the Catholic Church.”

    Bishop Zurek also clarifies some issues about the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (MEV). He says that his predecessor, Bishop Yanta, established the group as a Society of Apostolic Life in 2005; then, for disciplinary reasons, in 2007 he declared his decree establishing MEV as invalid and illicit. (?) Fr. Pavone petitioned the appropriate Vatican office to revoke the bishop’s decision and was rejected in 2008. He then appealed to the Apostolic Signatura, the highest tribunal in the Catholic Church, and was rejected again in 2008.

    Looks like Fr. Pavone has had issues with more than this bishop.

    At the end of the letter Bishop Zurek confirms the fact that Fr. Pavone is a priest incardinated into the Diocese of Amarillo and “at the present he has my permission to be on special assignment outside the diocese for the time being.”

  18. Howard says:

    The people involved here need to be aware of appearances. Talking about the “patrimony of the Church” is one thing, but I know that when I donated to Priests for Life I never intended it to be a donation the Diocese of Amarillo. Fr. Pavone is incaridinated in Amarillo, which gives the Bishop of Amarillo direct and exclusive authority over him personally; fine. That appears to be a totally separate issue from who has direct, let alone exclusive, authority over Priests for Life.

    This has the ugly appearance of a bishop seeing PFL as a piggybank to which he can help himself. Unless he wants to destroy both his own reputation and (because donations would completely dry up) PFL, he needs to take steps to clarify that this is NOT what he is doing. The purity of his intentions will be no protection against ugly appearances.

  19. HMS says:

    Correction:
    The letter is dated January 24, 2011.

  20. Greta says:

    Fr Pavone has his reasons, which we may or may not ever hear, on keeping some distance between PFL and the Bishop and his staff. From what I have heard from people I know well in PFL, the bigger issue is with the staff getting access to the information on what PFL is planning in the battle for life and what they budget to spend in that part of the battle. If the staff in a dioceses get the info, some have been known to leak that info to those they might be more attuned to politically who support the pro abortion position. Remember, a good chunk of funds were flowing to pro abortion groups out of Catholic dioceses which happned because of staff, not directly the bishops. The Bishop hears what he is told by his staff, especially in matters like this one. There is also a lot of jealousy in some of the dioceses whose funds have dried up because of sexual abuse or as mentioned, info being released on the use of funds for pro abortion or pro gay rights organizations. I know many who no longer donate to the bishops fund. Just as some tried to get control of EWTN from Mother Angelica in what she said was a power and fundraising attempt, it now appears that the massive amounts flowing into PFL and its other organizations has gotten the attention of some bishops and their staffs.

    I think it would be best for PFL if the Vatican would remove it from control under any single bishop to protect the important mission. Lets face it, in 2012, we will have a battle for abortion which could extend the killing for generations if the pro abortion Obama is elected again and will certainly appoint some Supreme Court justices. PFL has been a thorn in the side of the democrats pro abortion group since its founding based on the truth that PFL generates under the well respected leadership of Father Pavone.

  21. Patrick says:

    Well, I’m not sure the audit would necessarily answer a bishop’s questions. Just because something is done according to proper accounting principles does not mean that money is being well spent.

    Having looked at the audit, some logical questions someone might ask:

    1. Why do “clergy fax/email blasts” and “social networking” cost $450,000 in a year? Salaries are covered elsewhere. “Social networking” doesn’t cost anything, and fax/email blasts require only a VOIP phone line.

    2. To whom did the $769,929 in “grants” go?

    3. What was received for the $427,000 spent on “strategic planning” and “management advisory”?

  22. Roger Conley says:

    JosephW, That’s just odd. The Pope didn’t write a letter about Father Pavone and make sure it was made public. You know who I’m talking about. Defend that guy and his employees, if you can. Don’t make weird accusations against me.

  23. JosephW says:

    Roger, no I have no idea who and what your talking about. I guess I just let my mind wander on your statements. Let the facts come out first before bashing the “bureaucrats ” whoever you think they are.

  24. HMS says:

    Greta:
    “I think it would be best for PFL if the Vatican would remove it from control under any single bishop to protect the important mission.”

    I think that’s the problem: Priests for Life is not associated with any bishop or diocese yet Fr. Pavone, the National Director of PFL, is a priest incardinated into the Diocese of Amarillo and therefore has a promise of obedience and is answerable to him.

    See the Priests for Life website in the FAQ section:

    Is Priests for Life funded by dioceses, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, or the Vatican?
    No. Priests for Life is funded by the generous and regular contributions of individual laity and priests across the country. Priests for Life is a 501 (c) 3 organization and therefore donations are tax-deductible and are made out to “Priests for Life.” We raise our money mostly through direct-mail fundraising.

    What is the status of Priests for Life in Canon Law?
    Priests for Life belongs to the category of “Associations of the Faithful,” which enable members of the Church who want to to join such associations to work together to advance particular aspects of the work of the Church.

  25. Vero says:

    Well I’ll tell you Pavone demonstrates accountability as he’s posted all the information on the monies that come into PFL. Who is in charge of Bishop Zurek? What’s his agenda? He must have one seeing he summoned Pavone to get back to Amarillo then he ends up on vacation and not addressing the issues he states in his letter. Let’s not point a finger at Pavone folks.

  26. Roger Conley says:

    JosephW, Is this it?

    Step 1. Bash Father Pavone.
    Step 2. Bash Father Pavone.
    Step 3. Bash Father Pavone.
    Step 4. Accuse me of attacking Pope.
    Step 5. Wait for facts.

    Here’s an important statement: “This is patrimony of the Church. It belongs to the Church. People give their money over the understanding that it goes to the Church or Church auspices and programs and ministries.” Msgr. Harold Waldow, Vicar of Clergy and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Amarillo.

  27. Jim says:

    Biting my tongue but allow me one observation:

    Have you seen the newly constructed cathedral in Amarillo?

    Methinks think the heterodox leaning architecture speaks volumes.

  28. Esther Ventura Ferencz says:

    I have said it BEFORE and I will repeat …..There has been an entrance of long standing into the higher levels of the church of EVIL. Yes I said IT. “EVIL”. Bishops are YES heirarchy, YET they are first men created by God, and thus flesh and blood, making them subject to GRAVE SINS and MORAL EVILS as the rest of humanity. AND that includes GREED, ENVY and CALUMANY,
    They are on a real ROLL now. THE HIGEST PRIMACY of our faith, after to LOVE HONOR and SERVE GOD is the protection of ‘ALL LIFE’ This is PRIMACY FACT! Even I a hunble lay woman KNOWS this.
    IF anyone would be most HONEST in his handling of monies surely it would FATHER FRANK PAVONE. This is a blatant attack on HIM personally as well.
    I DO NOT find it CO-INCIDENCE that the TX Bishop who smacked down Father Corapi, and now this Bishop from TX from Amarillo has done a smack down of Father PAVONE. I now in deep love petition the AID of Blessed John Paul II as HE had in many ways warned us of this. Lets be honest, the bishops have been after Fr. Corapi for many years, here we have envy and even so far as a ‘hatred’ from some, as he spoke TRUTH. Whatever you think of Fr. Corapi, HE gave his ALL to speak the TrUTH as I was taught back in the 50s ..his orthodoxy was MINE. He w/words as St Paul SPOKE w.force on many moral and spiritual evils. Many were salvaged in their depair through his words and acceptance of them and a CALL BACK to GOD and the FAITH. SOME Bishops loathed this. Whatever transpires in his his civil suit? I think also will expose the truth as to the other accusastions in PART. Father Pavone BRAVO get that petition to the Vatican. There are Bishops in our midst who HAVE SUPPORTED the disgrace of NATONAL Proportions of this current U S Pres. They have aided and abetted in his speaking at N D and The BIGGEST scandal, COVERING OR LORDS NAME at geortown so this weak, evil man could stand in the front of the covered NAME of MY LORD! How dare they NOTTTTTTTTTTT do ANYTHING. DO they NOT KNOW GOD SEES, KNOWS and will seek account. GOD have mercy on all of us Catholics and in a special way the many wayward BISHOPS as they are in deep possibility of loosing their souls

  29. JosephW says:

    Roger, um this was a private letter between Bishops? I am not sure how this was made public, it sure is not on the Amarillo diocese website. We are all going a little crazy here with accusations. Maybe we all should hope for the best and not expect the worst. The latest rant above makes we wonder if we all haven’t lost our minds.

  30. HMS says:

    Esther Ventura Ferencz:

    And you’re no Francis of Assisi.

  31. jan says:

    this is similar to fr. john corapi’s situation.

  32. Carol says:

    Instead of “where’s Waldo”….where is Bishop Zurek…??

    I’m praying for Fr. Pavone for this situation to be quickly rectified. I have personally met Fr. Pavone and found him to be very humble and
    willing to work with pro-life groups and organizations that are both ethical and moral.

    As a Silent No More participant–a campaign awareness and a pro-life ministry umbrella with Priests for Life–I’ve personally received many obstacles in my diocese to at least provide a link or just to mention a follow up at Rachel’s Vineyard for letting women (after their healing) give their personal testimony on how men and women are affected by an abortion.

    We should be all working together for an end to abortion.

  33. Kevin says:

    Another greedy bishop.

  34. Ron says:

    I think that Bishop Zurek has exceeded his authority by demanding financial details from PFL and Rachel’s Vineyard and other organizations. Fr. Pavone is under the Bishop’s authority, but these organizations are not.

  35. Chris Hebard says:

    Non-profits such as PFL file an annual report with the IRS on Form 990. It shows assets, income, expenses, and the salaries of officers and key employees. I used guidestar.org (free registration) to look at PFL’s reports. The last report filed is 2008. Both 2009 & 2010 are overdue.

  36. Angela says:

    Personally, I was surprised by the tone of Bishop Zurek’s letter – very imprudent, very sharp, antagonistic and ad hominem. In short, the letter sounded as if it was written in the heat of the moment during a raging temper and hastily sent (like clicking send on an email) to the bishops in the US (again ???…) instead of being reflectively written and mailed. One can really see the unwise rashness of the latter by the ending in with his Excellency requests that his colleagues advise their flocks (us) not to donate to Priest for Life (keep in mind many bishops are on the board of directors). I could not help but think that that sentence alone increased PfL’s donations by one million. But here is the deal: it is not a Church run organization nor is it under the jurisdiction of the diocese. Hence, a bishop’s and a diocese’s control over the organization is limited. Furthermore, my bishop or Bishop Zurek cannot tell me what causes I can and cannot donate to unless said cause is in violation of Church teachings/morals. I am not saying I have donated to Priests for Life – because I have not – nor that I will support the worthy cause in the future. But I do take offense that Bishop Zurek feels compelled to tell me by my bishop through a [private?] letter that I should not give to a, yes, private Catholic organization whose mission is to promote a greater sanctity of life, especially an end to abortion. In fact the whole tone connotes that the bishops and the faithful should censor the group in every respect. The whole situation just does not smell, sound, or look right.

    As for Fr. Pavone, I think he should take council and stop talking about everything and anything related to the matter. He should stay in the diocese and do as what his bishop wants as long as the situation lasts. He needs to be obedient. PfL is not going to sink into the earth’s core if he is not moving around the country. As I said before, I predict an increase in donations. He just needs to do as he is told and offer it up for the unborn. The more he talks the more inclined he will be to say something really stupid. In fact after reading more recent comments by him I already see an inclination toward not acting/speaking prudently. The last thing father should do is validate the exercise in brazen character attacks his excellency so well exhibited for us in his thought provoking letter.

  37. Roger Conley says:

    JosephW, A private letter between bishops? It went out to hundreds and hundreds of people, to all the bishops and was read by many of their employees. Bishop Zurek learned from the Corapi dispute that a letter to all the bishops gets more publicity than a press release. Why did every bishop in America have to read these insults? Because that was the best way to publicize them? You should read today’s letter from the Vicar and Moderator. It looks to me like they made accusations that they can’t support.

  38. Doug says:

    I think that anyone criticizing the Bishop at this stage in the process has made a rash judgement.

    spend a moment reading CCC 2477-8.

  39. Charles L. Garris says:

    I agree with Chris Hebard regarding the I.R.S. If 2008 was the last report, maybe the I.R.S. could give Zurek some support. Let the I.R.S. freeze all assets and bank accounts until this issue is resolved. Unless I’m wrong, the Archbishop who just took over Phila., agrees with Zurek’s actions. I’ll close with my personal opinon of Corapi. He’s an egotistical ass.

  40. mortimerzilch says:

    very interesting stuff! I wish that it were possible to communicate directly with bishops, or appointed direct assessors of the bishops’ mail. But it is not. Who here can express their opinion directly to a bishop?

  41. JosephW says:

    Roger, show me the facts, not accusations.

  42. cathyf says:

    1. Why do “clergy fax/email blasts” and “social networking” cost $450,000 in a year? Salaries are covered elsewhere. “Social networking” doesn’t cost anything, and fax/email blasts require only a VOIP phone line.

    I’ll speak to this one, as I have some professional experience…

    Email blasts are difficult to do successfully because ISPs routinely block as spam anything which is going to a whole lot of their customers. You have to be in constant contact with the whole multitude of ISPs to assure them that you are following the law and not spammers, so that they will keep you on their whitelists. There are legal requirements to ensure that only people who have opted in receive the emails, and that they are given regular opportunities to opt out. And anyone who does opt in, that only lasts for 90 days, and if you screw up and don’t remove people then there are hefty fines. And, finally, the software for doing the email blasts is not free.

    Those numbers are completely consistent with them having “farmed out” management of the social networking and email blasts to some outside professionals.

  43. Roger Conley says:

    JosephW, My point is that Bishop Zurek has no facts, only insults, nasty, vituperative insults, and accusations. It’s the person who makes the accusations who has the burden of proof. And I don’t think Bishop Zurek is going to come up with any proof. Did you read that letter from the Vicar and Moderator saying that because there is a “dispute about the auditing process . . . does not mean that Father Pavone is being charged with any malfeasance or being accused of any wrong doing with the financial matters of Priests for Life”? The position of the diocese now seems to be that we’re not accusing him of anything, he’s a priest in good standing, we’re just insulting him.

    You know the Catholic Church does not teach that bishops are impeccable. St John Fisher was right, not all the other bishops of England. St Athanasius was right, not all the other bishops of the world. Do you really think mass mailing a letter full of insults to hundreds of people is the right way to handle a dispute? If you supervise people, is that the way you exercise your leadership?

  44. Mike K says:

    I just spent a few minutes catching up on this story (had a crazy week at work), and what really bothers me is that this appears to be about that old bugaboo: ego.

    Father Frank is implying he might get incardinated in another diocese, and that the pro-life movement is his full-time work (despite what anyone else may say, including his bishop).

    Bishop Zurek’s letter implied that something was wrong with the finances of PFL, and that’s why Father Frank was recalled to Amarillo. But now the Vicar General and the diocese are saying Father Frank has done nothing wrong.

    Father Frank’s supporters and prominent persons in the pro-life movement are making Father Frank out to be some sort of martyr, thus creating a cult of personality (one that Father Frank may himself not support, but does nothing to discourage).

    IMHO, the biggest problem is that NO ONE IS STOPPING TO THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCE OF THEIR ACTIONS!!! Everyone wants the situation resolved in a way that is favorable to them. There needs to be a compromise of some sort, and if that means no one is happy, that might be the best thing of all. And if such a compromise is reached, all involved have to accept it in OBEDIENCE to the will of the Lord! As I said last week, obedience sucks. But if we’re going to follow the footsteps of the Lord, we have to learn obedience. Period.

    PS: I don’t often see eye-to-eye with the Peterses (Ed or Tom). But they are spot on in their commentary on this whole matter. I urge everyone who hasn’t done so to read their blogs if you want a rational, logical explanation of the whole matter.

  45. Greta says:

    The real issue seems to be clear from this:

    “It (money donated to Father Pavone pro life groups) belongs to the Church. People give their money over the understanding that it goes to the Church or Church auspices and programs and ministries.”

    So if you donate to PFL, the bishops believe it is theirs to deal with as they please. Lets face it, the Bishops have been sucking air since it became clear that their staffs had been funneling money to pro abortion groups and pro gay groups and after the abuse scandal when billions were used to pay off the failure by the Bishops to not allow gays into the seminary which is Catholic teaching.

    If the bishops follow through with this attempt to take money people donate because of the strong leadership of Father Pavone, it will dry up all donations. We all need to make this clear in letters to our bishops. I have sent out mine today with over 1,000 signatures. I hope to get at least 10,000 and we will have people gathering signatures at as many masses as possible in the dioceses of Cincinnati. We are also planning to start a website for signatures to make sure the Bishops do not see money donated for this specific purpose as funds for their designated use.

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