Fr. Pavone: "Joyfully guilty forever"

That’s what he posted to his Facebook page and on Twitter this morning, responding to the “charge” that he places too much of a priority on fighting abortion.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ed Peters continues to question Fr. Pavone’s approach in his ongoing dispute with Amarillo Bishop Zurek:

Pavone’s diminished appreciation of diocesan priestly work, coupled with his own sense of importance in the pro-life movement (whether that sense is accurate, I do not know), leads to his apparent negative view of possible pastoral assignment “in a little diocese in the middle of Texas” (Pt. II, 11:55 ff). You know, as if Catholics in Amarillo are less deserving of quality priestly care than are Catholics in Gotham City, or as if, more broadly, any really smart and truly pro-life priest would protest the prospect of his caring for the faithful in a dinky parish in the middle of nowhere, at least when there are yet abortion mills open for business.

You’ll want to read the rest for context — and to learn how John Wesley figures in all this.

UPDATE: Comments closed.  Some commenters have been making unfounded accusations and allegations in the combox.

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62 responses to “Fr. Pavone: "Joyfully guilty forever"”

  1. Someone on Fr. Pavone’s Facebook page commented that Fr. Pavone had sworn to fight abortion. He has, of course, sworn to obey his bishop. Let’s pray that he will not be tempted to disobey that oath. Let us pray that he will fight against abortion only in ways that are not forbidden to him by his bishop — surely he will be able to fight abortion in ways that every other diocesan priest can.

  2. I am puzzled by another post on Fr. Pavone’s Facebook page.

    “Travel planning meeting w my staff today.”

    Perhaps the meeting is being held in Amarillo but that is not how a commenter understands it. She posts:

    “Have a safe trip Father Pavone, I will keep you in prayer. God bless.”

    An aside: I have never been comfortable with the picture at the bottom of the Priests for Life website. Fr. Pavone is seated on a settee with five babies on his lap and six babies at his feet. Cute babies! (I plead guilty of pettiness.)

  3. In the Corapi affair Mark Shea became his nemesis. Seems that in Pavone affair Dr. Peters has filled the seat. It is lamentable to see Catholics ripping each other apart and doing damage to the faith in the process by causing scandal, in the sense of airing these things to the detriment of the faith of many and the name of the Catholic Church already in tatters from so many scandals.

  4. Rudy, both Fr Corapi and Fr Pavone have positioned their ordinaries/superiors–the competent ecclesial authority–as their nemeses. Who is doing the ripping? Reporting on it is not the cause of the scandal.

  5. The heart of the Fr. Pavone story is so obvious that we are all missing it. Politics. No, not Church Politics, National Politics. In 2008, Fr. Pavone was outspokenly anti-Obama. In 2010, Fr. Pavone paticipated in the protest against Obama speaking at Notre Dame University. The Presidential election is next year. Right now, Obama’s poll numbers keep sinking. Obama needs every vote he can get to get re-elected. So how does this look to Obama and his people? Fr. Pavone needs to be taken out. This is National Politics, Chicago-Style.

    Where does Bishop Zurek come in? According to Huffington Post columnist Father Alberto Cutie (Episcopalian), Sept. 19: “His bishop in Amarillo is certainly much more progressive than he is, so there could be some ideological clashes there…” Okay, do these “ideological clashes” translate into the Bishop’s Democratic associations? Those associations include a relationship with former Mayor of San Antonio, Ed Garza. Garza appointed Bishop Zurek to serve on his Committee on Integrity and Trust in Local Government for the city of San Antonio. Ed Garza, sharing the Democratic leanings of other Hispanics in Texas, endorsed Obama in 2008, saying: “Senator Obama’s unique ability to bring people together and bridge partisan divides make him the best candidate to bring change we can believe in.”

    I don’t want to suggest that Bishop Zurek himself is being a party to a ‘dirty tricks campaign’ against Fr. Frank Pavone, but the possibility exists that circumstances around the Bishop have been manipulated, with an agenda in mind.

    Obama and abortion: according to Fr. Pavone, these are two tragedies, and they are linked. And so, Fr. Pavone is being targetted by very powerful people, including multinationals. UNFPA (the United Nations Population Fund) is an abortion provider in China which was found complicit in the coercive implementation of China’s One Child Policy, following an investigation headed by Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2001. Coercive implementation includes fines, detentions, forced abortions, forced sterilizations, beatings,and home destructions.

    Obama stated that he “strongly opposes” forced bortion in China. Really? Then why did he restore funding of the UNFPA?

    Now, sweetening up Obama’s class warfare strategy, Warren Buffett may claim to pay less taxes than his secretary (in fact, with the current level of sleght-of-hand accounting practices, perhaps he pays zero), but he is the director of Berkshire Hathaway, and that organization is one of the largest donors to abortion clinics in America.

    There are people who are now advocating a One Child Policy worldwide. A One-World Government, put into place after the panic of a carefully planned worldwide financial meltdown, would institute many draconian regulations. Fr. Frank Pavone would be an encumbrance in this Brave New World, wouldn’t he?

  6. Rudy,

    In both cases, the respective priests in question have been all over media and new media, often making comments or statements which yield a particular kind of fruit out of followers: Disdain and contempt for Catholic hierarchy.

    I’m glad Dr. Peters is offering serious analysis on the incessant talk by Fr. Pavone. Many are perplexed by what seems like a serious deficiency in Fr. Pavone’s understanding of his role as a Catholic priest. The article by Peters linked in Greg’s post offers a glimpse of the troubling thought process.

    The more Fr. Pavone talks, the deeper he digs himself into a hole. I’m all the more convinced that Bishop Zurek leaving town for two weeks was nothing short of giving him some rope.

    Despite any shortcomings on the part of Bishop Zurek in his initial letter, if this is even a glimpse of what he’s been dealing with, it’s no wonder the man seemed impatient with Pavone. What Bishop Zurek said about Pavone’s behavior is now publicly manifest.

    While some bishops may still be backing him, I suspect that is diminishing each time he speaks (or doesn’t speak up when he should, such as when followers are demonizing Zurek and engaging in what is nothing short if harassment of small children with CBR’s use of aborted baby billboards outside an Amarillo elementary school)

  7. I do find it interesting that in both the cases of Fr. Corapi and Fr. Pavone, those who write about the wrong being done are being labeled as being guilty of all sorts of things. This is the ad hominem tactic, of attacking these individuals instead of refuting what they say.

    While Fr. Pavone’s case is not the same as Fr. Corapi’s, there are still troubling similarities where both seem to blame the Church and downplay their obligation of obedience to their bishop. There is also a disturbing tendency for the supporters of both to attack the Church, claiming the Church must be in the wrong here.

    I fear Fr. Pavone has moved from a mission to an obsession, though I pray I am wrong here.

  8. A little diocese in the middle of Texas. Yikes. I come from a little diocese (the poorest diocese in America) in Arizona/New Mexico. The diocese of Gallup, NM, is populated by Native Americans (mostly Navajo) who are suffering from alcoholism, meth addiction, teen suicides are almost epidemic. Father Pavone could make a big difference in a little populated diocese like this… if he wanted to.

    I’m thankful for the many priests who served and continue to serve the people of that diocese. Even though it’s in the middle of nowhere! I know one elderly priest when I was a kid, was originally from Pennsylvania, and was sent to this mission diocese as a new priest in the 40’s. I doubt if he complained.

  9. Re: St John of the Cross, St Padre Pio and Fr. P.

    For the better part of three tumultuous centuries the Carmilites, having fled the Holy Land, underwent one reorganization or reform after enough culminating, sadly, (after the deaths of St John and St Theresa) in the order splitting in two. At one point the Nuncio made St. John, over the objections of the Carmelite General, chaplain to St. Theresa’s convent. After the Nuncio’s death St. John’s lawful superiors ordered him to return to his monastery. St. John refused to obey citing the now deceased Nuncio’s order. His superiors arrested, imprisoned and tortured St. John who after 9-months broke out of his cell and escaped his monastery.

    St. Padre Pio on the other hand, accepted humiliating restrictions to his priestly ministry with great cheerfulness and exacting obedience. He made no appeal to Nuncios, or to Rome; nor did he break out of his cell and run away from his monastery..

    Both are now called Saints. And although they were both monks who had taken the triple vow in imitation of Christ’s life they followed different paths regarding docility to orders from lawful superiors.

    Father P. is not a monk. He has taken no public vows. He does not live in community. However he does owe respectful obedience to the lawful orders of his good Bishop. And his good Bishop’s lawful authority over Father P. is limited by both justice and charity.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  10. Cheryl-Helene Thomson,

    You have produced a tissue of innuendo with nothing of substance to back it up, just your and others’ fertile imaginations.

    Theologically, it amounts to rash judgment, if you actually believe it. Legally, it is a fabrication.

  11. I’ll bend my rule about not responding to identity-masked combox posts, and offer some thoughts occasioned by “Rudy” above.

    1. I hope s/he is wrong in drawing a parallel between Corapi and Pavone. I have not drawn that comparison.

    2. I have commented only on what was already public. I have been critical of Zurek and his vicar general, and of Pavone and two prominent Pavone supporters. If most of my comments lately have been about Pavone, et al. that is because Pavone et al. keep making statements requiring, in my opinion, response, lest important points of Church discipline be misrepresented by partisans in a dispute.

    3. I write out of my credentials in canon law and decades’ worth of daily experience working with diocesan clergy and seminarians. I am not infallible, nor need one have either degree or work experience to have good insights into this mess, but I think both help. In any case, folks who prefer to read commentary from others are, I need hardly say, free to follow them instead.

    4. It is my opinion that Pavone needs to step out of this fray and seriously reflect on what this incident says about the priorities in his life in light of the total mission of the Catholic Church into whose priesthood he has been ordained. I think that I and others who are urging this quieter course of action do him better service than do his fans who are cheering him on toward a showdown that cannot end well.

    Finally, while people are free to disagree with some or all of what I have said above and elsewhere, they are simply not ‘free’ to characterize anything I have written in this matter as “ripping” Pavone.

    Best to all, Ed P.

  12. Thank you to all who have responded to my comment above, specially Dr. Peters.

    I respect Dr. Peters credentials as a Canon Lawyer and a knowledgeable person within Catholicism. I do not believe that Dr. Peters has any agenda and actually I presume that he is an outstanding person.

    I still believe that this back and forth both from Father Pavone and his critics is detrimental to the faithful and to the Church. Why not let the Bishop of Amarillo defend himself and use his authority to do so? Is he so impotent that he needs others to augment the controversy? In my opinion (and of course I can be as wrong as you may want) let the bishop respond, and if he does it in private, better, same said of Father Pavone, he should not be fighting this out in public.

    I dont know father Pavone, I havent followed his career and I have no ax in this at all. But yes, this is a scandal. I would say that Dr. Peters rebuttals of Father Pavone are harsh. And Father Pavone is appealing to public simpathy, wrongly I think.

    I do think also that the enemies of the Church and those who want unrestricted abortion are very happy with all of this.

    Dr. Peters, I am no match to your credentials and intellect, so I humbly apologize if you think this was personal. It is not.

  13. By the way, Rudy is my nickname from early age, but my name is Rodolfo Garcia-Barye, and I’d like to think I can take responsibility for my words and actions. Thank you and God bless.

  14. So Ed Peters is going to take the speck out of Fr. Pavone’s eye? What has Ed Peters done to further the pro-life cause?

  15. Mary,

    Your comment is totally uncalled for and uncharitable, IMO. Dr. Peters has the expertise to discuss this matter, which I dare say most of us do not. He is trying to inform his readers on aspects of the situation in which he should be regarded as an authority. It makes absolutely no difference to the validity of his comments whether he has been arrested ten times with Operation Rescue or done nothing about abortion.

  16. Nice to meet you Rudy. Fair points, generally; lector iudicet, and all that. One thing tho: bishops exercising their lawful authority over priests need not, and I would say should not have to, enter the public fray to defend their actions. That’s just not appropriate.

    I chuckled at “Mary’s” taunt. I know my pro-life works going back 30 years are as nothing. Truly. I only hope that the six solidly pro-life children Ang and I raised do better than their poor papa ever did. Truly.

  17. jkm

    Nowhere have I heard or seen something from Fr. Pavone saying that he sees Bishop Zurek as his nemesis. Everything I’ve heard and seen from him is saying that the abortion industry is his enemy. He doesn’t view the PEOPLE in the abortion industry as his enemy, only the industry itself.

  18. @Rudy – I don’t think there was anything “harsh” in what Dr. Peters wrote. It was objective.

    @Mary – pitiful that such a question, really a shallow one at that, should be asked. Are there not many ways to fight for life? Do you really believe that all pro-lifers of any “value” are required to do their work, or support the cause, in such a highly visible way, lest it be discounted?

  19. IMO, Fr.Pavone is either the crusader or the priest/victim (Fulton Sheen’s characterization of the priest). Speaking as the obnoxious Catholic neophyte that I am, Fr. Pavone’s conduct would never be a model for me. I personally have to learn, the hard way, every day, to do God’s will, which is not necessarily my own, having basically a selfish nature. I see miracles from praying the rosary, but it’s taken time. Nothing is easy. But like I’ve said before, public spectacle against the church is WRONG. If the bishop is wrong as a man, tough it out, you honor the CHURCH. I don’t know much, but I know he is handling this whole thing all wrong.

  20. I pray for Fr Pavone- actually, a ‘little’ church in the ‘middle of nowhere’ might make him able to continue working with Priests for Life- he wouldn’t be able to travel much- especially on the weekends—time to delegate Father!

  21. @Mr. Comerford, I don’t see how the case of St. John of the Cross is analogous. Did Fr. Pavone have permission to operate outside of the Diocese of Amarillo from someone other than the Ordinary?

  22. If it weren’t for the fact that innocent children will die because of their actions, it would be comical to watch “conservative Catholics” contort themselves into mealy-mouthed sycophants of Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. They ignore the reams of documented financial disclosures and continue to propagate half-truths and total fabrications. In view of this, one has to question the motives of these self-proclaimed “conservative Catholic” bloggers; not to mention the source of their funding.

    I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read the final quote from the National Catholic Reporter’s hit piece on Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life. The author of the piece quotes an unknown blogger whom he identifies as the “editor of the conservative website” and then goes on to name the website. The quote is but another rant from a guy whose been working to destroying Father Frank and the pro-life movement for years. What’s more, the quote is mere demagoguery. No facts. No evidence. Nothing to substantiate the attack. It’s obvious that the pro-abortion wing of “Catholics” here in the U.S. is going all out to silence the single-most effective pro-life voice in America; and, no, I’m not talking about the USCCB!

    Unable to find so much as a shred of proof to substantiate the false claims that Priests for Life is guilty of mismanaging the gifts which hundreds of thousands of people have entrusted to them, the heralds of the culture of death are now targeting two small pro-life organizations that are not officially part of Priests for Life: Gospel of Life Ministries and Rachel’s Vineyard. Talk about painting with a broad brush? Both of those organizations are independent non-profit organizations. The one, Rachel’s Vineyard, is recognized as the leader in post-abortion healing. Its founder, Dr. Theresa Burke, had a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI earlier this year. Almost every diocese in the country uses Rachel’s Vineyard for its post-abortion work. Its budget is only $500,000 a year. Although neither ministry is required to do so, each sent their financial statements for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 to the bishop of Amarillo. Independent audits for 2010 are in the process of being completed. And this in spite of the fact that neither one is an “officially” Catholic organization, neither one has a direct mission to work with the Catholic Church, neither one is under any vigilance or oversight by the diocese of Amarillo, and each of them have their own income stream. It’s obvious to all that both Rachel’s Vineyard and Gospel of Life Ministries are acting in good faith and trying to work with the bishop. It’s equally obvious that the bishop has little to no interest in working with Father Frank, Priests for Life, Rachel’s Vineyard or Gospel of Life Ministries. Rather, his sole interest seems to be to disrupt and destroy four vital components of the pro-life movement in America: Fr. Frank Pavone, Priests for Life, Gospel of Life Ministries, and Rachel’s Vineyard. One has to ask oneself: Why?

    You gotta love all these “Catholic” bloggers and news media types who are attacking Fr. Pavone round the clock. Have you seen the names of these groups? Religion News Service. Catholic World News. Catholic News Service. And those are just three. The combined readership is probably less than 500 die-hard pro-abortion, anti-Church fanatics. What these frustrated bloggers do is quote one another in order to give readers the impression they are independent, objective-minded journalists. Nothing could be further from the truth. But uninformed readers don’t know that. So the same old debunked lies, fabrications and misstatements keep getting repeated in the hope that something sticks. It’s very sad to see happening; especially when you know that the real victims in all this are the tens of millions of innocent children who will die because of their pro-abortion fanaticism.

    The Internet is a tremendous invention and a tribute to the ingenuity of man (thank God Al Gore invented it). Sadly, however, as with most things in life, that which has the potential to do great good can also be manipulated to do great harm. Such is the case with the attack now under way against Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life. Self-proclaimed “faithful, conservative Catholic” bloggers are using the Internet to make unsubstantiated accusations and false charges against the man who has almost single-handedly brought the abortion issue to the forefront of American conversation. No political candidate dare dismiss the pro-life vote. And each year more and more Americans move over from the “pro-choice” category to the pro-life position. Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life have done more to bring about this change in attitude than anyone. That is an indisputable fact which even Father Frank’s enemies acknowledge. So why this concerted effort by those who call themselves obedient sons and daughters of the Church to silence his voice and destroy Priests for Life?

    I saw a headline of yet another attack piece against Father Frank and Priests for Life. It read:
    “Priests for Life in financial trouble.” I went on to read the article because I wanted to learn more. But there was nothing in it. No facts. No corroborating evidence. Nothing. Oh, the “reporter” did mention that Priests for Life “lost $1.4 million” in donations in 2010. Duh! So did every other non-profit. WE’RE ON THE BRINK OF A DEPRESSION, you idiot “reporter”! Every non-profit in the country lost money last year. Oddly enough, the “reporter” disclosed how Priests for Life had grown in the three previous years as more and more Americans stepped forward to offer their support to the pro-life ministry. But due to the fact that it suffered a loss in 2010 during one of the country’s most horrendous economic downturns, he now makes the false claim that Priests for Life is in financial trouble. Give me a break. THE WHOLE D— COUNTRY IS IN FINANCIAL TROUBLE!!!

    Talk about a hoped-for “self-fulfilling prophecy,” pro-abortion bloggers are filling the Internet with false claims that Priests for Life is about to close its doors. It’s obvious to all who know Father Frank that Priests for Life will never close its doors. For Father Frank, fighting to rid the country of legalized abortion isn’t an “occupation”, it’s a vocation. It’s his life calling. The late Cardinal John O’Connor knew this. And so do countless bishops and cardinals in the Church. They know how valuable Fr. Pavone’s work is. And when all is said and done, they will make sure that the voice of Father Frank and the work of Priests for Life remains strong and vibrant!

    Oh my goodness! Priests for Life has been helping other pro-life organizations! Stop the presses! If ever there was a hanging charge, that’s gotta be it. C’mon folks. Is that the best you’ve got? Father Frank is one of the few pro-life leaders in the country who goes out of his way to help other pro-life organizations. He could care less who grabs the headlines or who gets credit for a pro-life victory. For him the one and only things that matters is fighting to end abortion. It’s comical to watch self-proclaimed “Catholic” bloggers attack him and Priests for Life for having the audacity to help groups like Rachel’s Vineyard and Gospel of Life Ministries. One has to question the motives of those who continue with these attacks on Father Frank and Priests for Life and ask: Which side are they on?

  23. @Ana, I would refer you to the Open Letter to All Catholic Bishops of the United States, posted on the Priests for Life website, which characterizes this situation as Bishop Zurek’s attempt to “relegate Fr Pavone to a convent in Amarillo” (not something that is within the purview of the abortion industry), and places blame for the harm being done to the anti-abortion movement squarely on Bishop Zurek:

    “Unfortunately, Bishop Zurek’s actions against Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life have already given rise to an unfounded sense of ‘scandal’ in the Church and the pro-life movement – especially after Bishop Zureks’s letter to the bishops found its way to the nation’s press. We fear that serious harm has been done to Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life. And with the accusations based on what we consider are subjective feelings, suspicions, and poor information, this whole affair is puzzling to prolifers.”

    In the same way, the protests organized this weekend by a group on whose board Fr Pavone serves used the slogan FREE FATHER PAVONE. To whom is this addressed? Not the abortion industry. It was the cathedral, seat of Bishop Zurek, that was encircled with trucks and buzzed by a plane–not the abortion mills.

    Fr Pavone is fully aware of both of these actions, and has done nothing to change the impression that it is the Bishop, not the abortion industry, who is keeping him from exercising his God-given ministry.

  24. @Faye: Gospel of Life Ministries and Rachel’s Vineyard are now, according to Fr Pavone, to be considered interrelated ministries with Priests for Life under the umbrella of the international association of the faithful known as the Gospel of Life Association. The Pastoral Team of Priests for Life announced today that it has formed an International Private Association of the Faithful called the Gospel of Life Association.

    “The benefit of an association is that the groups work with a more deliberate emphasis on the fact that pro-life is a spirituality, not simply a cause. The Association is guided by special bylaws that express the cohesion of the ministries as a family of believers. Along with Priests for Life, the ministries are Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, Rachel’s Vineyard, Silent No More Awareness Campaign, Seminarian Life Link, Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, Life on the Line, Prayer Campaign, Deacons for Life, Hispanic Outreach, African American Outreach, Political Responsibility and Stand True Youth Outreach.”

    Of course, this does not relieve the individual nonprofits from their obligation to have filed 990s (publicly available federal tax documents) for any year in which they took in more than $50,000 in donations. Gospel of Life Ministries and Rachel’s Vineyard lost their nonprofit status for failing to comply with this requirement, although they continue to claim nonprofit status on their donation requests, illegally. Priests for Life has not filed a 990 since 2008, and risks losing its nonprofit status imminently if this remains unrectified. Internal audits and financial statements do not serve to meet this requirement.

    You may laugh, but there are many concerned supporters of Fr Pavone’s ministry who do not wish to see it robbed of its nonprofit status because of a stubborn refusal to comply with simple regulations.

  25. Re: On Lawyers and Saints

    “I don’t see how the case of St. John of the Cross is analogous. Did Fr. Pavone have permission to operate outside of the Diocese”

    St John of the Cross believed he was called to help reform Carmel. (some of the same criticisms were directed at him that have been leveled at Fr. P to include theft and mismanagement.) St John cited the Papal Nuncio as authority to ignore the orders of his General ,his Provencal Superior and indeed his entire order in convention to return to his monastery. The Nuncio certainly had the power top lace St John as chaplain to St Theresa’s convent. But whether the Nuncio had the just authority to do so is still debated by folks infinitely smarter than I.

    Father P. has gone from Bishop to Bishop to pursue his pro-life work and even cited a Vatican Cardinal before him he took a vow to do pro-life work. And he is not now being very quiet during his forced return to his Diocese.

    Now both St. John and Fr. P may be wrong under Canon Law. I do not know. But folks are not Canonized because they are cleaver Canon Lawyers but because they led lives of heroic virtue. (Can lawyers be virtuous? Just kidding.)

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  26. Father Pavone’s vows of respect and obedience are sacramental and part of his priesthood. His promise to fight abortion, even if made in front of the entire College of Cardinals is not sacramental.

    The vows of respect and obedience are the higher vows. The vow to always do pro-life work does not trump the vows made at ordination. That’s the essence of the issue before the pro-life community.

  27. Ed you state: Finally, while people are free to disagree with some or all of what I have said above and elsewhere, they are simply not ‘free’ to characterize anything I have written in this matter as “ripping” Pavone. Wow! Please define the part about one not being “free” to ???. . . The title of your blog also quotes “Fr. Pavone: Joyfully Guilty Forever.” My response: Isn’t it interesting that there are those sitting on a “high fence” and while looking at both sides of this matter happen to put emphasis on Fr. Pavone. One must know that by doing this one can easily steer the public’s opinion to be very judgemental. From the Catechism:
    “Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity” (2479). “…detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them” (2479b).“Humility might make us indifferent even to a good reputation, were it not for charity’s sake; but seeing that it is a groundwork of society, and without it we are not merely useless but positively harmful to the world, because of the scandal given by such a deficiency, therefore charity requires, and humility allows, us to desire and to maintain a good reputation with care” (St. Francis de Sales, Bishop, Introduction to the Devout Life).

  28. Vero1956
    It is Father Pavone who keeps making statements – the bishop made an attempt to correct his letter and that is about all we have heard from him. It is unfair to say that anyone other than Father Pavone is putting an emphasis on Father Pavone. To reflect on Father Pavone’s actions and words is not calumny – it may be an interpretation, based on an apprehension of what the words mean; it is not ripping anyone. When asking questions becomes ripping then heaven help our abilities to understand one another. I would also add that if ripping were going on it would seem to come from Father Pavone and a subset of his supporters.

  29. @Cheryl-Helene Thomson

    I agree with you 100% and if I may also add:

    ed peters said the following in his blog at IN THE LIGHT OF THE LAW: “Both sides have made mistakes in this mess but Zurek’s errors have to some degree been corrected. Pavone, however, continues to operate, I fear, on a faulty understanding of, among other things, Church structure and practice.”

    How very Draconian of the bishop and how presumptuous and closed minded of ed peters to claim and state that the bishop has corrected his errors BECAUSE MR. ED PETERS: HE HASNT!

    First the bishop put clouds of doubt and smeared the good name of a man who stands up to people JUST LIKE THE BISHOP, planned parenthood, as well as those who does not have the b***s and the backbone to stand up against abortion.

    AND … zurek even went so far as to tell people to STOP GIVING DONATIONS TO PRIESTS FOR LIFE?

    That is absolutely INSANE!!! in fact IS the BISHOP insane? Who in their right minds will tell people to stop donating to an organization that survives on donations without any proof at all that the funds are being mismanaged? Did zurek discover and exposed Fr. Frank of a house in the swiss alps? did zurek discover off shore accounts of Fr. Frank?



    Just what did he see for him to say what he did?

    All zurek said was Fr. Pavone is not suspended, is in good standing.

    How did he correct his mistake? WHERE is it that he said “CONTINUE TO DONATE TO PRIESTS FOR LIFE”.

    Again, HOW is this him correcting his mistake when that very last bit is a very grave verbal attack on the part of zurek to Fr. Pavone and Priests For Life.

    The damage is already done!!! Can anyone else not see this?

    Planned Parenthood is having a party right now! All they are doing are sitting back and laughing because while all this drama, chaos and controversy that zurek himself caused, “THEIR LUCRATIVE BUSINESS ON ABORTION” is increasing.

    How many babies are being slaughtered each and every single day?

    To all those that say Fr. Frank Pavone is a priest first and foremost and should just stay quiet, behind the scenes and just preach in masses … well … to that I say:

    Just like there is only one St. Teresa of Calcutta,
    One Ronald Reagan who ended the cold war
    One Pope John Paul II
    One Corporal Dakota L. Meyer

    There is only ONE Fr. Frank Pavone.

  30. To quote a fellow poster on another topic:

    “I am sure the Bishop is within his authority, but those who live in glass houses…etc.

    It would be nice if Bishop Zurek also demanded that the USCCB reveal where its funds from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) are going. Since the big stink the USCCB has not only kept its 2010 donations a secret, but pulled its 2009 list off their website.

    Lead by example Bishop Zurek!”

  31. on 27 Sep 2011 at 12:49 pm7 jkm

    Rudy, both Fr Corapi and Fr Pavone have positioned their ordinaries/superiors–the competent ecclesial authority–as their nemeses. Who is doing the ripping? Reporting on it is not the cause of the scandal.

    Part of the greater blogger created scandal is comparing the two situations/persons when there is no comparison. And if you follow that line you had better get better discernment instruction.

  32. There’s only one of any of us. All of us are irreplaceable. None of us is indispensable. Imprudent speech directed at Fr. Pavone is no more or less serious than imprudent speech directed against anyone else–including bishops, bloggers, and canon lawyers.

  33. To all those that say Fr. Frank Pavone is a priest first and foremost and should just stay quiet, behind the scenes and just preach in masses … well … to that I say:

    Just like there is only one St. Teresa of Calcutta,
    One Ronald Reagan who ended the cold war
    One Pope John Paul II
    One Corporal Dakota L. Meyer

    There is only ONE Fr. Frank Pavone.


    Of that honorable list, only one has ever complained petulantly and publicly about being given an order that they didn’t want to follow.

    Guess which one.

    Dcn. G.

  34. 5 Rudy
    In the Corapi affair Mark Shea became his nemesis. Seems that in Pavone affair Dr. Peters has filled the seat.

    Yes, except that Shea simply refers people to Peters’ analyses and those of like opinion – but adds that Fr. Pavone has now destroyed what good he’s done: “Agreed. He’s destroying all the good work he has done by fanning the flames of this stuff. It’s stopped being about the unborn and begun being about him.” Right! Spoken from such superior heights within the Church!

    And therein lie all the bodies, conversions, work of so many via the priest’s help and personal involvement. Bloggers are soooo fickle – esp. Catholic ones. Go figure.

  35. 38 deacongregkandra

    Of that honorable list, only one has ever complained petulantly and publicly about being given an order that they didn’t want to follow.

    And when were those others ever given any such similar “order”? After all we’re here to learn all that we can factually. Those examples were all of a pretty independent sort themselves and pretty much of “superman” status to their own “fans” (as has become the blogger term for those who just might respect them and their work).

  36. jkm –

    Gospel of Life Ministries and Rachel’s Vineyard lost their nonprofit status for failing to comply with this requirement, although they continue to claim nonprofit status on their donation requests, illegally.

    Do you know for a fact that the nonprofit status has not been corrected??? There are an awful lot of assumptions being tossed about re: hitherto respected persons within the fight for life. It seems now that bookkeeping covers a multitude of sins rather than charity.

  37. A Catholic priest has been barred from ministry in Canada for speaking out on abortion and homosexuality – – – by his Bishop.

  38. Diane:

    I’m all the more convinced that Bishop Zurek leaving town for two weeks was nothing short of giving him some rope.

    You mean so he might hang himself??!! Really, …after displaying in error a man before all brother bishops, with personal remarks that ought to be saved for a true pastoral discussion within the expected “father” son relationship…and then having the audacity to remove one’s self from accounting to the accused for action taken when said accused arrives in obedience??

    [Comment edited for clarity. – Ed.]

  39. 42 kevin

    Kris, does anyone take mark shea seriously? I know i don’t.

    Well, he certainly is linked to and his opinions printed (and I assume paid for) by more mainstream Catholic publications and bloggers and mainstream reference listings to said bloggers. That kind of reference certainly demonstrates a kind of public acknowledgement for what many might understand as Catholic respectability these days – all the while his ad hominem attacks (and following apologies) continue.

    [Comment edited for clarity. — Ed.]

  40. kris 44:

    [Comment edited because it didn’t make a damn lick of sense. – Ed.]
    but nonetheless factual. Then you’re the blogmeister with the authority to hide what you deem appropriate.

    [Hard to tell if it was factual or not. Because it didn’t make a damn lick of sense. Be clear, be concise, or be gone. — Ed.]

  41. Re: On The Evil Mr. Shea

    “Kris, does anyone take mark shea seriously? I know i don’t.”

    Not too long ago when a Jack Bauer attitude towards matters like torture, preventative war and just war were all too prevalent among Catholics Mr. Shea made an almost single handed stand for the truth. It was absolutely heroic.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  42. When Roman Catholics are using live ammunition against one another in vicious ad hominem comments (my fellow attorney Ed Peters, Prof. Nadal and of course Deacon K. all excepted), it’s probably wise for this non-RC to simply duck and cover.

    I write simply to say how sad and disheartening I find this whole comment thread. We persons of faith need to calmly debate issues without character assassination or wild conspiracy theories. That’s calumny in any denomination and it’s contrary to Gospel values. We need the united voices of all Christian communities in this broken world. Lashing one another only helps those who hate religion in any form.

  43. Kris (comment 44),

    After I suggested Bp Zurek leaving town was like giving Fr. Pavone rope, you ask, You mean so he might hang himself??!!

    My response: Fr. Pavone has not stopped talking through interviews, tweets, facebook entries, radio, blogposts, etc., and much of it is either directly, or indirectly, making reference to his situation with his bishop. At least, seemingly so.

    With regards to Bishop Zurek, we have no idea what kind of previous communications have been had with brother bishops privately. The bishops have an internal network. They should be able to use that network to discuss matters amongst themselves without someone leaking sensitive information to the press. There are no shortage of canonists among the bishops who could have pointed out any problems with Bishop Zurek’s letter to him without it become fodder for all of us.

    What is most troubling to me is that people cannot separate the issues. There are two serious issues in play here.

    1) Financial questions which have not been answered to the satisfaction of Fr. Pavone’s bishop. Even if everything is ok, it would not have hurted to go quietly back to Amarillo, seeing that his bishop was visibly upset, and try to work through it without fanning the flames as he has done.

    2) it is becoming quite manifest that concerns surrounding Fr Pavone’s understanding of his priestly role, and the priority that should have over his apostolate, are legitimate.

    Before Fr. Pavone started carrying on in the media so incessantly, I never would have questioned his understanding of his priesthood. It was not Bishop Zurek’s letter which prompted these questions in me, but Fr. Pavone’s own words since he went back to Amarillo.

  44. Maybe catholics should all unite against the dehumanization of unborn babies. We have a president who is nauseatingly pro-abortion on demand. He even voted for letting babies who survive abortions to die. What kind of a man worthy of the name could even contemplate such a thing? What kind of a man is he? Disgusting barbarism.

    In the words of Dickens, oh to hear the insect on the leaf pronounce upon the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust

    Fr Pavone is not the enemy whoever is right or wrong in this squabble

  45. Like many, I’ve been following with much interest the ongoing saga of Bishop Patrick Zurek and Fr. Frank Pavone and for the record, I’ve long been a fan of Father Frank. After all, anyone who won the unconditional endorsement of Blessed Mother Teresa – as Father Frank did – must be on the up and up. Still, when Bishop Zurek released the “private” letter he wrote to his brother bishops to select members of the news media, I wondered what was going on. Upon closer investigation it appears to me that the bishop is trying to have things both ways. On the one hand he accuses (falsely as it turns out) that Father Frank has raised so much money for Priests for Life that there must be something scandalous in the ministry’s operations and Father Frank must be hiding millions of dollars. But on the other hand, Father Frank is accused of mismanaging Priests for Life because Priests for Life lost $1.4 million in contributions in 2010 and is struggling to have donations meet operating expenses. Well, which is it? Of course there’s no truth to either charge. Priests for Life has raised a lot of money because pro-life activists like me recognize that the best way to put one’s scarce pro-life dollars is to entrust them to Father Frank and Priests for Life because I know they are effective and through their non-stop preaching of the Gospel of Life they are winning countless numbers of Americans over to the side of life. As for the decrease in donations last year, sadly, the current economy prevents me and a lot of other folks from giving Priests for Life more money than we would like. When all is said and done, it seems Bishop Zurek and others who are uncomfortable with Father Frank’s relentless drive to end abortion – something the U.S. bishops tell us is the “fundamental civil rights issue of our day” – feel the only way to end their discomfort is to crucify Father Frank, silence his pro-life voice, and destroy Priests for Life.
    There is another way, though, Bishop Zurek: JOIN HIM ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE FIGHT!!!

  46. Deacon Greg said..

    To all those that say Fr. Frank Pavone is a priest first and foremost and should just stay quiet, behind the scenes and just preach in masses … well … to that I say:

    Just like there is only one St. Teresa of Calcutta,
    One Ronald Reagan who ended the cold war
    One Pope John Paul II
    One Corporal Dakota L. Meyer

    There is only ONE Fr. Frank Pavone.


    Of that honorable list, only one has ever complained petulantly and publicly about being given an order that they didn’t want to follow.

    Guess which one.

    Well Deacon, Pope John Paul II worked with Ronald Reagan and the CIA against the USSR and Polish leadership. Since he did not have a bishop, you could say he was certainly messing in matters of state in other countries boundaries for a very good reason…Communism is evil and needed to end.

    Ronald Reagan ran twice successfully by going aftre the liberal democrats and their massive welfare programs and socialist beliefs. He did so because he saw how great the USA could be if government were taken off the backs of the people and companies. He saw what the Democratic Party had become including their support of abortion and left the party and on a regular basis gave speeches pointing out that evil.

    Anyone who knew Mother Theresa knows that she went full bore after what she felt God had called her to do and did not take no for an answer. She did not disobey her mother superior or the Pope, but she certainly made her vocation known and was relentless.

    Father Pavone has a calling to try to end the holocaust of abortion. He has been doing that job in a wonderful manner without ever once being in dissent of Church teaching. When the Bishop sent out his petulant letter in which he falsely accused him of wrong doing financially by saying he was “suspended”. The Bishop advised people not to donate to a wonderful pro life program in PFL.

    Sorry, but the petulant one here is the Bishop who created the mess with the bad letter which only a fool would think could go out all over America and not be publically released. It is my opinion that he knew the letter would get out and thought Father Pavone who simply bow down to his highness and by the time he got back from whatever he is doing in Brazil it would be over. Frankly, as a former CEO, if I created that size mess with a very poorly worded communication, I would leave to come back immediately to get things straightened out. I don’t care how long planned the trip was.

    I also think that Cheryl-Helene Thomson had a good point on the political implications this entire thing has with the 2012 elections coming up. If indeed it proves out the Bishop had strong Democratic leanings and did not want to see PFL clearly putting out Catholic teaching on not supporting pro abortion candidates, then who is the one that is evil and needs to be removed?? Maybe Father Pavone knows the leanings of this bishop on that front and would not go along and be silent in his effort to stop the holocaust of babies. Any Catholic who does not make every effort to have a solid pro life candidate elected in 2012 has a hand in the end result of decades more killings of millions of more children. The next president will probably replace at least 2 and maybe as many as 4 judges and if Obama, it will mean Roe is solid for a generation.

    This was part of our concern in the letter we sent with over 17,000 signatures. I understand that there are now funds being put together to examine Bishop Zurek and his connections or leanings to the Democratic Party of abortion and gay marriage.

  47. Re: Combative Carmilites

    “I write simply to say how sad and disheartening I find this whole comment thread”

    This thread is all sweetness and light compared to three centuries (13th to 16th) of reform in the Carmilite order which, sadly split after the deaths of St John and St Theresa.

    At one point St John was arrested by his Provencal, imprisoned in his monastery and flogged weekly in front of the assembled friars.

    It should be noted in regards to thsi case that there were folks on both sides of the issues who were eventually raised to teh Altars by the Church..

    Be happy we do not flog dissenters anymore.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  48. Can anyone please point out why Father Pavone should be silenced since he has been falsely accused? Last time I looked, the diocese in trying to straighten out Bishop Zurek mess on “suspended” said Father has not been accused of anything. Please show where he is violating anything in his diocese vow of obedience. He was told to come and did as he was told. Has the diocese told him to have no press converences, not twitter, no email, no communication? If they did, I have not seen it and I doubt that Father would disobey the order.

    So unless those who are screaming about this can show what he has done against canon law or his promise of celebacy or obedience, I think a priest does retain the first amendment right. It might not be good PR and one could judge him for that if one desires, but to try to make it sound like he is evil or doing something illegal or against church teaching or canon law, is wrong and starts to resemble a witchhunt by pro democrat catholics.

  49. Greta…

    You can’t be serious. You’re actually suggesting that Dr. Ed Peters is a “pro-Democrat Catholic”?!

    He’ll get a kick out of that.

    Dcn. G.

  50. @ deacongregkandra

    You mean Corporal Meyers.

    Because Fr. Frank Pavone is still being obedient and is following what bishop zurek wants him to do.

    He was not told by zurek to keep quiet if that’s what you’re trying to get at.


  51. Re: Greta #52

    “The next president will probably replace at least 2 and maybe as many as 4 judges and if Obama, it will mean Roe is solid for a generation.”

    Hmmm. Maybe I am missing something here. If my memory serves me straight, currently six of the nine Supreme Court Justices are Roman Catholic and three are Jewish.

    Perhaps the reason why nothing is being done is that the Supreme Court cannot legislate — it can only adjudicate — as Conservatives frequently remind all of us. Unless someone brings a case forward that flows through the Federal District and Appeals Courts, the Supreme Court cannot rule on it.

    Greta — the opportunity is here! Why don’t you start the process by filing a claim with the Federal District Court in Cincinnati that would assert that abortion is a moral crime?

  52. Re: The Good Bishop’s Pro-life Sermon

    I think it is a very nice, scholarly sermon. The good Bishop is clearly quite intelligent.

    Of course there was nothing in it about Humanae Vitae and artificial contraception being the root cause of abortion. Nor that artificial contraception was itself intrinsically evil. Nor was there anything about abortion being (objectively speaking) a mortal sin. Nor was there any thing about abortion excommunicating a person from the Church. Nor was there any thing about a soul dying in a state of mortal soul be damned to Hell for all eternity. Nor anything about a person contracepting or aborting not receiving Holy Communion until they have gone to Confession.

    It was a very nice talk that should not bother anyone.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford

  53. It sounds like Bishop Zurek has already made up his mind to find any kind of “dirt” — even the smallest, most remote, and most insignificant things he can find — about Fr. Pavone and the various organizations he’s involved with. Problem is, Bishop Zurek won’t find any “dirt”… because it’s not there. Fr. Frank is being unjustly put through the wringer on this because he somehow “upstaged” Bishop Zurek.

  54. Re: St John of the Cross Yet Again

    St John was accused of many things by his brother Carmilites to include living large. Somethings never change.

    God bless

    Richard W Comerford