Fr. Pavone: "Nobody needs anybody's permission to save a life…" — UPDATED

The latest, from Fr. Pavone:

It’s so encouraging to see so many people on the same page with me, loving and respecting the Church and, out of that very love and respect, supporting the pro-life mission we are all engaged in together. Amidst the many expressions of support, many say to me that they are praying for me “in this difficult time.”

But what’s difficult about it?

Sure, it’s distressing to have to endure false suspicions, inaccurate media reports, and disruption to a mission which is at the core of my life. That’s all the temporary distress of what’s happening in these days.

But that’s nothing compared to the distress I experience every day because my unborn brothers and sisters are being butchered by abortion. Tears, sleepless nights, anger, righteous indignation – this and more come to me each day because something is happening to the youngest members of the human family…

…I’m sitting here in Amarillo right now because I’m a faithful and obedient priest, as I promised to be long ago. But there’s a more fundamental reason I’m sitting here, and it’s for the children that nearly everybody forgets and ignores. I’m here because cooperating with Church authority at this moment is the best way to preserve the mission I lead to save these children, a mission aimed precisely at increasing the Church’s awareness of and response to this holocaust.

But let’s be clear. Nobody needs anybody else’s permission to save a human life, to rescue a child from dismemberment and decapitation. In fact, to fail to do so is to fail miserably as a priest, as a Catholic, as a Christian, and as a human being. God deliver us from that fate.

Read the rest.

UPDATE: Canon lawyer Ed Peters late last night offered his assessment of the above, not as a lawyer but as a layman.  He concludes his comments by addressing Fr. Pavone directly — and critically:

The daily, unseen strivings of the People of God—even those whom you label as miserable failures for never having saved a human life or rescued a child from dismemberment—contribute mightily to the holiness of the Mystical Body of Christ, a holiness on which we all, including you, draw daily. Such people deserve your respect and even gratitude, not words of disdain and disparagement.

I offer a final suggestion with, I hope, with your good, the good of the pro-life movement, and the good of the Church, in mind: stop airing your angst about your situation in public, and let cooler heads on both sides, guided by law, resolve this conflict.

You’ll want to read it all.

UPDATE II: You’ll also want to read Diane over at Te Deum laudamus and why she is disappointed with Fr. Pavone.

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41 responses to “Fr. Pavone: "Nobody needs anybody's permission to save a life…" — UPDATED”

  1. “…a mission aimed precisely at increasing the Church’s awareness of and response to this holocaust.”

    Um. The Church is ***unaware*** of the holocaust of abortion?

    (I guess when you see how many Catholics have abortions, I guess you can say yes, but it still strikes me as an odd thing to say.)

    Everyone needs to breathe, I think.

  2. I don’t find it THAT bad, but I am surprised he didn’t need (or got) permisson from his bishop to write it. In true humility I suspect he would have “called off the protesters”, with a kind but “not necessary/not what we are about”, acknowledgment.

    IC I disagree with you only in the sense that yes, the church might be “aware”, but they sure are pretty darn “silent” in the pastoral sense. I can count on one hand the number of times I heard the evils of abortion preached in church, the excuse always being “We don’t want to offend”, especially women who have had an abortion. I’ve never understood that, as it’s entirely possible to preach abortion as well as the mercy of God in forgiveness to the women who have had them.

    As discussed in earlier threads, the “obedient” thing is the hardest. If you think about it, any of us, “being called away” in the middle of our passion(s) and lifestyle, would to put it bluntly, would totally suck.

    On a side note, I visited the Padre Pio Shrine yesterday. This is one of his quotes that was written on the wall:

    My past Our Lord to your Mercy
    My present to your Love
    My future to your Providence

    ___Padro Pio

  3. I recommend the canon law article by a lay doctor of civil and canon law who explains by citting the canons about who controls the PLF and related ministries finances and why the bishop used the word “suspension” incorrectly. He chides them both for public statements that were off-mark. They both need prayerful support, not parsing words or sentences.

  4. Klaire #4

    “I can count on one hand the number of times I heard the evils of abortion preached in church, the excuse always being “We don’t want to offend”, especially women who have had an abortion. I’ve never understood that, as it’s entirely possible to preach abortion as well as the mercy of God in forgiveness to the women who have had them.”

    Let me offer two different perspectives on this issue:

    –My parish customarily preaches on abortion twice a year and one of those times is always the Sunday in January which commemorates Roe versus Wade. The other Sunday is more a float and come just about anytime. My previous pastor always did those homilies but he confessed to me once he thought he was “Preaching to the Choir.” That is a non-Catholic term which points out the one fallacy in preaching this message: this type of homily does not “cure” the individual sinner at all but only makes those in the congregation feel good that they have not committed that sin (and then — perhaps — they can get smug about it).

    –The other reason was spelled out in an “op-ed” piece written by Deacon Jack Kearney (now deceased) — who was assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Chicago — that was published in the Archdiocesan Newspaper (The Catholic New World) on December 17, 2000. Deacon Jack’s theme was the title of the piece “Love and Justice, not preaching, will overcome abortion.” He also pointed out the futility of “preaching to the choir” — that I mentioned above — but insisted that social justice and outreach to the poor and marginalized would really be the effort that would dramatically reduce the raw numbers.

    I have also seen a lot of statistics which, when comparing economic indicators and the number of abortions in any give area at any given time, back up Deacon Jack’s premise.

  5. Norb…

    A story from my own experience.

    One year, on Respect Life Sunday, I preached about abortion, only briefly touching on the scriptures of that day.

    After mass, someone came up to me, furious. “I wanted to hear about scripture,” he huffed, “and you didn’t talk about it at all.”

    I countered: “Well, it’s Respect Life Sunday,” I said. “You tell me: when was the last time you heard anyone in that pulpit preach about abortion?”

    He was momentarily stumped. “Well, it’s been a long time,” he said, meekly. “But still…” And he wandered off, still ticked.

    So much for preaching to the choir.

    I think people are hungry to hear something they don’t already know — or to be challenged to think differently about it. Everyone in the pews knows what the Church teaches about abortion. How can we make them think differently?

    Dcn. G.

  6. I’m with the other commenters and don’t like the way this is playing out. I’ve supported Fr. Pavone in the past and intend to do so again in the future. But for now, he should be obeying his bishop, quietly.

  7. Everyone in the pews knows what the Church teaches about abortion. How can we make them think differently?

    Great point Dcn. Greg. Dcn. Norb yours are much appreicated too!

    What worked for me in “thinking differently” was understanding more deeply WHY the church teaches the “Thou shalt nots”, especially when it “hit home.” We all have the “home run” in us, and it all connects/relates to the unimaginable love of God and His will for us, born or unborn.

    I’ll share one thing I heard on a tape from Father Larry that always stayed with me (paraphrased). He said, “Look out the window at the first stranger that you see. Now think about the person in your life you love the most. When and if you make it to heaven, you will love that person at LEAST a billion times more than you love the person you now most love. Does that give you any idea of the love that God has for all of us?”

  8. “I think people are hungry to hear something they don’t already know — or to be challenged to think differently about it.”

    Agree, but I do think that some Catholic adults find comfort in hearing things said in the same way that they initially learned it.

    Quite a few years ago, I taught a Social Justice course to Juniors in a Catholic high School. When the subject of abortion came on the agenda, I could feel the groans: “We heard this before. We know it’s wrong. I’m sick of hearing about it. etc., etc., as so forth.”

    At that time, I happened to come across a pamphlet, “Catholic Wisdom on Abortion.” (I like the term, Catholic Wisdom.) It was part of a series published by Claretian Publications in the 1990’s. (Other topics were Catholic Wisdom on the Death Penalty, Assisted Suicide, Immigration, Welfare Reform, and the Environment. All are 5”x7”, 8 page pamphlets with color illustrations. Unfortunately, I do not think that they are available any more: fortunately, I kept a copy of each topic of the series.)

    I asked the students to read the pamphlet carefully and write down ten points that were being made about Church teachings on Abortion. I asked them to circle the point that they thought was most convincing and then in a paragraph or two write why they thought that point was most convincing.

    Looking back, I think many would make very good apologists. Only one of the 80 or so students did not get full credit (aka reward for giving the assignment their best shot.) She wrote a defense of a teenager having an abortion, since otherwise she would have give up all her hopes and dreams for the future. I tried to tell her that she had not followed the directions for the assignment. I suspect there was more behind her opinion. I may have missed a teachable moment there.

  9. The Amarillo secular newspaper that Ed Peters had a link to brings up an issue that is most likely at the heart of the issue. Fr. Pavone was invited to come to the diocese to establish a religious order of priests. The diocese provided land for a seminary, and most likely solicited donations from others for the religious order, the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. It seems the land was deeded back to the diocese, but there has not been any accounting for the MGL. The order wound up suppressed (if it had any members besides Fr. Pavone as the Moderator General) with Vatican approval, becoming a lay association instead.

    If you use guidestar to check on forms 990 and exempt status. The related ecumenical organization under Fr. Pavone’s direction, Gospel of Life Ministries, had their exempt status revoked for failure to file returns for 3 or more years. The last 990’s available for Priests for Life and Rachel’s Vineyard are from 2008, whereas you would expect both 2009 and 2010 to be available by now. It would seem there are stewardship issues involve.

  10. Guessing that whatever Father Pavone says now will be countered and controversial, nothing he says or do now will be free from being dissected by the willing media inquisition. Well, nothing new now, the Corapi affair let us all numb to the vitriol and to the uncharitable spirit in the Catholic blogosphere, we are veterans now.

  11. Does anyone, who is following this issue, know anything about this other letter of Bishop Zurek to his fellow bishops cited in a mailing to the priests of the diocese of Las Cruces? The mailing is posted in a pdf by, so it is hard to find out who put it on the Internet.

    It came up in a Google search:

    diocese of las cruces letter priests mailing wednesday February 16, 2011

  12. It’s an interesting read, HMS …

    The salient points:

    1. Zurek notes that “there is no written decree…that formally erected PFL as a public or private association in accordance with Canon Law.”

    2. Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (MEV) is defunct. The decree creating it was ruled invalid and illicit. Fr. Pavone evidently appealed multiple times to the Vatican, and his appeal was rejected.

    3. Zurek is cautioning his brother bishops to be wary of Pavone’s groups, should they seek to solicit funds by misrepresenting themselves.

    What a mess.

  13. Addendum: #13

    Although on my original search a few days ago, I found the mailing on mediafire, I just redid the search using

    diocese of las cruces letter priests mailing wednesday February 16, 2011

    and this came up as a pdf file from…/mailngs/2011/02-16-11.pdf

    so it must have been posted a while ago on the website of the diocese of Las Cruces.

    The reason I am belaboring this point is that the letter clarified some things about the situation for me:
    1. the lack of ecclesiastical status of PFL
    2. the origin and of demise of MEV
    3. the relationship of Bishop Zurek and Fr. Pavone especially with respect to Fr. Pavone’s pro-life work outside the diocese

  14. I’ve known Fr. Pavone since, oh, probably 1998. He has worked tirelessly in the defense of life. He has accomplished so much– has taught so many– has certainly saved many lives. He has lived modestly, and has devoted his life to his organization(s).

    It has been my approach to support and respect our bishops, as descendants of the apostles. I still don’t want to veer from that policy– but it seems that this bishop blindsided Fr. Frank with unexpected criticism, removed him from a vital ministry, and then a few voices in the blogosphere have continued to kick him while he’s down. Everyone– both sides and all the commenters– should take a step back, cool down, take it to prayer, and wait for resolution. But from where I’m sitting, this should never have happened in the first place. It’s done harm to the image (hence the effectiveness) of the entire pro-life movement, and that’s just a shame.

  15. Deacon Greg, you posed this important question: “Everyone in the pews knows what the Church teaches about abortion. How can we make them think differently?”

    I think part of the answer (maybe not the whole answer) is to make it clear — in concrete, practical terms — how and why parishioners can support their local crisis pregnancy center. For instance–what the does the CPC need right now, this month? Diapers…formula…cribs in good shape…car seats…different sizes of baby and toddler clothes (because the CPC should not be about only the month the child is born). Human beings with a few extra hours every month to keep the center open more hours. Someone who can help with its website and blog. Someone who can organize or publicize its trivia night to raise funds. All of that stuff, truly, is part of the “Respect Life” movement. Maybe abortion will be outlawed (and back-alley abortions will or will not take its place) in our lifetimes. Maybe not. But women who face a crisis pregnancy CAN at least be shown that there are viable alternatives to abortion, and that in itself is very much a pro-life/respect life activity. Respect life means more than just send in cards to your state rep.

    Of course, if the homilist really is willing to wade into it, he could also tackle the tendency of some (perhaps including some of those in the pew) to favor cuts to the sorts of social welfare programs that most benefit poor mothers and their children — e.g., the WIC program, enhanced funding for Head Start, federal coverage for vaccinations, federal or state subsidies for quality child care for those parents who are among the working poor. The priest or deacon may risk getting branded as a raging liberal for connecting the dots and suggesting that support for such things makes it easier for a woman to allow her child to be born, and that opposition to those things (especially the fire-breathing sort of opposition one often hears when “good Christians” rail about “deadbeats on welfare”) tends to send the message, “We really don’t care about you or your baby/young child. Why don’t you just go get lost…?”

    Respect life ultimately means respecting human beings as well as the material needs of their children who are in danger of growing up in poverty…or being aborted because the mother sees no hope for either her future or the child’s future.

  16. I really think Ed Peters gave a great overview in the link you sited.

    Fr Pavone needs to use this time to grow in humility. That is what I will pray for in his regard.

    Fr Pavone is another example of a priest who needs to learn to love celebrating the seven sacraments. His pro life witness is very valuable, no doubt. But all priest should first and foremost love the sacraments. Ultimately, that is what they are needed for, that is why there are ordained – to be intermediaries for God’s outpouring of grace on His people.

    St John Vianney pray for us, and pray for all priests.

  17. Thank you, Steve. We need to hear this. There are many ways to approach the horror of abortion here in the U.S. We need to support each other in all approaches to the issue.

    Most of all, we need to stop the trashing (done by some pro-life groups) of people of good will, who are struggling to deal with the issue and, in the end, may be quite successful in raising awareness of the issue and decreasing the number of women making the choice of abortion. Bart Stupak comes to mind.

  18. The leaked letter mentioned above in post 13 was sent out in Jan. and Feb. and mentions nothing of the financial questions and concerns of obedience that are brought up in Bishop Zurek’s letter to his brother bishops informing them of recalling Fr. Pavone. Nor does it call Rachel’s Vineyard into question as was said in Msgr. Waldow’s letter clarifying Fr. Pavone is still considered a priest in good standing and is not being accused of wrong doing.

    Given the amount of time since being sent out, surely the points made in this letter were addressed. Is someone digging up a hatch that had already been bury?

    I’m not trying to insinuating anything, simply pointing out an inconsistency and my own confusion.

  19. Ana:
    I do not think that the letter of January 24 was leaked. It seems to have been posted on the Las Cruces diocese website.

    The most recent letter of September 9, I am not sure about.

    But my name is not Nancy Drew.

  20. Oh sorry, must have misread the post.

    Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem to me that the January 24 letter and the September 9 letter have anything to do with each other in terms of the concerns that are brought up in each of them…

  21. The first letter “wasn’t sufficient to deal with the issue” because it addressed something different from what’s going on now.

    At least that’s how I see it right now.

  22. The first letter indicates it wants to make clear the status of two organizations, “Priests for Life” and “Missionaries of the Gospel of Life”. They have no canonical status, and to beware that they might present themselves with “simulated officially recognized ecclesial status” (SORES). I’m not sure if SORES might be the new term for appearing on EWTN. Has Fr. Corapi actually even had proper priestly faculties in recent years, or only SORES through his appearances on EWTN?

    In opposition to what Bishop Zurek said about the organizations canonical status, their own website says “‘Missionaries of the Gospel of Life’ and ‘Priests for Life’ are the same canonical entity, an Association of the Faithful.” So the religious order that the diocese itself had contribute land for a seminary (deeded back to them?) and most likely had helped solicit donations for five years ago or so, is non-distinct from PFL.

    It seems possible that Bishop Zurek was allowing Fr. Pavone additional time back in January to get things settled, while instead he continues to present PFL as having SORES.

  23. Steve Kellmeyer usually snidely keeps himself above the fray on this things – looking down his nose (a la Voris) at the “professional Catholics” who write about these controversies. But look at what he had to say:

    [Edited for inflammatory content — Ed.]

  24. Just got great news this evening. On short notice, our right to life group in the parish contacted many of the right to life groups in parishes around our dioceses. We created a letter with a goal of getting 10,000 signatures and just got word that just today we are already over 5,000 first day out.

    We are protesting this act on the PFL and calling for the Bishops to solve this issue rapidly and to put PFL and the other ministries involved with Father Frank Pavone back to work and free of this type of control by a single bishop.

    Of great concern was the statment made by Msgr. Waldow “This [namely, the assets of Priests for Life and its affiliates] is patrimony of the church. It belongs to the church.” Emphasizing the point, Waldow adds: “People give their money over the understanding that it goes to the church or church auspices and programs and ministries.”

    I do not believe that to be the case, but it is part of our letter seeking clarification on this point from the USCCB and from our local Archbishop. If it is not true, then this person in Amarillo and the dioceses need to send out a letter that they were wrong. If it is true, then I think there is going to be a number of ramifications about this with donars, but also others like the IRS. When people give money to a 501 or other tax deductible organization, it is my understanding that this money has to be used by the group for the purpose advertised. It is not a giant pot that the bishops can use for any purpose they desire.

    We are also having a 24/7 Eucharistic adoration in our parish for Father Frank and for the Bishop that this will be resoved and that Father Frank can get back to doing what he does best which is fighting the holocaust of abortion. I can think of nothing else in this country more important that stopping the death of 4,000 babies a day. If we had a disease killing them, no resource in this country would be left untouched to end the deaths. The disease here of course is severe moral decline, the disease of our age.

    Finally, we are raising a substantial amount of money to send to PFL and other Pavone directed organizations to be at his use on his return. Our goal is over $250,000 to go with the letter, and another $250,000 on Father Frank return to service in PFL. The letter should be complete with the signatures and check in less than two weeks. Pray for us.

  25. greta,

    You misrepresent the facts when you call it an “act on the PFL.” Bishop Zurek has not stopped PFL or the associated organizations. He has only restricted Fr. Pavone. PFL is still as free as it ever was.

    Furthermore, since this is only between Fr. Pavone and his diocesan bishop, the other bishops have no way of interfering.

    I think this letter is a waste of time on the part of all involved.

    And what is the sense in holding back $250,000 from PFL if you have it and you think they can use it, just because Fr. Pavone isn’t back yet?

  26. For all those who believe that the solution to abortion is federal and state government welfare programs, I would advise telling that to the 54 million dead infants. Does anyone know the amount of money over the years since LBJ for these welfare programs and the negative impact they have had on the poor family unit? The role of helping others should be taken up by the families, the neighbors, the parishes, and others out of love. It is what happened before the big government lie was started. The big government programs do not want to have any religious involvement which should be a first clue as to who wants to see them promoted. They pay money out for behaviour that should be avoided, not rewarded. Who would want us to be doing that, Satan or God? The big government programs take money by force from someone who worked to earn it and give it to someone else which is stealing but assigning the job to someone else, the government and who would want to see that type program over each of us deciding to give all we can out of loving charity? Which way would these want to support…satan the stealing; God the Loving Charirty. I note Obama is promoting stealing more from one and to remove some of the deductions for charity. Why isn’t the President promoting giving more by those who can not to the federal government, but to those organizations which help the poor and bring God into their lives at the same time. Why does it have to come to the federal government first so they can decide who should be helped and who should not?

    If there is a question on what to preach in Mass on abortion, you have to go back to the basics and discuss the sin and the impact it has on our soul and how it separates us from God. We have a sacrament where we can absolve sin, but not if we do not admit they are sins, some of them very serious and condemning us without the grace and mercy of God to eternal damnation. Deacon Greg notes getting hit by a parishoner upset over mentioning abortion. When was the last time you heard a homily on the impact of serious sin on the soul and what happens to us if we depart life in serious sin as per the teaching of the Catholic Church. For the last 40 years, we have only heard part of the teaching of Christ. We hear about his stopping those who were going to stone the woman caught in adultery and Jesus telling them “those without sin throw the first stone.” But he told the woman to go forth and SIN NO MORE. He told those who would follow him that they would face persecution and I think he meant a little more than getting chastised by a parishoner for mentioning abortion. Look at what is being done to any priest or bishop who tries to follow all the teaching of the Catholic Church and to teach the cross we all must pick up. We are called to love one another and if we do love another person, watching them destroy themselves with sin is not the type of love I am familiar with in my life. Maybe we should not pick up stones or pronounce final condemnation, but to say what the church teaches in its fullness is not condemning anyone ourselves, but trying to do everything possible to lovingly help others. Christ advised that we should be going out and bringing his full word, not just the PC tolerance and love side, but the full word to the people. To advise that living together outside marriage is serious sin, to advise that the gay lifestyle act is serious sin and gravely disordered, to advise that supporting abortion in any way which includes voting for abortion supporting candidates in the midst of a holocaust is certainly serious sin.

    Yes, I will be chastised for saying these things, but they should be screamed out from the pulpit because all of them seriously offend God. I wish our priest and bishops would take the time to promote the full gospel and the full teaching of Christ and also point out that if all Catholics stopped voting for anyone of any party that supported abortion, the holocaust would decline immediately and would soon end. First on the federal level and then state by state.

  27. Naturgesetz makes some good points — particularly regarding the effort to involve the USCCB. This is between one bishop and one of his priests.

    Meantime, there is nothing to prevent PFL from continuing to do its work without Fr. Pavone — who, by incardination, serves in obedience to the bishop of Amarillo and his successors. Also, based on the earlier letter from the bishop in January, it appears PFL wasn’t properly erected as an association of the faithful to begin with, and may be afoul of canon law in one way or another.

    Finally, I’d advise patience for all concerned. Bishop Zurek is away for two weeks. It’s highly doubtful anything will be resolved before October.

  28. naturgesetz
    to answer your questions of me…

    “Bishop Zurek has not stopped PFL or the associated organizations. He has only restricted Fr. Pavone. PFL is still as free as it ever was.”

    When anyone in the world thinks of PFL, they think of the leader, Father Frank Pavone. Anytime you take out the founder and leader, you impact that organization. Any time you question the finances of an organization that survives on donations, you impact it. Do you really not understand this?

    “Furthermore, since this is only between Fr. Pavone and his diocesan bishop, the other bishops have no way of interfering.
    I think this letter is a waste of time on the part of all involved.”

    If you think a Bishop is not influenced by the USCCB or what other Bishops think on a topic, you do not understand human beings or bishops. If the Bishops take on a lot of heat, they will act. If they think their ability to get donations is going to be impacted, you can count on them acting. We do not agree with standing outside parishes with pictures of aborted fetus, but do believe that this is the right way to act in sending our concerns to the Bishop involved and the the USCCB and our own Bishop as well. time will tell if it is a waste of time. However, having been involved in the past with trying to get signatures on a variety of other issues, this one surprised us all with the numbers we acheived in one day which shows over 5000 people disagree with you it is a waste of time. We also want answers on how funds can be accessed within the Church and to see if this statement out of Amarillo is correct that funds donated to the PFL or other Catholic organizations in essence belong to the Catholic Church as decided by the bishops. Which of course is part of the answer to your other point..

    “And what is the sense in holding back $250,000 from PFL if you have it and you think they can use it, just because Fr. Pavone isn’t back yet?”

    There are questions of who gets to decide how this money is used open at this point by the Amarillo letter. There are questions open about the finances of PFL. There are questions about who will be leading PFL. I guess you give money to a group with these type open questions, but we certainly do not. And of course having half a million bucks in back of 10,000 signatures says a lot to the bishops about our serious concerns.

  29. Deacon Greg, same answers as to naturgesetz above.

    Being inside the Church, I am surprised that you would make a comment about involving the USCCB having no impact on the single bishop. It might not by canon law, but it certainly does by what will go on with private discussions which is how a lot of this gets resolved.

    Also surprised you would think PFL is not impacted by its founder being pulled back to Amarillo and left on the shelf for weeks or that the questioning of the donations and use are now open. If there needs to be some legal changes to PFL to bring it into conformity, I am sure that Father Frank will work to make that happen.

    As to patience, we will have all the patience in the world, but will do everything in prayer and action to try to help resolve this situation with the return of an unimpeded Father Pavone to this critical battle at a time when we have 4000 babies a day being killed. We have the right and obligation to make sure the bishops know how serious we take the holocaust and what we see as the essential leadership at PFL.

    [Comment edited because it strayed off topic — Ed.]

  30. If you think a Bishop is not influenced by the USCCB or what other Bishops think on a topic, you do not understand human beings or bishops. If the Bishops take on a lot of heat, they will act.

    I dunno. It doesn’t appear to have had the slightest impact on the Corapi case, where people flooded Bishop Mulvey and the papal nuncio with petitions and letters — all to no avail.

    Meantime, at least one prominent prelate has gone on the record supporting Zurek, according to the Catholic Review:

    Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien, apostolic administrator of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said he has known Father Pavone for many years, having taught him as a student at St. Joseph Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., before his ordination as a priest.

    “I appreciate Bishop Patrick Zurek’s statement and would hope that Father Pavone would adhere fully to the requests of his bishop,” Archbishop O’Brien told The Catholic Review. ”Bishop Zurek has been so very patient and thorough in dealing with this matter over many months. I appreciate his decision and support it completely.”

    The vicar in Amarillo, likewise, says a number of bishops support Zurek’s move and share his concerns about how PFL is run. (I wonder if any of them are on PFL’s advisory board?)

  31. Deacon, we will do what we believe to be right in sending out our letter and see if it has an impact. We could not sit back and do nothing in view of what we know about this priest and what he has done for the battle to end the holocaust of abortion.

    I note that when ND invited the most pro abortion president of all time, Obama, to speak and with honors, that the local bishops called on them to rescind the invite and that this was supported by over 80 bishops. The priest that leads ND basically told them to shove it. I also note that many who are now calling for obedience from Father Pavone were fairly silent or even supportive of ND during that time frame. And yes, the protest ended up doing nothing to stop that atrocity to our faith, but it sure raised the awareness that to do things like this would bring forth public anger and probably would impact the faith of many.

    So one might argue that the USCCB does not really care about what Catholics in the pews think or that having their own mandate to Catholic institutions thrown in their face, but it does matter in the end.

    On the Corapi case, many who supported him were quickly turned off by his actions and many had been questioning his actions prior to the problem surfacing. So while there was buzz on the blogs about it, I know of no major effort by the faithful to gain signatures, raise funds, or do whatever possible to see the situation resolved. And some who supported Corapi now wanted to have a more involved response to the Father Pavone issue thus the signatures. While writing about this, just got an update from those counting within our dioceses and we now have over 7500 signature in one day and have reached our goal for first donations. Also heard that several over dioceses we have contacted have had similar results. This could end up being so huge it cannot simply be ignored.

  32. Since Father Frank Pavone has requested this issue be reviewed in the Vatican, I was searching to see who might take up this issue. One possibility of course is Cardinal Burke who is head of the Vatican Supreme Court in laymans terms. I recently read this on the Cardinal…

    Does anyone know how a request by a priest is handled and indeed if this goes to the court led by Cardinal Burke?

    I remember seeing both Father Pavone and then Bishop Burke in the same pro life meeting and they seemed to be very close and know that Cardinal Burke has been very outspoken on the issue of abortion in the USA. In the article, it talks about the growing influence that Cardinal Burke has gained in Rome after seeing that Obama has not been what others in the Vatican predicted, but rabid pro abortion. He seems to have great influence now on who is appointed Bishop and or Cardinal as a result. Just curious if anyone else knows how this might work if it ends up in Rome.

  33. Greta …

    The article at this link may help answer your question. It would likely go to the prefect for the Congregation of the Clergy, which is led by Archbishop Mario Piacenza.

    Dcn. G.

  34. The Missionaries of the Gospel of Life (the now defunct religious order) was supposed to build a seminary in Amarillo, and PFL was supposed to build a much larger training campus around it. Groundbreaking occurred in 2006 and it featured Norma McCorvey. It seems to have become held up shortly thereafter when it was discovered that PFL rather than MGL held the deed to the property. A 2008 story reported that work had been suspended until the deed was cleared up, but the PFL project manager indicated that all of the funding was there for it. Nothing more seems to have happened on it. MGL was suppressed. Fr. Pavone decided to keep his offices in Staten Island. The diocese may be wondering what became of the funds that were raised to build the seminary that was never built.

  35. Thanks Deacon Greg for the link.

    Update, we actually passed the 10,000 signature mark here yesterday…in one day. Many of those as Mass took the document home with them to get family and Catholic neighbors to sign on as well. As they rolled back in today and we did a count, it became clear that we had made our milestone. Now we are considering keeping it going for another week just to see how many we can get for our letter. We also now appear to be solid on our donation pledge which will become reality on Father Franks return.

    A younger group is looking to create a facebook as well to work on this action and to take it national.

    The 24/7 Eucharistic group is adding a 24/7 rosary group as well as the signatures for the Eucharist adoration has huge numbers and some came up with the idea of a seperate rosary group. All the prayers are for Father Frank, Bishop Zurek, the USCCB, and the Pope to see this issue resolved for the best overall good of the fight on abortion. We need this resolved soon as we do not want to see the current pro abortion president reelected or the pro abortion senators or congressman. Soon, several pro abortion judges will be retiring and we want a solid pro life president and senate in place to make the changes to send this back to the states.

    Pray for us to stand firm and to keep the pressure on to get this resolved for life.

  36. If the result of all this is to strengthen the support of some bishops for the pro-life activities of the Church, it will be all to the good. But it occurs to me, as it did with the “running priest” in the Philippines, that for pro-life action to be the heart of Fr. Frank’s vocation represents a clericalization of what is the responsibility of the laity.

    Influencing the course of events outside the confines of the Church is the role and responsibility of the laity. For the laity to rely on a priest is to abandon their baptismal call. And for a priest to take it on as the focus of his life’s work is to abandon his priestly vocation in favor of doing the work of the laity.

  37. naturgesetz

    Not sure where you get having PFL doing what they do in any way impacts the role of the layity. In fact, PFL have brought more layity involvement into the battle to end the holocaust of abortion.

    Haven’t we heard for years that the Catholic Pope and Catholic priests and bishops should have done more during another major holocuast by the Nazi’s? According to your comment, it was not their role to end the holocaust, but the responsibility of the laity. Is this also true of segregation or slavery or poverty? Sorry, you got this one wrong.

    However, if the Catholic leadership does call, the layity should certainly take up arms to follow. I believe that the groups we have tried to get involved in this issue with Bishop Zurek and Father Frank are doing in a way what you are calling for and that is layity involvement. Although just for grins, we have a huge number of priests who have signed this letter as well.

    Also kind of strange that many other posts here seem to be saying it was not right to do this as it was the role of the Bishop and he has full and final say. I am not a canon lawyer or even close, but I do no that this is still America and we have a duty and a right to organize and to let those in the Church leadership know what we believe on this issue.

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