On Fr. Pavone: "A great leader inspires others to act sacrificially, death to self"

A lot of people here and elsewhere have grabbed torches and pitchforks and are stalking off into the woods in search of Fr. Frank Pavone’s superior, Bishop Zurek.   Dr. Gerard Nadal is trying to call them back:

I love the energy and focus that Father Pavone has brought to the pro-life movement. I love that he has embraced Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, Gospel of Life Ministries, the training of fellow priests, Alveda King and the National Black Pro-life Coalition, Bryan Kemper, Abby Johnson, etc. The man has done great good, and nobody can ever take that away from him.

Bishop Zurek has also supported his being in this ministry, and nobody should take that from him either.

This lashing out at the bishop is being watched by all of his brother bishops. I sincerely hope the shrill don’t really think that Father Pavone is worth the alienation, the impression that we’re a shadow church and that Father Pavone is our Pope. That’s a mighty big alienation of the bishops for one man.

It doesn’t do Father Pavone’s reputation a damned bit of good with the bishops, either. He looks like he has a rabid rabble for a following. It reflects poorly on him and on all of us.

The truth of the matter is that a leader inspires others to act. A good leader inspires others to act passionately. A great leader inspires others to act sacrificially, death to self.

What sort of leader does this invective make Father Pavone look like? If I were a bishop, looking at this invective, I’d be inclined to put him on ice for a few years.

The greatest testimony to a general is the ability of the army he has built to win the battle if he goes down in the line of fire. A great general builds an army that can act on its own in the heat of battle, adapt and overcome in the face of great challenge.

I think that’s the sort of movement that Father Pavone has created, one that can weather his absence as he tends to the relationship with his bishop.

It’s a very good, sensible post.  Read it all.


  1. Beautiful and well said Gerald, couldn’t agree more. I would even extend that to the other two “down” priests of the pro life movement, Father Eutaneur and Father Corapi. All have given us much, to which we owe great gratitude.

    All true leaders want their amy to “soilder on”, with or without them.

    God has his reasons for all that he allows, while the spirtual battle, but for the grace of God, will take down the entire army.

  2. So, in other words, is like Caesar saying to his general “fall on your sword for the good of the Empire”.

  3. Dr Nadal’s post is more like a dampening on the notion that the ends (ending abortion on demand) justifies any means. And yes, if Fr Pavone is an effective leader, it won’t matter one bit if he’s at the front lines, pointing at a battle map, or recalled to duty elsewhere.

  4. So very well done, thank you Dr. Nadal.

  5. Joan Chakonas says:

    Invective is never good, it’s clear evidence of Satanic involvement. Pray for peace and truth. I love the church.

  6. “If we can’t hear the Holy Spirit, perhaps we need to be still.”

    Beautiful. I’m going to put that where I can see it every day.

    God bless.

  7. A “fair and balanced” presentation of this painful issue. I read the whole post.

    Thanks, Gerard.

  8. Cautioning others about refraining from invective (which we should always refrain from) is not the same as saying we should sit silent and agree with everything Bishop Zurek does.

  9. Again, a call to be silent and offer full obedience to the Bishops. But where was this call when the left trashed Pope Paul VI after he issued Humane Vitae with the help of a Cardinal who would become Blessed Pope John Paul II? Where was the call to silence of dissent when Blessed Pope John Paul II released Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church) and is in our canon law which required that a theologian teaching in a Catholic university receive a mandatum from the local bishop showing the theologian’s intention to teach with the Church.
    And where is the Bishops showing their Ecclesiastical power when the priest heading Notre Dame ignored their letter specifically saying no political pro abortion speakers or honors to them? The local Bishop advised them not to invite Obama and was ignored and the same Caholic University has full out dissenting theologians without mandatum again ignored.

    Just a bit of balance by the liberals would be nice for a dramatic change. So to now cry out for us to remain silent while a respected priest who has done a great service for the Church when far too many bishops remain silent is one that will be ignored by many for very good reasons. The Bishops who allow Pelosi and Biden and others to continually flaunt the teaching of the Church and then be welcomed by the Bishops is not a way to bring about respect. Allowing dissent and disobedience for 40 years does not foster a flock willing to suddenly obey and follow. There are a handful of really great Bishops and Cardinals and most who attend church regularly know them by name. Most are milktoast leaders. I do not know this bishop nor have I heard his name starting any major pro life organziation to equal that of the priest he is trying to chastise. As far as I am concerned, his handling of the entire matter seems to be causing a lot of the problem with his letters out all over the country.

  10. After Jesus was found by His parents in the Temple, He returned with them to Their home. he did so obediently and without condition…and He was silent for 18 years.

  11. Deacon Greg Kandra says:


    Are you saying that the prominent writers and bloggers calling for Fr. Pavone to be quiet and obedient are liberals?

    People like Dr. Gerard Nadal, Dr. Ed Peters, Tom Peters, Judi Brown, Elizabeth Scalia and Diane Korzeniewski?

    Dcn. G.

  12. On the scale of what is most important while horrendous to God, as witnessed by both Mother Theresa and Blessed JPII, with the gravest of warnings for our own country and the world, I cannot but see the lives of the most vulnerable saved, mothers with suicidal guilt saved, abortionists converted, clinic workers converted, on and on, as far more weighted than some pseudo concerns (as have now been admitted to via rivisions of original public accusations against a brother priest) about Caesar’s filthy lucre, already accounted for anyway but apparently not acknowledged by the accuser of authority.

    If people have some definite knowledge of horrible personal unworthiness of a priest besides pop-shop psycho analysis of his “real” motivations for such selfless accumulated good fruit, then begin by giving some real evidence of your own measure of worthiness to even begin to judge. As this rather unusual article in the current gossip corners of, once again, “Catholic” elitist blogging central states, perhaps it’s time for the Bishop himself to become “transparent”:


    And his brother Bishops to whom his unsubstantiated claims have gone forth ought to demand it!!

  13. 10 SMS
    After Jesus was found by His parents in the Temple, He returned with them to Their home. he did so obediently and without condition…and He was silent for 18 years.

    So Jesus, at age 12, had other plans?? (a typical Jewish mother’s response!!)

    And He began His intense personal work at age 30. Fr. Frank began the work in question at age 34. Perhaps just following his most important example!

  14. Greta,

    I apologize for not being more vocal about obedience to Humanae Vitae in 1968. I was only 8 years old at the time.

    If I’m a liberal, I fear you have placed yourself somewhere to the right of Mussolini on the spectrum.

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