Joan Frawley Desmond does her usual sterling job of reporting on it, while the comboxes are… unedifying.
Dr. Gerard Nadal brings joy to my heart in various ways. First, he offers a sane reply to some crazy new site called “Free Fr. Pavone”, by pointing out that Fr. Pavone is not imprisoned, that the priesthood is not a prison, and that lashing out at bishops with baseless invective, loony conspiracy theories and nasty accusations (on one site, I was seeing paranoids who were pretty certain that EWTN is conspiring with them damned librul bishops to destroy conservative folk hero priests in order to clear the field for the re-election of Obama) does not help Fr. Pavone, to put it mildly. So, for instance, this foolish display of the Catholic conservative circular firing squad is ill-advised to stop its prolife activity in order to start picketing Catholic parishes in Amarillo. Ed Peters puts it succinctly, “This is plain nuttiness.” Update: Peters reports: “It appears that Fr. Pavone is, after all, connected to CBR. Pavone sits (sat?) on CBR’s Board of Directors. It is now incumbent on him (or better, his counsel) to separate himself from CBR’s plans.”
I was also greatly heartened to hear that I am apparently so beyond the pale that paranoid conspiracy theorists have written me off because I was not included in the spam announcing the birth of “Free Fr. Pavone”. This fills me with unspeakable joy. Since I know no more about the facts of the case then I did yesterday–a truth which applies to every fanatical partisan on both sides of the question–I continue to do what every sensible Catholic should do: defer to the bishop’s rightful authority, let the facts emerge from the investigation (and the appeal to Rome) and let the chips fall where they may. The reflexive, kneejerk tendency of alleged “faithful” Catholic to perpetually assume that every American bishop is a fifth columnist working to destroy the Church is foreign to the mind of Christ.
Finally, the good cop/bad cop scenario being concocted by some of Fr. Pavone’s crazier defenders in order to pit former bishop Yanta against current bishop Zurek is not rooted in reality. Yes, Good Bishop Yanta welcomed Fr. Pavone to Amarillo and supported his ministry. So has Good Bishop Zurek. However, there is a testimony from a former PFL worker from 2006 that bears reading. It gives some insight into the kind of pastoral issues that both Bishop Yanta, and Bishop Zurek are concerned about. The former PFL worker compares and contrasts the work of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants under Msgr. Reilly to what was experienced at PFL. This doesn’t mean that Fr. Frank is involved with anything immoral, but merely reveals the possibility that Bp Zurek has legitimate pastoral concerns.
And, yes – I said that his challenges began under Bishop Yanta. The very man who welcomed him and permitted him to initially erect the MEV some years ago, is the same bishop who put the kabosh to the fledgling religious community. It was challenged all the way up to the Signatura, which upheld Bishop Yanta’s position. Now, people blame Bishop Zurek, even for that.
As I told a reader, I think when things shake out it will be the case that both sides on this controversy are partly right and partly wrong. Meanwhile, we pray and let the competent authorities do their jobs.