This goes out to all the people who assume that any remark in support of Br. Zurek’s reining in of Fr. Pavone can only be due to hatred of babies, or to anybody who says that Fr. Pavone will, alone, end abortion, or to any who say that abortion is the most important thing in the world.
I bear Fr. Pavone no ill will. I hope that, under God, he continues his work for the prolife movement. He’s a hugely important figure and a valuable co-belligerent in the most important question of our civil life.
But (and this was the entirety of Bp Zurek’s point) he is a priest first. It was vital that he take that fact seriously. So Zurek *ordered* him to be a priest first. To Fr. Pavone’s great credit he obeyed. The obedience had rough spots, which I criticized. He was out of line to conduct a media guerilla campaign against his bishop, and his fanbase was way the hell out of line to accuse the bishop of serving the devil, etc. It was and remains vital that a priest recognized that nothing is more important than his priesthood and that nothing, not even the prolife movement, comes before the Eternal Life Movement that is the Church.
But it’s also quite obvious that Bp. Zurek is himself prolife (duh) and that his goal was not to shut down the prolife movement but to get Fr. Pavone’s priorities straight. As those become straight, he appears to be loosening the leash so that, seeking first the kingdom, Fr. Pavone may have his prolife duties added as well.
A number of my readers still seem not to grasp this, and so still talk as though any criticism of Fr. Pavone and any support of his bishop constitutes hatred of babies and enmity to Fr. Pavone. I urge a careful reading of the link I provide.