Just a refresher

on prolife idolatry.

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.

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  • Sam Wood

    Ah…I love the fresh air of reasoned discourse! I have always had this inkling that the Pro-life movement supplants the first priority of Christians to proclaim the Gospel with political advocacy for the unborn. I’m in favor of defending the defenseless. But, how often are we demanding unconverted pagans to act with the fruits of the Spirit, and that includes those who call themselves “Christian”? How else do you transform a sex-saturated society bent on removing guilt and consequences of unbridled sexual activity: by electing a president who will put in a Catholic supreme court justice who will tip the scales and reverse Roe v. Wade? Something is askew, and you Mark, have hit upon it. Thank you.

  • rita

    I am a great admirer of Father Pavone, but could not agree more with your assessment.
    It appears any time we see a wonderful priest fall it begins with pride. I pray we do not see this with Father and he continues in his willingness to honor the promise he made his bishop on the day of ordination.

  • Spastic Hedgehog

    Why do you hate kittens so much, Mark?

    • Mark Shea

      I hate them for their freedom.

    • Linebyline

      Because they’re enemy spies. They get into your household by being all cute and fluffy, but then they grow up to be all aloof and cruel and then they usurp you by…

      I mean, I for one welcome our feline overlords and their keyloggers. Meow!

  • Mario Mirarchi

    This one of your best posts that I have read. What Fr. Pavone’s supporters fail to consider is that Bishop Zurek, having seen what to the various celebrity priests of the past several years, exercised proper leadership to look after Fr. Pavone’s spiritual well-being.

  • Ted Seeber

    When I was a child all of my theology came from the Catholic Charismatic Movement as imparted in Songs. My autistic brain means I remember the lyrics even though ever since puberty I haven’t been able to reproduce the CD-perfect pitch I hear in my brain (one of the more irritating things about autism for me).

    Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,
    And His Righteousness,
    And all these things shall be added unto you,
    Allelu, Alleluia.

  • Observer

    When the pro-liifee movment becomes a vice to ministering Christ’s presence, then you have a problem. Nothing in defense of the defenseless (especially unborn) constitues being an obstacle nor in any way drawing a priest from acting in persona Christi. What you have, then, working as an obstruction of justice, is confusion and intentional breakdown of defending the dignity of a person’s livelyhood from Christ saving power of mercy and grace restoring a soul’s rightful place as the image and likeness of God.

    • Ted Seeber

      “Nothing in defense of the defenseless (especially unborn) constitues being an obstacle nor in any way drawing a priest from acting in persona Christi.”

      How about when an out of town conference or speech keeps him away from his parish on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation? I can think of many other such pro-life activities that one simply can’t do if one is in persona Christi.