As you might have read from Mary Pezzulo, Mark Shea, or Matthew Tyson, Fr. Frank Pavone put the remains of an aborted child on an altar, filmed a video, and posted a still shot at Priests for Life for the purpose, so he said, of defeating Hillary Clinton and electing Donald Trump. I am not going to link to the Facebook post; you can go find it if you are so inclined (graphic image warning). But that is what he said:
I am showing [this dead child] to you because in this election we have to decide whether we will allow this child killing to continue or not. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform says yes … Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no.
So Fr. Pavone makes no secret that he put that dead child up on the altar and filmed him and plastered a still on Facebook in order to lobby for a particular presidential candidate.
Is that what the altar of sacrifice in a Catholic Church is for?
No. Says Canon 1239:
An altar, whether fixed or movable, is to be reserved for divine worship alone, to the exclusion of any secular usage.
The altar is intended for a sacramental purpose, as the place where the priest celebrates Mass.
I am going to be, excuse the pun, frank: What Fr. Pavone did was a sacrilege. It is a violation of canon law, which states that the altar is consecrated for one purpose and one purpose only. It is consecrated for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, not so that a dead child can be placed there as part of a political stunt to lobby for a favored presidential candidate.
More than that, what Fr. Pavone did is the opposite of pro-life. Being pro-life is about respecting the dignity of the human person. It is the antithesis of respect for the dignity of the human person to use a dead child as a political prop to lobby for your presidential candidate the day before an election. This does no honor to the dead.
In consequence, Fr. Pavone’s ordinary should suspend his faculties–at least his faculty to celebrate Mass. There is no other way to put it than that this is a sacrilege and a scandal. The human person is not a prop for a political stunt. This is an offense to the purpose for which priests are ordained to use the altar.
You can contact the Diocese of Amarillo at 806-383-2243.
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