Priest for Life Now International Association – UPDATED

I’m not sure what any of this means in light of today’s breaking news, but apparently, as of yesterday Priests for Life is an International Association

The Pastoral Team of Priests for Life announced today that it has formed an International Private Association of the Faithful called the Gospel of Life Association. Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, explained, “Priests for Life has for some time now been a family of ministries. As we have grown and diversified, the work of these ministries has also increasingly become international. Twenty years ago, Priests for Life was established as a Private Association here in the United States. Now we felt it was appropriate to establish the same kind of association internationally, and to have our various branch ministries formally ratify their intent to be such an association.”

The benefit of an association is that the groups work with a more deliberate emphasis on the fact that pro-life is a spirituality, not simply a cause. The Association is guided by special bylaws that express the cohesion of the ministries as a family of believers.

Actually, I think I knew this was about to happen — I think something may have buzzed by me and I missed it. More here.

Check back for more, as it breaks. Increasingly, I’m thinking the whole story is an administrative hullabaloo.

UPDATE I: Diane at Te-Deum Blog has some excellent advice for keeping perspective on this developing story.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • aimee

    I’m sorry that we have yet another scandal to deal with, or at least a perceived scandal. And I’m disappointed in Fr. Pavone for contributing to the appearance of scandal, by making a public statement and immediately appealing to Rome. Are there no priests in the public eye with the humility to simply obey their bishop, regardless of the cost? It really troubles me, as this is not the example required by Christ or set by the saints.

  • Maureen

    Publicly making it known that your financial records are clear is a matter of reassuring pro-life people that that haven’t been used by a conman. That’s hardly making a scandal; it’s more of a fiduciary duty to all your associates.

    If you’re just one person, like a hermit or someone unpopular, you can glory in the martyrdom of unjust accusation. But if you’re in an organization, it’s not fair to let them think their good works and trust have been misdirected. It harms them and lies to them.

    If you’re not willing to go to prison as an innocent person for stealing your family’s savings and your employer’s profits, never telling the district attorney any of the exonerating evidence and leaving your husband and children desolate and your grandkids destined to take drugs to cover up their sorrow, don’t go expecting every priest on the planet to follow the example of St. Gerard Majella. He had a special charism. There were plenty of saints who fought unjust accusations and proved themselves innocent, often in defense of their ministries.

    If St. Vincent de Paul hadn’t spoken up in his own defense, he never would have become a priest! (He pointed out that it wasn’t his fault he didn’t report back to the seminary, because he’d been kidnapped to North Africa by Muslim pirates and made a slave. Best excuse note ever.)

    Anyway, we don’t know anything, so we’re not in any position to judge. We’ll find out eventually.

  • tempus fugit

    I wonder if the current administration in Washington is leaning on the church to curtail their pro-life activities. their record on baby killing is by far the most radical since Herod.

  • Agnes

    To call a man back to your diocese because you say he is supposedly disobedient and when he does show up you yourself disappear because you don’t want to face him and therefore fly out to Brazil on the same day you told that man to show up simply confuses me!

    This is exactly what Bishop Zurek has done. He has publicly defamed Fr Pavone by not just insinuating it but stated it as unfounded fact that he supposedly has been mismanaging and hiding the financial funds of Priests For Life and that Fr Pavone was very disobedient by not going to Amarillo to see him.

    From what I gathered thru my research, the financial records of Priests For Life has always been made public. So how is it that Fr Frank Pavone is hiding these financial documents when it is available to anyone?

    Second, it also seems that whenever bishop Zurek calls Fr Frank to see him in Amarillo Fr Frank is always flying back to see him. How does this make him disobedient?

    The most mind boggling of them all is that Bishop Zurek is no where to be found on the same day he ordered Fr Pavone back to Amarillo?

    Where is he? Well, bishop Zurek is in Brazil! He also cannot be contacted, cannot be reached and cannot be spoken to.

    Fr Frank is in Amarillo to see the bishop as called and ordered. HE IS NOT HIDING.

    Fr Frank and Priests For Life’ finances are and have always been open to the public. THAT IS NOT IN HIDING.

    But bishop Zurek is in Brazil and cannot be reached and cannot be found. BISHOP ZUREK IS THE ONE HIDING.

    Bishop Zurek, where are you and who are you with? What is so special about Brazil or should I say Rio de Janeiro?

    Which politician or politicians fattened your own wallet to fund your trip so you can publicly defame and attempt to bring down a very powerful figure head in the pro life movement and surprise surprise just when elections are around the corner you pull a stunt like this

    Bishop Zurek, You may be the ordinary of Fr Frank in this earth … But on the day of judgement … Who is the one you answer to … And what will you explain to him?


    Remember, folks: Bishop Zurek made his statements in a notice to other bishops, not publically. How did the letter become public? Also, Bishop Zurek had his trip planned for some time, so cut him a little slack here!

  • Greta

    It is crazy to have an organization like this coming under one bishop. it has been a national organization for years and should have come under Rome.

    The PFL has been one of the most positive organizations within the Church on this critical issue of life. If one looks back a few years, Father Pavone went to this dioceses based on the understanding he could operate this organization freely. Now a change of Bishops and there is again this struggle for control. I do not know Bishop Zurek from adam, but I do know Father Pavone as he has stayed at our home on several occasions and we have assisted him in his ministry wherever possible. I know of no priest who has worked longer or harder to end the holocaust of abortion which has taken the lives of 54 million human beings. Where was Bishop Zurek during the holocaust and what has he done to end it on a personal basis? Not saying he has not done so, only that his name does not come up under pro life search until now.

    I suspect this may get changed by Rome fairly rapidly. Now is not the time to create issues with this pro life group. If anything, they should be given more support and more freedom to try to stop this culture of death. After all, in about a year we will have another chance to remove the most pro abortion president from America’s history from keeping power. with 4000 a day being killed, and probably several supreme court nominations coming soon, to fail in removing this abortion loving president is a real tragedy.

  • Amy

    In most the comments I read yesterday I was relatively impressed by how Fr. Pavone’s ‘fans’ were dealing with things (as opposed to how many LC/RC people reacted to accusations against Maciel and Corapi fans reacted earlier this year), but I see that tide is changing.

    I don’t know about others, but when fans start accusing bishops of jealousy and cowardice and pretending *insert celebrity priest here* is irreplacable and the only one doing good work, etc. It makes me think less of the celebrity priest, not more.

  • Rey Andrada

    It is interesting to note that Bishop Zurek Amarillo Texas Diocese is subscribed to materials from Renew International which I believe cost millions of dollars. This program from Renew International is rated yellow which means caution as far as fidelity by Catholic Culture

    Renew international was started by people from Call to Action. That means in my opinion this Bishop is not entirely ORTHODOX.

  • Simon

    What do we know about Zurek? Is he one of Bernardin’s boys?

  • jkm

    Oh for heaven’s sake. Do none of you trust the Shepherd who appointed Bp Zurek to oversee the Diocese of Amarillo? Or does the Holy Father register a yellow on the orthodoxy meter, too? I imagine Jesus would have blown all the circuits!


    Bishop Pat Zurek has spent most of his ministry as priest and bishop in Texas with many years in the Diocese of San Antonio. He spent about ten years as auxiliary bishop there and was assigned/deployed to the Diocese of Amarillo several years ago.

    He has encouraged Renew, which is ongoing, as well as “That Man is You”, a men’s program out of Houston. He has strongly supported the pro-life cause in Amarillo; specifically, joining those who pray the rosary Saturday mornings across from a former planned parenthood clinic that refers out for, but does not do, abortions. I have heard him speak several times at our yearly pro-life banquet and am impressed with his deep feelings on this issue.

    On this current difficulty, time will tell!

  • Don

    I hope all of Bishop Zurek’s priests are obedient when it comes to saying the words of consecration and pronouncing the words of absolution. There are plenty of priests who are disobedient on that score (check in the Dioceses of Richmond, Viriginia, and Davenport, Iowa, for a start). I’m really not a follower of Father Pavone. But I am a member of the Roman Catholic Church, which makes it a practice of not disciplining most priests (oh yeah, check out the country of Austria too, on that score). Cheers from Don

  • kris

    All powers seem to be coming against pro-lifers:

    “Pro-life activist continues to pamphleteer outside Planned Parenthood despite DOJ lawsuit”

    Read more:

    Who will stand with the babies and if not permitted will God’s justice come even more swiftly? Blood cries out for justice.

  • Rey Andrada

    The problem is when a Bishop supports a very Catholic endeavor like fight for abortion and at the same time support a cause that is not entirely orthodox like the one that comes from Renew International. You really don’t know where he is, is that the fault of the Pope ? Of course not, it is this Bishops fault.

    This Bishop is sending mix signal thats why people like me become confuse. I am hoping that Bishops will stop using and promoting materials that are questionable and who will correct them if they do ?

  • kris

    At least thoughtfulness and common sense still prevails in some corners:

    You don’t put forth an undocumented accusation in such a climate of knee jerk “scandal” response and expect somehow to be interpreted as serving the unity of the Church and the confidence of the faithful.