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Father Frank Pavone Responds To Bishop’s Charges

September 14, 2011

Has Father Frank just gotten under one too many clerical and political skins?

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests For Life since 1993, has been “suspended” from his pro-life ministry and ordered back to the Diocese of Amarillo, TX.

In a letter to fellow bishops, Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo cited “deep concerns regarding his stewardship of the finances of the Priests for Life organization”. Bishop Zurek further claimed that Father Pavone has shown “incorrigible defiance of my legitimate authority as his Bishop.”

Father Frank? No one in the pro-life community is buying it at this point, especially when the charges are related to Priests For Life, which Father Frank Pavone has developed into one of the most prominent, most effective pro-life organizations in the world.

Father Frank wasted no time in responding to the charges and filing an appeal to the Vatican.

Bishop Zurek’s letter stated that Father Pavone has failed to respond to the Bishop’s persistent questions about the financial affairs of Priests For Life and has “refused to subject the Priests For Life to a transparent and complete auditing of all expenditures.”

Simply not true says Father Frank in a statement published on the Priests For Life website in which he contends that “Priests for Life has consistently provided every financial document requested by Bishop Zurek, including annual financial audits, quarterly reports, management documents–even entire check registers … Priests for Life has been completely transparent with Bishop Zurek and any other bishops who have requested information regarding our management and finances”.

And in the following interview, Father Frank points to ten years of independent audits and full compliance in responding to any inquiries from Bishop Zurek.

The seminary discussed in the interview refers to Father Frank’s attempt to establish an order of priests dedicated to the pro-life cause. As far as we can tell, however, the failed seminary was not mentioned in Bishop Zurek’s letter.

Regarding his appeal to Vatican, Father Frank wrote “In the interest of preserving my good reputation as well as protecting the valuable work done by the Priests for Life organization, I have begun a process of appeal to the Vatican. This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life. We are very confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion. Because of this confidence, we are not currently making any changes in any positions at Priests for Life, or in any of our projects and plans.”

“Because I have begun this process of appeal to Rome, the Bishop’s order that I return to Amarillo has been effectively suspended, nevertheless, because of my great respect for this Bishop and my commitment to be fully obedient at all times, I am reporting to Amarillo this Tuesday, in hopes that I can sort this problem out with the Bishop in a mutually agreeable and amicable way.”

Canon Law regarding a Bishop’s authority over his priests is pretty straight forward – the Bishop’s word is the law. And Canon Law expert Edward Peters asserts that though Father Frank has the right to appeal his removal from Priests For Life, Bishop Zurek has full authority to order Father Frank back to the Diocese Of Amarillo full time, any time.

And how effectively can Father Frank lead Priests For Life from within the Diocese Of Amarillo? Which leads to the question in the mind of every committed pro-life Catholic.

Is the allegation of financial mismanagement at Priests For Life a smokescreen for reigning in Father Frank Pavone’s “aggressive” commitment to ending abortion in America, as Father Frank seems to allude to in the beginning of the video interview? It’s certainly possible. Father Frank doesn’t tread lightly in his ministry for life and has gotten under more than a few prominent clerical and political skins. As more priests and ministers should.

Misunderstanding and reinstatement is the best we can hope and pray for. Anything else, either way, will be a grave setback for America’s unborn.

Category: Father Frank Pavone

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3 Responses to “Father Frank Pavone Responds To Bishop’s Charges”

  1. Vern J. Simon Says:
    September 22nd, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Father Provone is the most ourstanding prolife
    advocates in our Church and a great example for Clergy at all levels. How can this Bishop demean him nationally to the thrill and gain of all abortions facilities and advocates. Satin is
    certainly at work both in and out of Church. The
    time is long overdue for our Clergy at all levels to speak often and openly about abortion, pro-life and all related issues. It must start with
    our Bishops and as obviously Bishop Zurek has failed to do. May God continue to bless Father
    Provone and his most sacred and invaluable work.

  2. Jane B Says:
    November 15th, 2011 at 11:52 am

    Bishop Zurek, wake up. His finances are cleared, what’s the problem? What is more important than a human life? Did the Bishop ever watch an abortion?

    Father, my Prayers and deepest respect for you, your calling and your love for God’s children are with you

  3. Radiant Cross Right To Life Says:
    November 20th, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for the comment Jane. It’s hard to know what’s going on with Bishop Zurek. Considering Father Frank’s tremendous success in building PFL into the most formidable faith based pro-life organization in the world, the number of lives he has certainly saved through his ministry, and his popularity in the pro-life community, it would seem extremely unlikely that Bishop Zurek would have gone this far without some concrete evidence of malfeasance. Yet anything we have seen so far points to the contrary.

    Father Frank’s conduct has been an impeccable example of priestly obedience and one has to admire his moderating comments, his discouraging of protests to Bishop Zurek’ office, and attempts, for his part at least, to settle whatever problems exist in private.

    With Bishop Zurek’s refusal to let Father Frank attend last week’s International Pro-Life Youth Conference in LA, it would seem that Bishop Zurek doesn’t understand the negative effect that keeping Father Frank in limbo may be having on the overall pro-life effort

    As you say, what could be more important than working to save the lives of the 3,500 – 4,000 baby girls and boys lost each day to America’s abortion clinics

    God’s Blessings

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