In an unprecedented move the Vatican has expelled Fr. Frank Pavone from the priesthood apparently for social media posts criticizing President Joe Biden and his supporters for their sinful support and advocacy of killing babies through abortion.
According to reports in the UK’s Daily Mail Fr. Pavone, the Catholic priest who served as national co-chair of ProLife Voices for Trump, has been expelled from the priesthood by the Vatican for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience” of the diocese.
The Daily Mail reported Fr. Pavone was dismissed by the Rome-based Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy on November 9, and the decision was shared with all US clergy on December 13.
We call Fr. Pavone’s dismissal unprecedented because we could find no other example of a priest being expelled from the priesthood for a social media post – particularly one that appeared to reenforce church teachings on the sanctity of life and the sinfulness of abortion.
Fr. Pavone has long used his social media platforms to advocate for Trump and denounce the Democratic Party for its advocacy of abortion up until the moment of birth, in particular on Twitter.
One of the final straws for the church hierarchy may have been when Fr. Pavone said he would hear the confession of Catholic Democrats but could not forgive them for their “sin” of voting for Biden.
“We are trained that in the absence of repentance, absolution has to be withheld,” Pavone said.
That is an inconvenient statement for those in the Vatican and those in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who wish to turn a blind eye to alleged Catholics in positions of power, such as President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who use their power to promote the sin of abortion.
And the shock at Fr. Pavone’s dismissal from the priesthood was not limited to politically active Catholic lay men and women.
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland, the Bishop of Tyler, Texas expressed his shock at Fr. Pavone’s dismissal in a tweet:
In a defiant statement addressed to Church leaders and posted on his organization’s website Saturday, Pavone vowed to continue his ministry despite his dismissal from the clerical state.
“It’s about the millions of supporters of the movement I help to lead and will continue to lead,” he wrote according to a report by catholicnewsagency.com, adding that he would respond by taking “all appropriate canonical and civil action as well as public communications to the Faithful.”
Addressing Pope Francis, Pavone wrote: “Your Holiness, I want to continue serving as a faithful priest and full-time pro-life leader. You can allow me to do so under a supportive bishop, and many of the faithful understand that this is the most reasonable solution.”
To Archbishop Pierre, the apostolic nuncio, he wrote: “Your Excellency, your communication to the bishops dated December 13th contains serious errors and omissions. But that has marked this process all along, so there is no surprise there, and those errors will be addressed separately and thoroughly.
“But in particular, when you say there is ‘no possibility of appeal’ to this decision, you speak only in a very narrow legal sense, and completely ignore the appeal that is being made to the People of God themselves. This is not just about me; it’s about the millions of supporters of the movement I help to lead and will continue to lead, and of the work that the People of God have already evaluated and judged worthy of their ongoing support,” Pavone wrote.
The statement dismissing Fr. Pavone indicated that Pavone has been dismissed from the clerical state for among other alleged offenses “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop,” the Catholic News Agency reported, but it was not clear from the public communication which “diocesan bishop” Pavone had disobeyed or when the final act of disobedience had occurred.
Fr. Frank Pavone was ordained in 1988 by the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor of New York who encouraged his pro-life work. Fr. Pavone was incardinated in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas in 2005 and has long clashed with Bishop Patrick James Zurek, who became Bishop of Amarillo in 2008. Pavone hosted the show “Defending Life” on EWTN for many years until Bishop Zurek revoked his permission to appear on the network.
We encourage all those who love and support Fr. Frank Pavone to pray for him to be protected from his enemies and for God to give him the strength and wisdom to navigate this difficult situation in a way that allows him to continue his ministry defending the unborn.
Priests for Life
Fr. Frank Pavone
blasphemous communications on social media
Bishop Joseph E. Strickland
Bishop Patrick James Zurek