Troubles a brewing on the SS Newchurch (not to be confused with the Barque of Peter).
On Saturday, December 17, Catholic News Agency reported that the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, sent a letter and accompanying explanation to the U.S. Bishops informing them that Fr. Frank Pavone, Director of Priests for Life, has been laicized.
A scan of the letter, and an accompanying explanatory statement is available HERE.
Let’s break the Nuncio’s text down to see what we can discover.
- The Nuncio’s letter to the U.S. Bishops is dated more than a month after the decision was made to laicize Pavone.
Many have openly wondered why Rome would be so slow to inform the U.S. bishops of the decision. As I will explain, however, it is almost entirely certain that they, and Pavone, knew very shortly after the decision was made.
- One of the causes for Pavone’s laicization, according to Pierre, is “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
This indicates very plainly that Pavone’s bishop (presumably, but not certainly, Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo) brought the charges against him and initiated the proceedings. Therefore, one can be absolutely certain that this same bishop, at the very least, was informed as to the progress of the proceedings as they took place and, furthermore, was promptly informed of the decision once it was made.
Pavone has said that he first learned about his laicization when CNA contacted him. I find that exceedingly difficult to believe.
Think about it: Pavone’s bishop charged him with persistent disobedience, setting in motion canonical proceedings in Rome to address the matter. Ultimately, the judgment to laicize Pavone was rendered.
Are we to believe that the vindicated bishop wasn’t immediately informed by the Dicastery for Clergy that his disobedient priest is now a layman? The very notion is patently ridiculous. This isn’t 1905, folks, news doesn’t travel by steamship.
With that in mind, are we to believe that the bishop was informed but decided to sit on the news for over a month rather than serve notice (if not gloat) to this thorn in his side that his goose had been cooked, and by the pope no less? (More on that in a moment.)
While both far-fetched scenarios are technically possible, they are totally absurd.
Why then would Pavone insist that he had no idea that he had been laicized until contacted by CNA? I mean, surely he wouldn’t present himself to the world as a priest if he knew that he had been laicized, would he? (Wink.)
Common sense alone suggests that Pavone played stupid with CNA because he was still celebrating Mass (such as he does). In fact, he celebrated a streaming video Mass on the very day that they contacted him. You may view his December 17th Mass HERE.
If you follow the link, you will see that when Pavone offers his streaming Mass, he does not fail to leverage the opportunity to do a little fundraising, i.e., he uses the Holy Sacrifice of the Novus Ordo as a marketing tool for his multi-million-dollar non-Catholic organization (as in over $10 million in revenues per year).
You will also notice that he does not hesitate to use the so-called “Prayer of the Faithful” to campaign for Donald Trump. (Yea, that Donald Trump, the same guy who promised to defund Planned Parenthood but then signed into law multiple budgets granting the human slaughterhouse more tax dollars than ever before.)
Some are arguing that this – Pavone’s relationship with Trump – is the real high crime that led to his laicization, and that may be so.
On the Priests for Life website, visitors are informed that the outfit is “heavily dependent on private and public donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations.”
It’s not immediately clear exactly which public, foundational, or corporate entities fund PFL, but I think it’s fair to ask whether or not any funds, and how much, might be coming from entities related to the Trump campaign.
- According to their tax filings, PFL generated $10,547,640 in revenues in 2015, with net income of $20,035.
- In 2016, Pavone joined Donald Trump’s Catholic advisory council, formed to help the candidate secure more Catholic votes. PFL revenues for that year jumped over 25% to $13,257,247, while net income for the year skyrocketed to $443,548.
Revenues remained roughly the same in 2017, while income dropped substantially, apparently due to occupancy expenses related to a large real estate purchase.
In 2018, the last year for which tax returns are available, revenues settled back to 2015 levels, with net income spiking to over $600,000, mainly due to the total elimination of occupancy expenses thanks to the real estate purchase.
According to a PFL audit report, this purchase – PFL headquarters in Titusville, Florida – initially included a $1.45 million promissory note (presumably after down payment) that was paid in full in 2020, the same year in which PFL received a $443,837 “non-repayable loan” under the CARES Act.
It would be interesting to see if PFL revenues and income increased in 2019 and 2020 in step with Trump’s re-election efforts.
To be clear, this is merely speculation, but would anyone really be shocked if the Trump campaign apparatus and related outfits effectively purchased Pavone’s over-the-top loyalty and practical veneration?
One might ask the same about Taylor Marshall and Michael Matt, each of whom have publicly praised Trump in ways utterly incompatible with the traditional moral theological principles that guide the Catholic conscience in the matter of voting. [See HERE.]
In any case, Anthony Stine, on his YouTube channel, Return to Tradition, makes a compelling case that it was Pavone’s political activities that ultimately led to his laicization.
As it concerns the U.S. bishops, the decision to laicize Pavone was made on November 9, 2022. This was five days before the USCCB Plenary Assembly Meeting, which took place on November 14-17 in Baltimore. One can be rather certain that this news was made known to the bishops in their closed-door meetings, if not by Archbishop Pierre, then by Pavone’s ordinary.
It seems foolish to imagine otherwise. The much-discussed December 13th letter to the U.S. bishops appears mainly to be a formality, i.e., a formal notification with a correspondence number that documents, in writing, Pavone’s standing.
- Abp. Pierre makes a point of saying in his letter that this was a “a Supreme Decision admitting of no possibility of appeal.”
In other words, the decision to defrock Frank formally fell from Francis. Say that three time fast!
NB: The decision came from the man that Pavone and many other confused persons consider to be the Holy Roman Pontiff, “he who possesses the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church in those matters which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world.” (See Vatican I, First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ)
It is at once hilarious and sad to see so many self-identified “traditionalists” of the full communion kind squealing like stuck pigs over the “Supreme Decision” to laicize Pavone, some even sharing “I Stand with Fr. Pavone” memes on their social media.
I’ve even seen full communion canon lawyers citing the 1983 Conciliar Code of Canon Law as if to suggest that their pope overstepped his bounds. Truly, these people have no idea what a pope is.
Look at Pavone himself. I don’t believe for a New York second that he was unaware of his laicization until December 17. But even if that is so, he most certainly knows now, and what is he doing? He’s still presenting himself to the world as a priest.
In a written response to his laicization, Pavone addressed Archbishop Pierre, saying:
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.
Disjointed, yes, but the message is clear: Sure, the Holy Roman Pontiff, the Supreme Authority in the Church, may have spoken, but the People of God have rendered their own judgment. I’m going with that!
Folks, this episode is just the latest proof positive that the “full communion” crowd has no blessed idea what a pope is, either that, or they simply do not have the integrity to apply it to the present situation, meaning, the ecclesial crisis in general.
It is the height of irony that Pavone is being punished for blasphemy by the architect of the Pachamama fiasco. This is the same degenerate that authored the text of Amoris Laetitia wherein he accuses Almighty God of issuing a Divine Law that is too difficult to keep, and even alleges that He, at times, wills adultery.
Look, I am no fan of Frank Pavone; I think he’s a charlatan, but even so, I doubt that he can out-blasphemy Francis.
Speaking of Amoris Laetitia, aka Jorge’s Love Letter to Satan, Pavone gushed over it, calling it among other things “an encouraging roadmap for families,” and “a beautifully written pro-life affirmation of the Church’s wisdom … a reminder of her timeless instruction to families to live out their vocations but with a renewed focus to do so in love and mercy.”
As I wrote years ago and still believe, Amoris Laetitia is a great gift inasmuch as it provides clarity in a confusing age. Those clerics and others who claim to be faithful children of the Church and either praise the diabolical screed, or refuse to condemn it, are obvious frauds.
As for Frank Pavone and his supposed unwavering defense of human life, I’ve implored him (and other professional “pro-lifers”) numerous times to denounce the “consensus” position on abortion that is put forth by March for Life (and funded by the Knights of Columbus) – namely, that “abortion should only happen during the first three months of pregnancy” – and he steadfastly refuses.
Just this past week, Pavone tweeted: “What is more important than protecting unborn human life?” This, of course, is a rhetorical question. His groupies, many of whom are heretics, swiftly answered just as he wished: “Nothing!”
Once again, I implored Pavone to circle back and provide the real answer, the one that a priest above all should be willing to preach from the rooftops, namely, membership in the Holy Roman Catholic Church is more important. He refused, and shortly thereafter blocked me (because that’s what grown men do.)
Understand, however, that baptizing the nations and teaching them everything whatsoever that Our Lord commanded – in other words, bringing souls into the Barque of Peter that they may be saved – is not Pavone’s priority. As his dead baby on the altar stunt indicates, he worships the human embryo over and above Our Lord Jesus Christ.
As for his non-profit outfit, the statement from Archbishop Pierre is correct when it states, “Priests for Life, Inc. is not a Catholic organization.”
NB: The title “Priests” in this case is really just a clever marketing tool, one that is evidently effective in drawing Benjamins out of Catholic pockets.
As stated on its website:
Gospel of Life Ministries [a ministry of PFL] … brings out the fact that we are interdenominational, calling the entire Body of Christ to build the Culture of Life.
Get that? The heretics are members of the Body of Christ, and Pavone evidently has a special place in his heart, if not his fundraising efforts, for them.
Catholics, for example, do not always have to pray the rosary when at the abortion mill. The Psalms are just as Catholic as the rosary is, and Catholics should be perfectly comfortable praying them, along with their Protestant brothers and sisters.
Imagine, a priest encouraging Catholics to keep their rosaries in their pockets at certain “pro-life” demonstrations for fear of offending the heretics, even though there is no more powerful intercessor in the fight against abortion than the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Life!
Has it not occurred to Pavone that the witness of those Catholics praying the rosary might inspire conversions to the Catholic Church, the solitary Ark of Salvation?
Evidently not, then again, this is how a man with a priestly vocation thinks.
An FAQ on the PFL website reads:
Priests for Life is for everyone who wants to stop abortion. We work with clergy, laity, Catholics, Christians of any denomination, people of any other religion, and even people who have no faith at all. We are simply trying to stop the killing of babies by abortion, and therefore collaborate with everyone who wants to help to do that.
Look, there is nothing inherently wrong with collaborating with heathens and heretics in an effort to protect the unborn, but this isn’t “a vocation” as understood in the Catholic sense, like the priesthood. Pavone, however, insists that it is.
In other words, he’s a “priest,” but on his terms, as he conceives of such things, even if it means thumbing his nose at the man he calls pope.
So, tell me, why is this outfit called “Priests” for Life, and why does Frank Pavone refuse to let go of the title?