Anti-abortion priest Pavone defrocked for blasphemous posts

Dec 17, 2022, 3:39 PM | Updated: Dec 18, 2022, 3:18 pm
FILE - Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, gives the Homily during a mass at Ave Maria Universi...

FILE - Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, gives the Homily during a mass at Ave Maria University's Oratory in Naples, Fla., on March 31, 2009 to recognize the fourth anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death. The Vatican has defrocked an anti-abortion U.S. priest, Frank Pavone, for what it said were “blasphemous communications on social media” as well as “persistent disobedience” of his bishop. A letter to U.S. bishops from the Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, obtained Sunday Dec. 18, 2022, said the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, had been taken Nov. 9, and that there was no chance for an appeal. (Greg Kahn/Naples Daily News via AP, File)

(Greg Kahn/Naples Daily News via AP, File)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican has defrocked an anti-abortion U.S. priest, Frank Pavone, for what it said were “blasphemous communications on social media” as well as “persistent disobedience” of his bishop who repeatedly told him to stop his partisan activism for Donald Trump.

A letter to U.S. bishops from the Vatican ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, obtained Sunday, said that the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, had been taken Nov. 9, and that there was no chance for an appeal.

Pavone has been in conflict with the bishop of Amarillo, Texas, for over a decade over his pro-life and partisan political activities that came to a head in 2016 when he put an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a video of it on two social media sites. The video was accompanied by a post saying that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform would allow abortion to continue and that Trump and the Republican platform wanted to protect unborn children.

Even before then, Pavone successfully appealed 2011 restrictions on his ministry that Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek had placed on him.

Pavone remained a firm supporter of Trump and in 2020 disputed the outcome of the election won by Joe Biden. Ahead of the election, the Amarillo diocese denounced Pavone’s use of social media for political ends, distanced the diocese from him and said his positions weren’t consistent with Catholic teaching.

Pavone relocated from Amarillo and was allowed to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado. His Twitter handle still features him wearing a “MAGA” hat with a background photo of former President Trump, who is praised by many conservatives for his Supreme Court nominees who helped overturn the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.

In a tweet Sunday, Pavone sounded defiant, comparing his fate to that of the unborn.

“So in every profession, including the priesthood, if you defend the #unborn, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we are ‘aborted,’ we continue to speak, loud and clear.”

He later appeared in a social media video wearing a black leather biker jacket over his priestly collar against a faux backdrop of St. Peter’s Basilica vowing that the anti-abortion “war” would continue and denouncing the “cancel culture” of the church that he said had persecuted him for decades.

In a statement on his Priest For Life website, he said that his laicization was “the result of an abusive process” and that he was considering unspecified legal action against unnamed U.S. bishops.

His supporters immediately denounced the defrocking, including the bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, who referred to U.S. President Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights as “evil.”

“The blasphemy is that this holy priest is canceled while an evil president promotes the denial of truth & the murder of the unborn at every turn, Vatican officials promote immorality & denial of the deposit of faith & priests promote gender confusion devastating lives…evil,” Strickland tweeted.

In his letter, Pierre cited information from the Congregation for Clergy that Pavone had been laicized — he can no longer present himself as a priest — after being found guilty in a canonical proceeding “of blasphemous communications on social media and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” The letter was first reported by Catholic News Agency.

The statement said Pavone was given “ample opportunity to defend himself” as well as to submit to his bishop. “It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions.”

The statement concluded that since Priests for Life is not a Catholic organization, it would be up to the group to determine whether he could continue his role “as a lay person.”

Laicization, or being reduced to the lay state, is one of the harshest sanctions in the church’s canon law for priests.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022, a...
Associated Press

News groups ask Idaho Supreme Court to reject University slayer gag order

Thirty news organizations have asked the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a gag order in a case against a man accused of stabbing four students to death.
18 hours ago
Nathan Chasing Horse stands in court. Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nathan Chasing...
Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor charged in 2018 rape in PNW

Canadian police confirmed Tuesday they are pursuing a criminal case against a former "Dances With Wolves" actor who was arrested last week and charged in Nevada with sexually abusing and trafficking Indigenous women and girls.
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Court upholds Wash. residency requirement for pot industry

SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge has upheld Washington’s residency requirement for involvement in the state’s legal cannabis industry — a decision at odds with a federal appeals court ruling concerning a similar requirement in Maine. A man who co-owns a chain of Washington cannabis stores called Zips, Scott Atkinson, wanted to transfer part of […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A sign at Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Dec. 8, 2022. Many Twitter users f...
Associated Press

Twitter scrambles to fix meltdown as many unable to tweet

Many Twitter users found themselves unable to tweet, follow accounts or access their direct messages on Wednesday as the Elon Musk-owned platform experienced a slew of widespread technical problems. “Twitter may not be working as expected for some of you. Sorry for the trouble. We’re aware and working to get this fixed,” the company tweeted […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

California health program successfully cut hospital visits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A five-year experiment aimed at improving care for some of California’s most at-risk Medicaid patients — including the homeless and those with severe drug addictions — resulted in fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits that saved taxpayers an estimated $383 per patient per year, according to a review released Wednesday. The […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

California health program successfully cut hospital visits

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A five-year experiment aimed at improving care for some of California’s most at-risk Medicaid patients — including the homeless and those with severe drug addictions — resulted in fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits that saved taxpayers an estimated $383 per patient per year, according to a review released Wednesday. The […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Anti-abortion priest Pavone defrocked for blasphemous posts