by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2008
Amarillo, TX (LifeNews.com) — A pro-life bishop who was one of the more outspoken pro-life leaders within the Catholic Church has retired after reaching the standard retirement age of 75. Bishop John Yanta of Amarillo, Texas stayed on since his birthday in October at the request of the Vatican and is now stepping down.
Yanta was instrumental in helping to establish a new pro-life community for pro-life seminarians called the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.
"This is a historic day," the Bishop commented at the time, "and only God knows how significant it will prove to be for the pro-life movement in this country and around the world."
Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, became the first member of the new community and began receiving lay members and priest associates.
Pavone said the community will be helpful for those lay people and seminarians who want to work in the pro-life movement full-time. They will receive training and pro-life education from Pavone and Priests for Life and plugged into the pro-life community in various capacities.
"I am grateful to Bishop Yanta for allowing me the opportunity to make this dream a reality," Fr. Pavone told LifeNews.com at the time.
“I am excited about supporting Fr. Pavone in venturing forth, with and through the Holy Spirit, in the establishment of a Society of Apostolic Life for priests and seminarians dedicated to pro-life ministry — an immense need at this time in history," Bishop Yanta said.
Yanta provided Pavone with several vacant buildings that once served as a Christian Brothers high school.
He was among those Catholic bishops who believed that pro-abortion Catholic politicians should not be eligible to receive communion because of their disagreement with prominent teachings of the church.
Yanta wrote a column in the West Texas Catholic newspaper saying Catholic politicians who continue to support abortion after discussing the issue with clergy should be denied communion.
The pro-life leader will be replaced by Patrick Zurek who has been the Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio for ten years.