In a new interview, Father Frank Pavone says he will continue fighting to retain his priesthood, saying that the next leader of the Catholic Church could reinstate him.
Pavone says he will not be canceled and will keep fighting to protect babies from abortions. This come after millions of pro-life advocates were outraged over the weekend to learn of the Vatican’s decision to dismiss Father Frank Pavone.
Pavone says he still hasn’t officially been informed by the Vatican of his dismissal despite a November letter circulating online confirming it. He also says that, even if he is officially dismissed from the priesthood, the next Pope can reinstate him.
“This idea that any of this is permanent in terms of dismissal from the priesthood is simply incorrect, because we’re going to continue,” Pavone, the national director of the pro-life organization Priests for Life, said in a Dec. 19 interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network posted on YouTube.
“Then there will be a next pope, and the next pope can reinstate me,” he said.
In the interview, Pavone claimed the bishop of the Diocese of Amarillo has been persecuting him over his pro-life ministry and the political aspects of it.
Pavone also claims that his removal from the priesthood stems from a yearslong effort by Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek and others in the Catholic hierarchy to discredit and silence him.
In his interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Pavone called Zurek “one of the ringleaders in all of this.”
“The process has been a one-sided narrative,” he told CBN. “It’s a one-sided effort to just cancel out what we are trying to do.”
On twitter, Pavone said he would continue leading Priests for Life and not back down from his pro-life mission.
“Thanks for the outpouring of support for me & Priests For Life! My board, pastoral team & staff are 1000% united with me in moving forward with our work. We will not slow down. My vocation is to be a priest and a #prolife leader and I will not walk away from either one of those!” he said.
Meanwhile, a Priests for Life representative told Catholic News Agency that Pavone and his canonical team had been working with the Diocese of Amarillo to keep his priesthood and move to another diocese that would support his full-time pro-life work.
“His canonical team was involved in trying to resolve this situation and to fight back against the ongoing persecution of Father Frank from his bishop,” the spokeswoman said. “The canonical team also was working on Father Frank’s attempt to be incardinated into another diocese. Our canonical team is not at liberty to discuss these subjects now, and we are not releasing the name of the bishop or diocese into which he was hoping to incardinate.”
The statement provides some additional context surrounding the Vatican’s stunning decree removing the well-known Pavone from the priesthood while leaving other important questions still unanswered.
Among them: What specific communications did Pavone make that were deemed “blasphemous”? Who is the bishop that Pavone disobeyed? And what of the Masses and other sacraments Pavone has celebrated in the more than five weeks that have passed since the Vatican rendered its judgment?
On Monday, Pavone told LifeNews he rejected the idea that there is “no possibility of appeal.”
“Of course there is. I am appealing to the People of God, who are becoming wiser to all that is going on and who will be the judges of whether the work my 50-person team at Priests for Life and I do is worthy of support or not. I have made an irrevocable commitment to defend the unborn and to be a priest. I will not walk away from either one,” Pavone promised.
“Some in the Church have been trying to silence my voice for 20 years. It will not work,” he added.
“This is not just an attack on me, but an effort by forces both inside and outside the Church to intimidate every courageous pro-life priest and lay activist.” Father Pavone said. “We see this in the arrests of pro-life advocates and the lack of response from law enforcement in more than 100 attacks against pro-life organizations. We see this in when some religious leaders provide cover for pro-abortion politicians like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi. And we see it when some priests who violate canon law and also break civil law are supported while others, including myself, are chastised and ostracized for working to protect the unborn.”
“Ultimately, this is about how the Church will respond to abortion, and whose view of this battle will hold sway in the Catholic Church and beyond. It’s about whom the Church wants to punish: Pro-abortion politicians or pro-life priests. It’s about whom the Church wants to abort: Babies in the womb, or priests who defend them,” Pavone added.
In a broadcast from Saturday night, Father Frank addressed accusations that he has been “blasphemous.”
“That is just the latest of a long list of excuses some bishops like to use to attack me. How about we focus on what my ministry and I have been doing for three decades: Helping parishes provide alternatives to abortion, overseeing the world’s largest ministries for healing after abortion and training clergy to promote that healing, leading abortionists back to Christ, leading prayer campaigns to end abortion and prayer vigils at abortion facilities, providing pro-life books and seminars to dioceses free of charge, educating and inspiring pro-life activists in person and through broadcasting with the latest arguments and information, and electing pro-life candidates to every office from President to City Council,” Pavone explained.
“To those who want to cancel me, I ask, to which of these works do you object? And to those who support this work in the Church, I renew my gratitude,” he said.
As LifeNews.com reported, in a shocking turn of events, the Vatican has dismissed pro-life leader Father Frank Pavone from the Catholic priesthood. The decision has angered pro-life Catholics who respect Pavone and appreciate his decades of service to the pro-life movement via Priests for Life.
The decision comes on the heels of Pope Francis facing criticism for putting an abortion advocate on the Pontifical Academy for Life, claiming that giving an abortion support a Catholic Church platform helps “dialog.”
In a December 13 letter to the Catholic bishops in the United States, Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre wrote that the Dicastery for the Clergy issued the decision to defrock Pavone on November 9 — supposedly for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
There is reportedly no ability to appeal the decision.
Bishop Joseph Strickland chimed in on Twitter, saying he disagreed with the decision, calling it the real “blasphemy” in this situation.
“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,” he tweeted.
Strickland is no stranger to the high profile politics of abortion. Earleri this year, Strickland joined a handful of bishops saying pro-abortion Speaker Nancy Pelosi is barred from Communion in his diocese.
“The concern for Mrs Pelosi’s eternal salvation extends to the Diocese of Tyler. She is barred from Communion here until she repents & stops advocating the murder of children. Pray for her heart to be turned to God & away from the power of this world,” the bishop said then.
Responding to the news, Father Pavone sent multiple tweets on Twitter with his reaction — saying that his priesthood was “aborted” and treated with the same disrespect that happens when babies are aborted.
“Hi friends… 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,” Pavone said.
In a third tweet, Pavone said he was “Praying for the Church and for ProLife Activists.”
And in a fourth tweet, Pavone refused to back down in his overtly political condemnation of abortion and abortion advocates — the kind of tweet that likely upset the Vatican in the first place. Pavone refused to acquiesce to the demands that he refrain from holding up Big Abortion and its defendants from condemnation.
“We have only just begun exposing #abortion, exposing the Democrats, exposing the Swamp (in both the state & the church). One of the tactics of them all is that they think they can get away with their evil and shut the rest of us up. Wow, have they underestimated their opponents!” he said.
Ironically the news of his dismiss came right after he tweeted and took Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi to task for their abortion advocacy.
“The religious language that fake #Catholic Biden & Pelosi use to justify #abortion is blasphemous. They are saying that #God approves of the shedding of innocent blood. Scripture says he hates it. We don’t have to wait for bishops or the pope to address this. We all need to do so,” Pavone said.
The Catholic News Agency provided further information about why Pavone was supposedly sacked from the priesthood:
“Father Pavone was given ample opportunity to defend himself in the canonical proceedings, and he was also given multiple opportunities to submit himself to the authority of his diocesan bishop,” explains a separate statement attached to Archbishop Pierre’s letter. “It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions.”
Pavone, however, told CNA Saturday that he had not been notified about the Vatican’s judgment.
The communication from Archbishop Pierre does not specify the actions that led to Pavone’s dismissal or name the bishop he disobeyed.
The statement refers to Pavone as “Mr. Pavone” and calls him “a lay person,” underscoring the dramatic and immediate nature of the Vatican’s action.
“Since Priests for Life, Inc. is not a Catholic organization, Mr. Pavone’s continuing role in it as a lay person would be entirely up to the leadership of that organization,” the statement says.
Despite the supposed pronouncement, Father Pavone is still saying Mass and the Priests for Life web site indicates he is a Catholic priest in good standing.
Pavone started parish work on Long Island decades ago.
“I loved it. I love parish work. I was assigned to St. Charles on Staten Island, a very large parish of 3,000 families. We had a school 600 students right there on the property and it was great. I had a great pastor; there was an associate and then a retired pastor. So it was the four of us, we had three deacons. That’s a great pastoral team,” he said.