Father Frank Pavone, one of the most prominent pro-life leaders in the United States, has been removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.
Pavone, 63, is the national director of Priests for Life and is well-known for his stance against abortion — often butting heads with other leaders of the Catholic Church and Democratic politicians.
The Catholic News Agency recently obtained a Dec. 13 letter from Archbishop Christophe Pierre notifying U.S. bishops that the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy had decided on Pavone’s removal on Nov. 9. CNA reported that multiple sources confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
The letter reportedly said that Pavone was removed for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop,” adding that there was “no possibility of appeal.”
A statement attached to the letter said that Pavone had been “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,” but it was ultimately decided that ultimately Father Pavone “had no reasonable justification for his actions.”
The statement added that “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 didn’t specify what actions brought upon the defrocking, but Pavone suggested in a Saturday tweet that the decision was due to his pro-life beliefs.
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.
— Fr. Frank Pavone (@frfrankpavone) December 18, 2022
“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 pinned tweet, making it very clear that he would not stop fighting for his pro-life causes.
Pavone told CNA in a Saturday email that the Vatican hadn’t notified him of their decision and said that their email was “the very first communication that came to me about this.”
“How did CNA learn about this before I did?” Pavone asked.
CNA reported that Pavone sent them to a 26-page document on his personal website in which he discusses how he and Priests for Life have been treated by “some in the hierarchy.”
“We all expect that the pro-abortion groups, like Planned Parenthood, will target, harass and try to intimidate us. And they do try,” Pavone said in the document. “But when such treatment comes from bishops and other Church authorities — which it increasingly does — it’s particularly deplorable.”
“Instead of supporting and encouraging the pro-life work of the Church, some of these men try to obstruct and hinder it, and abuse their authority to try to intimidate priests and laity who make ending abortion the top priority of our lives.”
He continued, “And make no mistake… if they oppose priests like me, it’s because they’re opposing you and the commitment you have to this cause. Cancel culture is alive and well in the Catholic Church. I’ve experienced it firsthand. And the more we are aware of it, the better we will be able to defend ourselves and others from it.”
Despite his defrocking, CNA reported that Pavone isn’t going away quietly, as he is still saying Masses.
Pavone previously served under the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, and was later transferred to an unspecified diocese, according to CNA.
Pavone has been a strong supporter of former president Donald Trump and took part in his 2020 reelection campaign.
He also recently endorsed Trump in his 2024 campaign.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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