Official Statement of Fr. Frank Pavone

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, has issued the following statement:

“For the past several years, my Ordinary, the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo, has given me permission to do the full-time pro-life work that I have done since 1993. In 2005, I made a public promise in a Church ceremony in Amarillo, presided over by a Vatican Cardinal, that this full-time pro-life work would be a lifetime commitment. That’s a commitment I promise to fulfill without wavering.

“This past week, however, I received a letter from the Bishop insisting that I report to the Diocese this Tuesday, September 13 and, for the time being, remain only there.

“I am very perplexed by this demand. Despite that, because I am a priest of the diocese of Amarillo, I will be obedient and report there on the appointed date, putting the other commitments that are on my calendar on hold until I get more clarity as to what the bishop wants and for how long. Meanwhile, I continue to retain all my priestly faculties and continue to be a priest in “good standing” in the Church. The bishop does not dispute this fact. Rather, he has said that he thinks I am giving too much priority to my pro-life work, and that this makes me disobedient to him. He also has claimed that I haven’t given him enough financial information.

“Now, although Bishop Zurek is my Ordinary, he is not the bishop of Priests for Life. Each of our staff priests has his own Ordinary, and the organization has an entire Board of Bishops. We keep them all informed of our activities, and of our financial audits.

“I want to say very clearly that Priests for Life is above reproach in its financial management and the stewardship of the monies it receives from dedicated pro-lifers, raised primarily through direct mail at the grassroots level. To this end, Priests for Life has consistently provided every financial document requested by Bishop Zurek, including annual financial audits, quarterly reports, management documents—even entire check registers! In fact, on June 20, 2011, Priests for Life received the results of its independent audit examination for the year ended December 31, 2010. The organization’s auditors issued an unqualified audit opinion indicating that the financial statements “present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Priests for Life, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America”. This marks the tenth consecutive year that the organization’s auditors have provided a ‘clean’ audit opinion, when reporting on the respective year’s financial statements. Priests for Life has been completely transparent with Bishop Zurek and any other bishops who have requested information regarding our management and finances. Indeed, we have 21 bishops and cardinals who sit on our Advisory Board, and they are kept fully informed about our finances.

“Therefore, in the interest of preserving my good reputation as well as protecting the valuable work done by the Priests for Life organization, I have begun a process of appeal to the Vatican. This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life. We are very confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion. Because of this confidence, we are not currently making any changes in any positions at Priests for Life, or in any of our projects and plans.

“I also want to point out that, according to the canon law of the Catholic Church, because I have begun this process of appeal to Rome, the Bishop’s order that I return to Amarillo has been effectively suspended. Nevertheless, because of my great respect for this Bishop and my commitment to be fully obedient at all times, I am reporting to Amarillo this Tuesday, in hopes that I can sort this problem out with the Bishop in a mutually agreeable and amicable way.

“I would like to note that, unlike other organizations, which have sometimes been critical of the Church hierarchy or other institutions within the Church, Priests for Life has always remained 100% supportive of the Bishops, never criticizing any Church official, and always acting as a megaphone for the Bishops’ pro-life statements. Moreover, we serve dioceses and their priests and laity without asking for any speakers’ fees, and distribute millions of pieces of pro-life literature to dioceses completely free of charge. We do not seek parish collections, and we work to reinforce in each diocese the local pastoral plan which the bishop wants to implement for pro-life activities.

“We are committed to going forward with that same spirit, regardless of the recent action taken by Bishop Zurek.

“In the interest of full transparency, I would like to make it known that I do not receive any salary or financial remuneration from either the Diocese of Amarillo or from Priests for Life. Priests for Life, as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful, does provide for my residence and the expenses associated with the ministry, but these expenses are very small. Though, as a diocesan priest, I have never taken a vow of poverty, I have basically chosen to live in that fashion in solidarity with the pre-born children we are trying to protect—who are the poorest of the poor.

“I want to be clear that I do not harbor any ill will towards the Bishop of Amarillo, nor do I foster suspicions about his motives. I am merely confused by his actions. It is impossible for me to believe that there is no place in the Church for priests to exercise full-time ministry in the service of the unborn. We do it for the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the imprisoned. But where in the Church is the place where a priest can exercise the same kind of full-time ministry for the children in the womb? That is the question that is at the heart of my own calling.

“I am confident that we will be able to resolve this difficulty soon, without any harm to either my own reputation and without any slowdown of the valuable pro-life work we do at Priests for Life.”

5 Responses to “Official Statement of Fr. Frank Pavone”

  1. Michael says:

    Powers and principalities, things visible and things invisible. I do not wonder Fr. Frank just who is getting into the cracks between you and the bishop. May God’s will be done as you (it seems to me) enter your own way of the cross. I am proud to know you and to have worked with you in the past. You are a true Soldier for Christ and I’m sure He will vindicate you in the end. My fear is for us as a nation when we need strong voices to hold the NCCB to the correct teachings of The Church. I can’t help but wonder why you and why now? This election cycle will determine the track of our nation. Will we defend life or will we embrace the culture of death. Will we repeal Obama-care or will we allow our tax dollars to continue to be used at an even great rate to pay for Abortion on demand? Just now when we will need a strong voice to explain confusing documents like “Faithful Citizenship”, you are drawn away from your post and public pulpit. I pray that good people like Cardinal Burke come to your aid in Rome and get you back out to the battle as soon as possible. I pray that the love, the prayers, and the obedience you have shown your bishop will scald Satan in his attempts to thwart your work. God bless you and may He bring you back to us before this election cycle gets too far along. In the meantime I guess we better step up and be the voice for the unborn like never before!
    Yours in Christ,
    Michael A. Barone
    Columbus, Ohio

  2. Joseph P. Pelaez says:

    It is good to see Fr. Pavone obedient to his Bishop, who has concerns.
    As the Bishop and Fr. Pavone are aware, there are two main forces at
    work, namely God and Satan. It is quite possible that forces against
    life used stealth means to effect the Bishop’s decision. Things like this
    are not unheard of. For example, Servant of God, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
    spoke of hundreds of priests being ordained, who were intelligent
    communists pretending to be Catholic sent by the Soviet Union. I know
    it sound crazy and not plausible but the Catholic Church including our
    cousins the Protestants, Interdenominationals, and non-demoninationals,
    evangelizing Jesus help the poor more than any other Nation. We are a
    thorn in the side to communism and other secular humanism idealists, who
    oppose the Church. I pray it is not the case that the Bishop’s decision was
    effected by stealth, I truly pray. But it is not out of the realm of possiblilities. Jesus help us!
    In His Love,

  3. karen says:

    Did the Church chime in when the European countries enacted their health care systems? What was the church’s stance on health care in other industrialized countries. Is it just here in the Good Ole U S of A that the Church is against health care for all? Just asking.

  4. John Michel says:

    I am happy to hear that Fr. Frank will honor his promise to obey his bishop. My only regrets with lawsuit against the President I have come to resent Fr. Frank’s strong arm tactics to give, give, give. Not a day goes by that I fail to receive an email strong-arm pushing his goal of reaching whatever the financial goal might be. I resent his effort to belittle anyone that might not have given or has given little. If his tactics were less strongarmed I might give a sizable sum, but his tacktics have turned me off. I don’t doubt that he needs all the funds he PUSHES for, but after awhile receiving these insulting messages from his financial company that I am sure gets a cut of all this by the tone of the messages. I wish he would stop sending me these emails requesting money in the tone of strongarming me to give.

  5. alv3d@ says:

    We appreciate your concern regarding the tone of our appeal letters/emails. Priests for Life is constantly looking for the most cost-effective way to raise funds. Unfortunately good news simply doesn’t sell. Appeal letters must convey a sense of urgency and need or else donors will simply reply to other organizations’ requests for funds. Priest for Life does provide a regular newsletter and website with positive news about our organizations and the pro-life movement.

    One effective way to support Priests for Life without receiving appeal letters is to make a non-binding pledge to send us a donation on a monthly basis or some other interval. This way supporters can tell us how much and how often they would like to support Priests for Life while saving us much-needed funds.

    If you do not wich to receive our emails anymore, please unsubscribe at the bottom of each email sent to you. Fr. Frank’s intent is never to strong arm anyone into giving to Priests for Life. We hope you will find the work we do worthy o fyour help and donations.

    Thank you for writing to PFL and we request your prayers for our work while we are praying for our supporters like you.

    Eugene Vigil
    Asst. to Dr. Alveda King

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