Vatican fires anti-abortion activist Frank Pavone for ‘blasphemous’ posts

VATICAN CITY (AP) – The Vatican has impeached an anti-abortion US priest, Frank Pavone, for calling “blasphemous communication on social media” as well as “continued disobedience” by his bishop.

A letter received on Sunday from Vatican Ambassador to the US Archbishop Christophe Pierre to US bishops said the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, was made on November 9 and that there was no chance for an appeal.

Pavone had been investigated by his then-diocese of Amarillo, Texas, for placing an aborted fetus on an altar in 2016 and posting video of it on two social media sites. He posts frequently on US politics and abortion, and the video of The Aborted Fetus was accompanied by a post stating that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform would allow abortion to continue and that Donald Trump and the Republican platform would protect unborn children wanted to.

Pavone remains a staunch supporter of Trump: On his Twitter handle, he wears a “MAGA” hat with a background photo of the former US president, whom many conservatives are praising for his Supreme Court nominee overturning the landmark decision that a constitutional right to abortion guaranteed The United States.”

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

Father Frank Pavone (L) and Rev. Patrick Mahoney pray on their knees during a rally outside the US Supreme Court.
Frank Pavone runs the anti-abortion group Priests for Life.
Getty Images

“So if you defend the #unborn in any profession, including the priesthood, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we’re “abortioned,” we keep talking loud and clear.”

His supporters immediately condemned the measure, including Bishop of Tyler, Texas Joseph Strickland, who called US President Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights “evil”.

“The blasphemy is that this holy priest is being deposed while an evil president encourages denial of the truth and murder of the unborn at every turn, Vatican officials encourage immorality and encourage denial of the credit of the faith, and priests encourage gender confusion that destroys lives… evil ,” Strickland tweeted.

Pavone had appealed to the Vatican about restrictions placed on his ministry by the Bishop of Amarillo in 2011, was able to ease the restrictions, and had moved from Texas while remaining active with Priests for Life.

Father Frank Pavone welcomes people to the public memorial service for Terri Schiavo.
Pavone was investigated for placing an aborted fetus on an altar and posting a video of it on two social media sites in 2016.
Getty Images

In his letter, Pierre cited information from the Congregation for the Clergy that Pavone had been laicized – he could no longer pose as a priest – after being found guilty of blasphemous communication on social media and continued disobedience to the law at a canonical trial the letter was first reported by the Catholic News Agency.

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

The statement concluded that since Priests for Life is not a Catholic organization, it was up to the group to decide whether he could continue in his role “as a layman”.

Laicization, or downgrading to the laity, is one of the harshest sanctions in the canon law of the Church. Vatican fires anti-abortion activist Frank Pavone for ‘blasphemous’ posts


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