Vatican Removes Anti-Abortion Activist From Priesthood

US priest Frank Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, has been defrocked by the Vatican for "blasphemous communications on social media" and "persistent disobedience."

Vatican Removes Anti-Abortion Activist From Priesthood
Image credit: The New York Times

Facts

  • US priest Frank Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, has been defrocked by the Vatican for "blasphemous communications on social media" and "persistent disobedience."
  • A letter to US bishops from the Vatican's US ambassador Archbishop Christophe Pierre, first obtained by Catholic News Agency (CNA), states that Pavone was given "ample opportunity to defend himself," despite there being no reasonable justification for his actions. His defrocking cannot be appealed, CNA added.
  • In 2016, Pavone was criticized for placing an aborted fetus on an altar and posting a video of the scene on two social media sites. A staunch supporter of former US Pres. Donald Trump, Pavone claimed the unborn were safe only under the GOP and that, if DNC candidate Hillary Clinton had won the presidency, abortion would be allowed to continue.
  • On Sunday, Pavone denounced the "cancel culture" of the Catholic Church that he said had "persecuted him for decades." He also vowed to continue the anti-abortion "war."
  • On Twitter, Pavone — who disputed the outcome of the 2020 election — compared his fate to that of an unborn child, adding that the only difference is, "when we are aborted, we continue to speak, loud and clear."

Sources: NPR Online News, BBC News, NBC, ABC, and Catholic World Report.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by Our Sunday Visitor. Pavone's opinion on abortion isn't the reason for his disgraceful exit. A diocesan priest is under obligation to cooperate with the Bishop. Pavone did not follow his religious duty justly and often crossed the line from pastoral to political. His removal is not about a debate between left and right, or Vatican versus American Catholics, but rather a particular issue of a priest gone rogue.
  • Right narrative, as provided by War Room. A tireless advocate of the unborn, Pavone dedicated his life to ending abortion and reversing Roe v. Wade. His defrocking is an effort by forces both inside and outside the Church to intimidate every courageous pro-life fighter.

Predictions