Vatican Defrocks Pavone, Trump Supporter And Anti-Abortion Activist
The conservative pro-life movement devolved into bedlam after the Vatican defrocked a controversial anti-abortion priest who placed an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a nearly-hour-long video of it online for his “blasphemous communications on social media.”
Frank Pavone, leader of the pro-life group Priests for Life and former Trump religious adviser, is a highly-contentious anti-abortion activist renowned in the MAGA sphere for his incendiary lexicon and provocative brand of anti-abortion and political activism in church and on social media.
In a letter circulated to bishops in the U.S. — first reported by the Catholic News Agency — the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, said the Vatican booted Pavone from priesthood on November 9 and that there was “no possibility of appeal.”
“This action was taken after Father Pavone was found guilty in canonical proceedings of blasphemous communications on social media, and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop,” the letter stated, according to the New York Times.
Although the letter didn’t elucidate Pavone’s offenses further, it noted that the far-right priest 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.”
Pavone, an indefatigable Trump supporter, has questioned the results of the 2020 presidential elections, repeatedly clashed with bishops, incessantly assailed Democratic pols with expletives, and disseminated fringe anti-abortion lexicon in support of the 45th U.S. president and the GOP’s anti-abortion crusade.
In November 2016, Pavone drew collective outrage when, in a bizarre attempt to stump for Trump, the priest laid the remains of an aborted baby on an altar on a Sunday and posted a live video of the incident on Facebook.
“We have to decide if we will allow this child killing to continue in America or not. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform says yes, let the child-killing continue (and you pay for it); Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no, the child should be protected,” Pavon wrote in a post accompanying the video.
Pavone’s then-diocese in Amarillo, Texas, promised to investigate the outlandish incident, which it denounced as “against the dignity of human life” and “a desecration of the altar” and vowed to investigate.
The bishop of that diocese, Most Reverend Patrick J. Zurek, suspended Pavone in 2011 over concerns regarding how the right-wing Priests for Life spent its donations, but the Vatican later overruled the suspension.
The Vatican’s newest decision has stoked further chaos within the anti-abortion community in the wake of the Supreme Court’s high-charged decision to eliminate to overturn its Roe v Wade abortion rights ruling, reports the Washington Post.
Pavone slammed the decision in a storm of unhinged tweets in which he blamed Democrats for his removal, assailed President Biden and outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and repeatedly evoked the pronoun “You” typically used by Republican provocateurs and agitators.
\u201cHi friends\u2026 So in every profession, including the priesthood, if you defend the #unborn, you will be treated like them!\nThe only difference is that when we are \u201caborted,\u201d we continue to speak, loud and clear.\u201d— Fr. Frank Pavone (@Fr. Frank Pavone) 1671330724
Pavone also falsely claimed that the Democratic leaders had professed “#God approves of the shedding of innocent blood” and urged his followers not to wait for bishops or the pope to address this. We all need to do so.”
\u201cThe 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.\nWe don\u2019t have to wait for bishops or the pope to address this. We all need to do so\u201d— Fr. Frank Pavone (@Fr. Frank Pavone) 1671301782
Pavone’s supporters have also denounced the Vatican, including pro-Trump conservative lawyer Jenna Ellis, who testified before a Georgia grand jury investigating the ex-president’s efforts to 2020 presidential election results in the state, and QAnon conspiracy theory-peddling Texas bishop Joseph Strickland.
\u201cThe 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\u2026evil\u201d— Bishop J. Strickland (@Bishop J. Strickland) 1671326086
In a Saturday statement on his website, Pavone vowed to pursue legal action, stating that he’d take “all appropriate canonical and civil action as well as public communications to the Faithful” to address what he called a “travesty” orchestrated by “some of the bishops for many years.”
Defiantly calling himself “Father” despite his removal from priesthood, Pavone promised to continue pushing his “fulltime ministry on behalf of the unborn.”