Vatican City — The Vatican has excommunicated US anti-abortion priest Frank Pavone for what he said were “vulgar communications on social media” as well as “constant disobedience” to his bishop. for him repeatedly to stop his partisan activism for Donald Trump.
A letter to the US bishops from the Vatican’s ambassador to the US, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, received on Sunday, said the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, had been taken on November 9. and that there was no chance of appeal.
Pavone has been in conflict with the bishop of Amarillo, Texas, for more than a decade over his life and partisan political activities that came to a head in 2016 when he placed an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a video of it on two heads. social media sites. The video was accompanied by a post saying that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform would allow abortion to continue and that Trump and the Republican platform wanted to protect the unborn.
Even before that, Pavone appealed the 2011 restrictions on his ministry placed on him by Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek.
Pavone remained a staunch supporter of Trump and in 2020 he disputed the outcome of the election won by Joe Biden. Prior to the election, the Amarillo diocese criticized Pavone’s use of social media for political purposes, the diocese distanced himself from him and said his positions were inconsistent with Catholic teaching.
Pavone transferred from Amarillo and was allowed to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He still wears a “MAGA” hat on his Twitter handle with a background photo of former President Trump, who many conservatives have praised for his Supreme Court nominees who helped overturn the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
In a tweet on Sunday, Pavone was defiant, comparing his fate to that of the unborn.
“So, in all professions, including the priesthood, if you protect the unborn, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we are ‘well’, we continue to speak, loud and clear.”
He was later seen in a video on social media wearing a black leather biker jacket over his priest collar against the mock backdrop of St Peter’s Basilica vowing to continue the anti-abortion “war” and denouncing “the culture of the church that cancel” he said. said he had been persecuted for years.
In a statement on his Priest For Life website, he said the firing was “the result of an abusive process” and that he was considering unspecified legal action against the unnamed US bishops.
The expulsion was immediately condemned by his supporters, including the bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, who referred to US President Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights as “evil.”
“The blasphemy is that this holy priest is dismissed and an evil president promotes the denial of the truth & murdering the unborn every time, Vatican officials promote immorality & denial of the deposit of faith & priests promote gender confusion, destructive lives…bad,” Strickland tweeted.
In his letter, Pierre cited information from the Congregation for the Clergy that Pavone was excommunicated — he can no longer present himself as a priest — after being guilty of a canonical event “of blasphemous communication on social media and disobedience continuous of the legal persons. his diocesan bishop’s instructions.” The letter was first reported by the Catholic News Agency.
The statement said Pavone was given “many opportunities” to defend himself as well as obey his bishop. “It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions.”
The statement concluded that since Priests for Life is not a Catholic organization, it would be up to the group to decide whether it could continue its role “as an axe.”
One of the most severe sanctions in the canon law of the church for priests is the lacho, or the lacho to the secular state.