Saturday, September 17, 2011

Disappointment with Fr. Pavone

One of  my greatest disappointments in the dispute between Fr. Frank Pavone and Bishop Zurek is that the matter is being fought in the court of public opinion.  That works for issues like abortion, but it is not how we resolve such disputes in the Roman Catholic Church. 

+ + + + + + +

This may come as news to some Catholics, and is probably difficult to comprehend for the many fine non-Catholics who appreciate all of the good Fr. Pavone has done.  Just to be clear, Fr. Pavone remains a priest in good standing and the diocese clarified that there are no charges of malfeasance or of financial wrongdoing.  The bishop has restricted his priestly work to the Diocese of Amarillo indefinitely and has directed him into a period of "prayer and reflection".  From all that I've read, it seems more like there is a mixture of pastoral concerns and a desire to understand certain financial aspects perhaps not available in the audits provided by PFL.  Things were not helped in the way that Bishop Zurek communicated the matter to his brother bishops in the leaked letter, but it does not negate the possibility of legitimate concerns.   Likewise, Fr. Pavone has not helped matters with the ongoing publicity campaign which he has fed, and continues to feed, well.

Fr. Pavone at Assumption Grotto

Over the years, I've been a huge supporter of Fr. Frank.  I've passed along links found at his website, I photographed him when he came to my parish to participate in the burial in our cemetery, of aborted babies found in dumpsters.  I've listened to him weekly on Teresa Tomeo's, Catholic Connection on Ave Maria Radio, and I have enjoyed the homilies I was able to hear when he was on EWTN.

As I said the other day, good priests and good bishops can end up in misunderstandings; good priests and good bishops can be imprudent at times; and, they can both make mistakes and poor judgments. These come with fallen human nature.  Whenever a dispute arises between a high-profile priest who is doing good work and his bishop, it does not mean that one side is in kahoots with the Evil One.  Sadly, many will thrust themselves into rash judgment about one party or the other.

There are noteworthy problems in Bishop Zurek's letter as blogging canonist, Ed Peters, pointed out in a post with his initial thoughts.  However, even if Bishop Zurek handled his concerns imprudently, or made mistakes in language used, Fr. Pavone can go after any such injustice canonically, and he should.  He has a  duty to truth.  The Church offers us ways to deal with these things.  They don't get resolved expeditiously, but we ought to keep in mind, that not even a hair can fall from Fr. Pavone's head without God permitting it to happen.  More importantly, God loves the unborn more than all of us put together could.  I found the commentary by Dr. Jeff Mirus yesterday, entitled, L'Affaire Pavone, very worthy read, and capturing some of my own thoughts.   Here is just a sample*:

3.Personal Apostolic Commitments Don’t Trump a Vocation: This is an area in which I fault Fr. Pavone’s public statements regardless of the nature of his bishop’s concerns. Let me take a layman’s case as an example. I may vow in the presence of God and the Holy Angels that I am going to dedicate myself to disseminating the Catholic Faith. I may visit the Pope at the Vatican and tell him of my sturdy resolve. But if my wife tells me I’m neglecting my children, I had better adjust my priorities in a hurry. My personal and private priorities and commitments pale into insignificance.

You’ve heard the expression, “Don’t quit your day job.” A vocation trumps particular apostolic interests. In exactly the same way, Fr. Pavone’s insistence that he vowed in the presence of a cardinal to do pro-life work for the rest of this life ought to matter not a whit to anybody, including himself, unless he has the necessary Vatican approval and dispensation from his ordinary role in the Church—not when it comes to his vocational response to the legitimate authority of his bishop

Cyber Lynching and Picketing Parishes?

I've been pondering: What if the public had not seen Bishop Zurek's letter?  There would have been no press releases or conferences by either side, no public outcry, and no petition webpages to "free Fr. Frank".  There would no rash judgments, detractions, or calumnies against either men on the web as people surmise their way into their chosen conspiracy theories in the absence of much information.  Just spend some time perusing the comments in the combox of the National Catholic Register column where among some good points, are statements like this: "The Smoke of Satan is alive and well in the Church and is seeking the removal of all orthodox priests."

Let's be clear that any untruths or injustices in Bishop Zurek's letter would have been contained within the circle of brother bishops - some of whom, canonists among them,  might have offered fraternal correction.   If the letter had never been leaked, people would not be playing God by reading the heart and motives of Bishop Zurek, regardless of how imperfectly he communicated his concerns.  There would not be fodder for disunity in the Church prompting people to pick the side of a celebrity priest or a bishop, when they should be choosing no side at all. There would be no threats by a misguided group of supporters to picket nearly 50 parishes in the Amarillo diocese, with large graphic images of aborted babies until .... wait for it....Fr. Frank is liberated from his "ecclesiastical 'house arrest'".   I'm sure the small children seeing these displays before their parents can shield them will really help them sleep well for weeks to come. 

One of the most bizarre reactions by supporters is that massive picket being organized.  The press release was fisked by Dr. Peters in a new post yesterday: CBR's plans to aggravate Fr. Pavone's problems.  It is being organized by a pro-life group - Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.  There are at least two quotes from Fr. Pavone on that website in which he claims to sit on the board of directors.  Whether this is outdated information which needs to be cleaned up, or current, I don't know, but this is a conflict in itself.   

Before I read his post, I had the same mental image that Peters paints with regards to families trying to go to Mass.

About the only doff of the cap to sanity I see in CBR’s announcement is its plan to post “parental warning signs…as a courtesy near targeted churches, to caution parents of small children that they may wish to attend Mass elsewhere.”

Riiiiiight, like parents are supposed to arrive at church on Sunday morning with a carload of kids and, rather than see them horrified by pictures of dead babies, pile everybody back in the car and drive to the next parish (what time is Mass there, dear?), arrive and, Great Scot!, there's a CBR picket here too!, oh for crying out loud!, where’s the next parish, honey? etc., etc. Meanwhile, just what are parents of students at Holy Cross Academy supposed to do? Drop their kids off at the next school?

Folks, this is plain nuttiness.*

I have defended, I don’t know how many times, the canonical right of Catholics to express their opinions on matters affecting the good of the Church (c. 212 § 3), and I will continue to defend the lawful exercise of that right. But what CBR has in mind is, I think, a caricature of the prudent and informed communication of views—even conflicting views—within the Church. It is, I suggest, not an exercise of the rights recognized by Canon 212, but an abuse of those rights. And, speaking of canons, any Catholics thinking about showing up for a CBR picket of an Amarillo parish or school, should read Canon 1373 as well as Canon 212.

I do encourage you to follow up and read those canons to which he links.  Read them carefully, and slowly. While the faithful have a right, and sometimes a duty, to bring concerns to the attention of the Church, those canons point out the manner in which they should be carried out.   On second thought, I'm going to quote canon 1373 directly because I feel like it:

Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.

Of course, there is no animosity or hatred being stirred against the Church or the Bishop Zurek in this case, who, even if he has communicated things imperfectly, and if he has committed an injustice to Fr. Frank in his letter to brother bishops, is still acting lawfully to restrict his ministry to Amarillo - right?  We don't have to like the decision, but condemning Bishop Zurek, inferring he is involved with the "smoke of Satan",  and publicly inciting hatred and animosity - well - these things are a secular response, but not the Catholic one.

Dr. Peters, also had this to say, once again,  mirroring my own thought. 
Finally, I can only imagine that CBR’s plans in behalf of Fr. Pavone make him cringe at the prospect of being associated in the public’s mind with it. If, by chance, he has any sway with them**, now would be a good time to use it.

After learning that Fr. Pavone has some current or past connection with CBR, Ed writes:

It is now incumbent on Pavone (or better, his counsel) to separate himself from CBR's plans

If he doesn't distance himself from, and publicly discourage these kinds of misguided tactics to resolve the dispute between him and his bishop, it will disappoint me even more.   Even Judie Brown of the American Life League had some cogent advice to pro-lifers:

I ask that all pro-lifers show the respect that the office of the bishop deserves and refrain from creating a public spectacle filled with demands, letters of condemnation, demonstrations, or other efforts to create public pressure for a secular solution to what, in the end, is a Church matter.

This is a time for prayer: prayer for the bishop, prayer for the priest, and prayer for the babies. I ask the entire pro-life community to put aside secular action and join me in praying for a speedy and just resolution.

A rush to judgment can run in both directions. 

Indeed.  What we have available to us in the public sphere in any dispute between a priest and a bishop is just the tip of the information iceberg.  That is why it ought not be playing out in the court of public opinion and I hope that Fr. Pavone will take the high road and take some time off, get out of the spotlight for a while and let the canon lawyers do their work. 

A Project is not the Priesthood

While Fr. Frank Pavone is truly a gifted pro-life advocate, he is first, and foremost, a Roman Catholic priest.  His hands are sacred and of the most important things he does is to turn ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  His hand is also raised to give absolution not just to a woman who confesses abortion, but to the many other ordinary people who are no longer in the state of grace and equally capable of finding themselves in hell with other sins not absolved.  And, it is by his sacred hands that the sick and dying are annointed.  Anything else that he does in life, is secondary to those things, which no lay person may do.

This whole, sad episode has exposed a chink in the armor of Priests for Life:  If it cannot function for a few months without Fr. Pavone, then steps need to be taken to make it so.  None of us knows the day or the hour we will leave this life.  An entire airplane full  of young, Russian hockey players can attest to that.   And, speaking of hockey, there is one more thing to learn from this sad affair: The greatest hockey teams are those who can win even when their star player ends up on the bench with an injury.  Can Priests for Life function without Father Pavone for a few months while he does what his bishop asked?  He has a duty to ensure that the work of Priests for Life can carry on without him for any length of time, because he will not be here forever.  Likewise, he needs to make sure that he is not the only face at Priests for Life that can draw people to an event and inspire a crowd to work to end abortion.

I truly believe that Bishop Zurek is not intending to end Fr. Pavone's pro-life efforts. Rather, he may be looking to purify some things that could use purifying.  Any of you who are parents know that your attempts to sometimes head problems off at the pass for your children, have been done imperfectly, at times.  Think back to a time when you think you could have handled something better.  Did it negate the fact that a problem needed addressing?  Did others tell you that your concerns were non-issues, when you still felt otherwise?   I'm just sayin'.

"I'm in Amarillo awaiting direction, and nothing yet..."

Fr. Pavone seems to think that his bishop gave him no work.  Actually, I think the directive was "prayer and reflection".   In a new post made late last night, Dr. Peters, speaking not as a canonist, but as a Catholic layman decided to look at Fr. Pavone's statement made late yesterday.  He quotes Fr. Pavone, then offers his comment:

"Well, friends, here in Amarillo I am working hard at my computer on various pro-life projects as I await further instructions from the diocese. Nothing yet…"

Nothing? What’s that mean? Does a young, healthy priest, in his home diocese, with full faculties for ordained ministry therein, really need to be told what to do with a large, unexpected block of time? If so, I have some suggestions.

If you read anything at all today on the dispute between Bishop Zurek and Fr. Frank Pavone, do read this latest commentary by Dr. Ed Peters.  He sufficiently nailed the many things that disturbed me about the response from Fr. Pavone.  I have been most concerned for what misunderstandings about the priesthood seminarians may be forming through this public display.  Go read this excellent analysis: Some non-canonical reactions to Fr. Pavone's latest statement

    Ending this long post, please pray for all concerned, mindful that God's will is not necessarily our will.  We must conform to His will, not He to ours.  The Catholic understanding is that for a priest, that will comes through the Church, often through imperfect men - the bishops.  When conflict arises, all avenues should be pursued for the sake of truth and justice, but when those doors shut, I offer once again, the advice of St. Francis de Sales for consideration:

    When any evil befalls you, apply the remedies that may be in your power, agreeably to the will of God; for to act otherwise would be to tempt divine Providence Having done this, wait with resignation for the success it may please God to send; and, should the remedies overcome the evil, return Him thanks with humility, but if, on the contrary, the evils overcome the remedies, bless Him with patience.

    "The following advice of St. Gregory is useful: whenever you are 'justly accused' of a fault, humble yourself, and candidly confess that you deserve more than the accusation which is brought against you; but, if the charge be false, excuse yourself meekly, denying your guilt, for you owe this respect to truth, and to the edification of your neighbor. But if, after your true and lawful excuse, they should continue to accuse you, trouble not yourself nor strive to have your excuse admitted; for, having discharged your duty to truth, you must also do the same to humility, by which means you neither offend against the care you ought to have of your reputation, nor the love you owe to peace, meekness of heart, and humility."

    This is also a good time to refer back to a great quote by Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon. My comment bracketed in red.

    It means therefore to be willing to learn from God and here’s the hard one: the willingness to learn from God not of course as though God will, though of course He might, send us His own divine angelic messenger, normally not. Normally God teaches us through the circumstances of our daily lives. Especially those most painful circumstances called other people [which, for priests, can be the bishop, and for the bishop - a priest]. That’s where we tend to be less than docile. Openness then to God’s teaching us especially through all whom He places into our lives. It is great, great wisdom to be so disposed as to be ready to learn from and I mean it, everyone from the youngest child to the oldest speaking to religious golden or diamond jubilarian .


    If you want to catch up on documents and statements released, Al Kresta has a pretty good collection here.  Some of these go back to earlier in the year.

    American Papist, Tom Peters opines about he "picket" and a few other things, as well.

    *Update - September 17, 2011 Quote from Dr. Mirus' article added

    For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

    Te Deum Laudamus! Home

    The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
    Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.


    Nick Childers said...

    Perhaps his Bishop has ordered him into silence, so he can't talk to the pro-life group.

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


    Bishop Zurek didn't specifically order Fr. Pavone into silence that we know of.... yet.

    I think if Fr. Pavone's daily publicity campaign on this affair continues, he will have pushed enough of the right buttons for that to come next.

    Anonymous said...

    This is insanity.

    Chaos, confusion and disorder no matter which way I turn. Satan must be having a field-day.


    Alan Aversa said...

    Since you quoted Can. 1373, let me quote Can. 212 §3.: "According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons."

    If CBR's display "incites among subjects animosities or hatred against" the bishop, it would do so only accidentally. CBR would like all bishops to make abortion their dioceses' top social justice issue, and showing their displays is the only way, so the bishops will seriously listen, "to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful". CBR's opinion in this specific case is that bishops must support—not suppress, as a bishop recently did for 40 Day for Life—pro-life efforts.

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


    The webpage for the "Informational Pickets" that CBR is leading has inflammatory language that leaves no room whatsoever for a misunderstanding. It also leaves no room for the possibility, that while Bishop Zurek was imperfect in the way he communicated his concerns to brother bishops, and may have committed errors, he could have legitimate issues that need attention.

    With regards to any errors he may have committed in his communication (i.e., "suspension"), there are means to fix such things.

    Further, even if.... if... the bishop has himself committed rash judgments against Fr. Frank, communicated falsehoods in his letter to other bishops, or anything other immoral action, it does not give anyone the right to respond with rash judgments of the bishop's action.

    There is no "eye-for-an-eye".

    Each of us is responsible for our own actions in a given situation and because someone else does something, it does not give us license to return the thing in kind.

    As I said in my post, we - that is you, I, CBR, and even the staff of PFL, have only a portion of the information iceberg.

    CBR's "Information Picket" is utterly ridiculous and imprudent, and lacking in consideration for the harm it may cause to 7 year olds who don't need to see gigantic pictures of mutilated dead bodies on signs, on the sides ob billboard trucks, and flying from banners in the sky or wherever.

    It's totally misguided and if Fr. Pavone doesn't disavow this kind of tactic done in his name, it will really lower my opinion of him.

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

    And while we are discussing 212 §3 which I will repeat (emphasis in bold, mine): "According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons."

    I don't see anything reverent about the kind of "Free Fr. Pavone" from his "ecclesiastical 'house arrest'"
    so called, "information picket".

    Matthew M said...

    Ah yes, the 'Cult of Personality" strikes again.
    The one thing in this post that jumped out at me and I totally agree with is #3:
    "Personal Apostolic Commitments Don’t Trump a Vocation"

    People have lost sight of this no matter how successful or great their ministry commitment .

    Alan Aversa said...

    Sr. Diane: Yes, I agree that CBR's Gregg Cunningham should've omitted calling it an "ecclesiastical 'house arrest'." CBR is largely a Protestant, Evangelical organization, so their denial that the Church is apostolic clearly shows here. This only highlights the fact that the pro-life battle can only be won from within the unified Catholic Church.

    Still, Cunningham is right when he says: "A global battle is raging within Catholicism between clerics who believe the church should do more to fight abortion and those who believe the church should do less." This is essentially the whole Canon 915 controversy.

    You write: "CBR's "Information Picket" is utterly ridiculous and imprudent, and lacking in consideration for the harm it may cause to 7 year olds who don't need to see gigantic pictures of mutilated dead bodies on signs, on the sides ob billboard trucks, and flying from banners in the sky or wherever."

    Isn't what those pictures depict what is "utterly ridiculous and imprudent, and lacking in consideration for the harm it" causes our unborn brothers and sisters? Fr. Pavone is a complete supporter of the usage of graphic images; he is famous for saying: "America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion."

    As for Dr. Jeff Mirus's commentary about Fr. Frank neglecting his vocation, this is also utterly ridiculous! Does he really think Fr. Frank doesn't pray everyday, say mass, give the sacraments, obey his bishop, etc.? His wife, the Church, is certainly telling him not to neglect the 1.2 million children every year who never even had the chance to be baptized! The corporal and spiritual works of mercy are not a humanistic "service project" that trumps his priestly vocation; they build upon it. Did Christ mean to exempt priests from feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, etc. (Matthew 25)? Certainly not. Even the cloistered contemplatives assist in this through their ardent prayers.

    Padre Pio absolved a woman who had an abortion. Her child would have been a great pope (source). Similarly, Fr. Frank knows that at least 11 million future Catholics have been aborted since Roe v. Wae; that means at least 2,000 priestly vocations lost.

    Father John Boyle said...

    Diane: I think you have made a very incisive analysis of this matter. I have refrained from mentioning it on my blog but am glad that you and Dr Peters have.

    As much as I admire Fr Pavone's pro-life work, his first duty is to respect and obedience towards his Ordinary. It's a promise we priests made on our ordination day.

    There is nothing unjust in being recalled by one's bishop to his diocese and even, if such ends up being the case, to abandon a flourishing apostolate to take up some humble appointment as an ordinary priest. This is not a punishment or a penalty -it's simply what we are ordained for. Fr Pavone's promise to undertake pro-life work for the rest of his life is worthless in the sight of God when compared to the higher good of obedience.

    Laura said...

    Putting all other aspects and details of this situation aside for now--I want to speak to the "apostolic commitment does not trump a vocation" comment.

    I've been involved in the pro-life movement in various capacities for many years. Part of me would like to take a long break from it or move onto other things. What keeps me going is the grace of realizing that our culture is in a state of crisis. Not a one-time or short-term series of tragedies or losses, but an ongoing crisis that is worsening. Almost forty years of abortion on demand, all over the world. Abortions available in pharmaceutical form to do at home. Abortions to reduce multiple pregnancies to single pregnancies. Abortions to end the life of the young who may have disabilities. Harvesting stem cells from fetuses. The move to limit reasonable, life-sustaining medical care to the more vulnerable in our society. The heartache, pain and separation from God experienced by so many people because they've undergone abortions, encouraged them or participated in them in some way.

    Its a quiet crisis--there are not the planes and burning buildings that we recalled last week, but a crisis all the same.

    These times call for planning and prudence--but also boldness. And creative vision. The late Cardinal O'Connor gave permission and resources to form Priests for Life. He stepped out and made this unusual decision because he "got" that it was a needed and important means of response to this current culture of death. PFL priests know the life issues well and are very effective in communicating them to all kinds of audiences. They serve as a resource to priests throughout the world who need information and support in this area, brother priest to brother priest. I'm sure that, along the way, Fr. Frank and his fellow priests have celebrated thousands of Masses, prayed many rosaries and have heard countless confessions. And they've been an instrument both in saving babies and bringing souls back to the Lord.

    If this isn't a vocation, then I'm missing something.

    Daniel said...

    First off, I suppose congratulations are deserved after having discovered that the Te Deum twitter account is one of only four followed by JohnCorapi's twitter account along with Fox News, Ariana Huffington, and the Huffington Post.

    It seems to have turned out that Bishop Zurek sent out a letter to bishops in January to make it clear that Priests for Life and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life have no canonical status. The MGL website say they are both the same canonical entity, which they say the single entity is an "Association of the Faithful". It would seem that it might be a private Association of the Faithful but with no ecclesial approval.

    The letter by Bishop Zurek also indicates the MGL as a religious order was rather quickly suppressed by his predecessor, Bishop Yanta. Fr. Pavone appealed the suppression to the Congregation for Institutes for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and lost the appeal. He then appealed to the Apostolic Signatura and the appeal was rejected. That seems to make it likely that appealing to the Vatican in the current decision may not get much more support than his previous appeals.

    It would seem to come down to that Fr. Pavone is working for a secular corporation that has no canonical status with the Church. Under canon 285.4, he can have such employment only with the permission of his bishop.

    One of the related organizations, Gospel of Life Ministries, seems to have already lost exempt status on the basis of not having filed their information returns for more than 3 consecutive years. It seems Rachel's Vineyard and PFL may not have filed such returns themselves since their 2008 returns unless they have just recently done so.

    Terry Nelson said...

    Diane, thanks for your very objective post - great job. I agree with Fr.Boyle's remarks.

    God bless us - every one!

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


    With regards to Corapi following me on Twitter - yeah, I noticed it. Back then, I couldn't imagine why he would follow me, of all people.

    RC said...

    Some folks have complained that Priests for Life has been late in its IRS filings, and that does appear to be the case, but I would only call them late for one year.

    The 2008 IRS filings (Form 990) was done in November 2009. It's not unusual that they took 11 months to get it done: a lot of charities take about a year.

    The document is public record, and you can read it for free through the charity information site

    The 2009 forms are not visible on, so they probably haven't reached IRS yet. That long a delay (20 months) does stick out, so it's fair to question whether PFL has filed: and if not, what is behind the delay.

    (It is possible that the forms have been filed very recently: guidestar takes about 2 months to get the forms after IRS receives them.)

    The 2010 forms are not at guidestar either, but since only 8 months have elapsed since 2010, I wouldn't call this late yet.

    Daniel said...

    I would concede that the 2010 return is not all that late and they may have filed for an extension. If you used Guidestar to check on Gospel of Life Ministries, they are shown to have had their status revoked for failure to file for at least three straight years. It's quite possible that they've recently files all of their returns to catch up and have the exempt status revoked. All of this is not necessarily a reflection upon Fr. Pavone beyond that he is the director, and someone under him was not keeping up with their job. You would not know that from his statements or that the bishop may have some justification for his concern about stewardship.

    Anonymous said...

    For me the sad part about all of this is that either Pavone or Zurek has to emerge from all of this a tad tainted. Whether Pavone mistakenly or with intent has done something foolish with donations is one possibility. That Zurek went public with this without just cause is another possibility. But if it turns out that Zurek had good cause to haul in Pavone, unlike many U.S. bishops when confronted with controversy, he didn't hesitate to act. But lets say Pavone is clean as a whistle and is sent back to do his good work still under Zurek or some other bishop. I know that I will never again view him as a clerical Bill Donohue, loud in behalf of truth and important to the cause of truth. I will, I'm afraid, from now on view him as a champion of a great cause but a pompous, egotistical champion who should have kept his mouth shut until the matter was finished and done with. Pavone's problem is a "sin" of the intellect unlike Corapi whose problem has always been sins of the flesh. That's my opinion at this time and I hope I am proven wrong.

    Logan said...

    I would imagine that all people who were expecting to see Fr. Frank at an upcoming event, especially those who are planning those events, were extremely confused and upset when they received notice that he would not be coming anymore. Those feeling could only be aggravated when the letter from Bishop Zurek to the other bishops made it out to the public eye. Fr. Pavone needed to respond publicly and clear as much of the misinformation and speculation as possible. As far as the people taking matters into their own hands, that's all that is. People are lashing out, acting extremely but I don't see how that is Fr. Frank's fault. They’ve gotten the notion that Fr. Frank, a person they love to hear speak, may not be able to do this anymore. Their big question is “WHY?”. The way I’ve seen Fr. Pavone’s statements so far is basically him telling everyone not to worry, the notion they have is incorrect and hopefully this will be all over soon.

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

    Well, and it's an interesting question on which side really leaked the letter, isn't it?

    We don't really know, do we?

    With regards to those who had him scheduled to speak, as I stated in the body of my post, as serious chink in the armor of PFL has been revealed here.

    God forbid Fr. Pavone should get into a car accident and be laid up for weeks or months. What kind of contingent plans are there? Has he made taken the time to elevate other priests in PFL who can also draw a crowd, besides himself?

    Further, it is somewhat disconcerting that people need a celebrity in order to come out. Are they coming out for themselves to hear Fr. Pavone, or are they coming out for the unborn?

    I find the same problem sometimes here in Detroit. All of the bishops have led prayer vigils. Sometimes a monsignor or priest of the diocese must lead a vigil. Why does one draw 500, but another only 250 or 300, when weather and conditions are the same? Here again, are the people coming to pray for the unborn, or because a particular bishop or priest is showing up.

    I'm just sayin'

    Alan Aversa said...

    Excellent points, Sr. Diane

    I never knew the letter was leaked. I thought it was strange that Bp. Zurek would have wanted this to be public matter. Usually bishops only make it a public matter to avoid scandal that not proclaiming it publicly would cause, as Phoenix's Bp. Olmsted did when publicly proclaiming Sr. Margaret McBride's self-incurred excommunication for allowing a direct abortion to occur in a Catholic hospital. If he did not proclaim it publicly, then the media would've not only picked up on the fact that a Catholic hospital performed an abortion but also that the bishop remained silence on that fact. Bp. Olmsted handled it the best he could, minimizing scandal; hopefully Bp. Zurek is doing the same.

    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


    I have seen a good many comments elsewhere, and even some blogposts referring to Bishop Zurek's letter to bishops as a "public letter". Not so.

    However, none of us will ever know which side leaked it, or whether some staffer in any bishop's office seeing the communication, with their own agenda, leaked it.

    As an aside, as a secular Carmelite, I simply go by Diane. ;)

    adfowlkes71 said...

    I am not a Roman Catholic, yet I do believe it is wrong to murder innocent lives (even on a mass scale). I don't know much about the canons and such, but I figured that the preaching of the Kingdom (which does include moral teachings gleaned from Scripture (or tradition, or just plain reason) was not outside any jurisdiction.

    Alan Aversa said...

    @adfowlkes71: There is the issue of incardination (cc. 265-272) that Ed Peters discusses on his blog.

    Anonymous said...
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

    Deleted last comment as I felt the linked post which may have had some legitimate points, also descended into inappropriate name calling. I'll leave it at that.

    Anonymous said...

    I feel a personal indebtedness to Fr. Pavone for bring the abortion tragedy into the public life and discussion. Seeing Fr. Pavone personally, made me feel the power of his ministry. The Terri Schiavo case is one where he went above and beyond to save the life of that young woman and for that deed alone, he should be respected and be restored to the ministry which he began.

    Patrick said...

    upon reading this sad story, the suffering of Padre Pio came to my mind. He suffered for many years from public prayer, such as offering Mass and the confessional. Not a word of complaint from him. Sometimes we need to humble ourselves before the Lord and let Him lead. Trusting in Him alone. God Bless! Patrick