Priests for Life, ran into a dispute with Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek regarding the bishop’s decision to indefinitely have Pavone serve in the Texas diocese and prevent him from engaging in active full-time pro-life ministry.
The bishop’s decision has been filled with controversy — with some pro-life advocates blasting him for preventing Pavone from actively engaging in his pro-life ministry and others saying the bishop’s decision should be respected. Zurek alleges that there are financial irregularities at Priests for Life despite annual audits from one of the nation’s top accounting firms.
Pavone took his case to the Vatican to help mediate the dispute and the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy upheld Fr. Pavone’s position that he was never suspended from priestly ministry.
“We are happy to announce that the Vatican has upheld Father Frank Pavone’s appeal and has declared that Father Pavone is not now nor has ever been suspended. Father Pavone remains a priest in good standing all over the world,” Priests for Life said in a public statement. “We were confident all along that a just decision would be made by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. While we fully agree that Bishop Zurek has rightful authority over the priests of his diocese, we also see the urgent need for Father Pavone to be allowed to conduct his priestly ministry outside the diocese of Amarillo for the good of the pro-life movement.”
LifeNews spoke at length with Father Pavone, who is very pleased by the ruling and is looking down the road to working more closely with the Vatican to establish Priests for Life and its various pro-life ministries and outreaches more formally with the Catholic Church.
Jerry Horn, Senior Advisor to Fr. Frank Pavone, also talked more about the decision.
“We’re very excited to share this good news,” he said. “It means we can now give even more attention and energy to all the ongoing, vital pro-life programs we have on our docket right now. There’s so much going on right now. That’s why we’re elated to receive the good news from the Vatican regarding Fr. Frank’s status.”
“The last nine months have taken their toll on our finances. Even our most loyal supporters have been understandably hesitant to contribute at their usual levels,” he said. “But now, the Church authority has spoken – and ruled in favor of Fr. Frank.”