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PHOENIX, ARIZ. DEC. 18, 2022  •  Catholics for Catholics has called for transparency of process in Father Frank Pavone’s dismissal. Father Pavone, 63, a renowned pro-life activist and U.S. director of Priests for Life was dismissed from the priesthood for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.” Confirming this dramatic event was Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the U.S., in a letter stating that the decision had been issued Nov. 9, adding that there was “no possibility of appeal.” Pavone said that he only became aware of the decision when asked about it by a reporter on Dec. 17.

“Father Pavone was 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,” said a statement attached to Pierre’s letter. “It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions.”

Pierre’s communication gives no further detail and refers to Pavone as “a lay person.”

The Catholic Church, somewhat like the U.S. and its Constitution, is driven by a set of rules called Canon Law. Under these precepts, only the Pope can issue such a decision without appeal. Even then, the lack of public form around Pavone’s dismissal has sent a shock through the Catholic community and Catholics for Catholics is deeply alarmed by the events as they have unfolded. “The pro-life movement is already shaken by dubious surveillance of private citizens, arrests and imprisonment of a number of pro-life vanguards,” said John Yep, Catholics for Catholics spokesperson. “Conducting the disciplinary process of a public figure and influencer in such an opaque manner, with such a severe penalty builds suspicion in Catholics already suffering from distrust of authority.”

“The news of the laicization of Father Pavone has shocked the pro-life world. Many are especially shocked at the dismissive manner in which it was done,” said Father James Altman, spiritual advisor to Catholics for Catholics. “On a most basic level, the disrespect for a man’s life and his accomplishments—it’s just dismissive. Normal canonical protocol would be to inform the recipient of the punishment directly—not let him learn of it from the news. The lack of humanity of our leaders is painful, let alone the lack of clarity around such severe allegations. Child molesters got a free pass for half a century while their infractions were covered up—this is now widely known. But a priest on the frontline of fighting for life in the womb—at least we could know what warranted such an extreme penalty.”

“Holding to Church truth is vital in all ages,” said Yep. “But such sudden and severe action without transparency—toward a priest who has been such a champion of the pro-life cause and a pivotal influencer in the 2016 election, which contributed to the path to overturning Roe V Wade—this cannot be discounted.”

“The defrocking of Father Pavone, again, exposes the infiltration of the Catholic hierarchy by Marxist men who persecute good,” said General Michael Flynn, Catholics for Catholics senior advisor. “We love our Catholic faith and will not sit back as these men persecute priests in the cloak of darkness. We must know what precipitated such extreme action. If it is just, light will prove it so. The lack of transparency makes the entire scheme suspect. It is time for the faithful to push back against those who remain silent in the face of the destruction of our Church and country. This cannot stand.”

Catholics for Catholics