Extremist Anti-Abortion Catholic Priest Defrocked For "Blasphemous" Posts

Anti-abortion priest Frank Pavone was defrocked by the Vatican over “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience” to his bishop, who persistently asked him to stop his partisan activism for former US President Donald Trump.

In a letter to American bishops from the Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the decision to unfrock Pavone, who is also the head of the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, had already been made on November 9, and there was no chance for an appeal.

His former diocese of Amarillo, Texas, had already investigated Pavone for placing an aborted fetus in an altar and posting a video of it on two social media websites back in 2016. Pavone accompanied the video with a post arguing that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party would allow abortion to continue. At the same time, Donald Trump and the Republican Party would protect the life of the unborn.

Before that, Pavone successfully appealed to ease restrictions placed on his ministry by Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek in 2011. He also relocated from Amarillo, Texas, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and remained active with Priests for Life.

Pavone continues to firmly support former President Donald Trump, who was praised by conservatives for nominating Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade that guaranteed the constitutional right to abortion.

His Twitter account shows him wearing a “MAGA” hat with a background photo of former President Donald Trump. Pavone also disputed the results of the 2020 elections won by current President Joe Biden. Ahead of the election, the Amarillo diocese denounced Pavone for using social media for partisan purposes. The diocese also distanced itself from him and said that Pavone’s views weren’t consistent with Catholic teaching.

Reacting to the decision to defrock him, Pavone remained defiant and compared his fate to the unborn in a Tweet.

So in every profession, including the priesthood, if you defend the #unborn, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we are ‘aborted,’ we continue to speak, loud and clear.” Pavone tweeted.

He also appeared in a social media video wearing a black leather biker jacket over his priestly collar against a faux backdrop of St. Peter’s Basilica. He vowed to continue the war against abortion. Pavone also denounced the “cancel culture” of the Catholic Church, which he claimed to have persecuted him for decades.

Pavone also released a statement from his Priests for Life website, claiming that his dismissal from his ecclesiastical duties was “the result of an abusive process,” He is considering taking legal action against unnamed US bishops.

His supporters and allies condemned Pavone’s laicization, including Joseph Strickland, the bishop of Tyler, Texas. He also described Joe Biden’s support of abortion rights as “evil.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre cited details from Congregation for Clergy in his letter that a canonical proceeding found Pavone guilty of “blasphemous communications on social media and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.

The letter also said that Pavone had ample opportunity to defend himself and submit to his bishop. The statement also concluded that since the Priests for Life isn’t a Catholic organization, it would be up to them if they would allow Pavone to resume his duties as a layperson.

Laicization, or being reduced to a lay state, is one of the harshest punishments in the Catholic Church’s canon law.

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