In response to his recent suspension, Priests for Life leader Frank Pavone floated the possibility of starting a “religious order” for “religious and laypeople who feel called to give their whole lives to the pro-life cause.”
Pavone, a prominent figure in the anti-abortion movement, was recently suspended from taking part in his anti-abortion activities due to allegations of “financial improprieties.”
In a letter addressing the allegations against Pavone, the bishop who suspended Pavone said that Priests for Life had “become a business that is quite lucrative which provides Father Pavone with financial independence from all legitimate ecclesiastical oversight.”
Catholics for Choice, a religious abortion rights advocacy group, said in a statement that “Pavone has used his own image and personality to promote his cause, posting large photographs of himself in a wide variety of materials, especially outdoor advertising.”
In response to the allegations, anti-abortion groups have stood by Pavone and claim the allegations are “unfounded attacks.”
Pavone recently spoke on his own behalf about the controversy on the EWTN — a Catholic television station. He said he was considering creating a ministry within the Catholic Church that would allow him to fight abortion rights.
According to EWTN:
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, has said that if his bishop does not allow him to return to full-time pro-life work, he will consider being incardinated in a different diocese or founding a religious order to continue his pro-life ministry.
The well-known pro-life priest also said that he had been actively talking with Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo, Texas for months about spending more time in the diocese before the bishop forbid him from ministry outside of the diocese.
… Fr. Pavone stated that he is “confident” that he will be able to work toward a positive resolution with both Bishop Zurek and the Vatican. He believes that part of the solution may lie in creating a new type of pro-life ministry within the Church.
Canon law allows for many movements and structures within the Church, Fr. Pavone explained. Religious communities are the most well-known, but there are also other ways to commit to a particular cause within the Church.
He said that he would be open to pursuing such a structure to welcome the commitments of both religious and lay people who feel called to give their whole lives to the pro-life cause.
Fr. Pavone pointed to saints who founded religious orders to devote their lives to working with the poor or disabled. Opposition from the local church was sometimes present as part of the “growing pains” of beginning their ministry, he explained.
Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life and is president of the National Pro-Life Religious Council. In a statement Pavone released with Priests for Life, Pavone accused Planned Parenthood of “targeting the abortion of black babies.” He also said the chain of health clinics “is eager and willing to cover up the prostitution enslavement of young girls — including minorities — so long as they make money doing it.”
The National Pro-Life Religious Council recently announced it was standing “in solidarity” with Pavone.