Tell me this man doesn't have a tin ear.
It's September 17, the bishop chastised him on September 9, and in the intervening eight days, he's sent out TWO, count 'em, TWO appeals for money even though he knows full well that his own bishop has serious concerns about his fiscal accountability!
This is unconscionable.
In the first e-mail, he and his staff lied to his donors.
Then, when he realized his donors knew what was going on and were angry at the bishop, he used his donors' anger to double down and appeal for more cash.
I'm sorry, but at this point, I firmly believe Fr. Pavone is a money-grubbing worm.
He's got ZERO business doing this until a little more clarity is brought to the situation.
The man should at least show a little respect for his bishop - no matter what else - and hold off on begging for funds for a few weeks. He's barely waited a few days.
Now, to be clear, I don't have a problem with lay people going after bishops on doctrinal issues. Everyone should go after bishops when they get doctrine wrong - lay people, priests, brother bishops, whoever. A person is only bound to follow a bishop insofar as he does not violate doctrine. Once he does, the duty to obey him is gone.
And on prudential issues, lay people can certainly make clear their disagreement with the bishop. They can even do it in a public way, if they want. That's the beautiful thing about being Catholic - there are some prudential issues on which good Catholics can disagree.
But when it comes to a priest disagreeing with his bishop, the priest has a duty to maintain his vow of obedience. He can still disagree, but he cannot do so publicly, even if the bishop is prudentially in the wrong. The priest has a duty not to undermine his bishop's authority, since the priest's authority flows from that of the bishop.
It doesn't matter whether the priest is heading a private corporation, occupying a political office or doing something that is under direct diocesan control - the man took a sacred vow to obey the bishop and uphold his authority, and he's bound by that vow. Even if his corporation is not bound by the vow, the man is.
Fr. Pavone is now directly undermining his own bishop's authority.
He is no better than Fr. Michael Pfleger in Chicago, or any other disobedient priest.
September 17, 2011
I sent you this urgent email because I have some important issues that concern you, me, our work together at Priests for Life, and the entire pro-life movement here in the United States.
In light of all that’s happened in the past couple weeks – and again, I’ll discuss this with you in just a moment – it is vital that you maintain your unconditional support for Priests for Life and the fight to end legalized abortion-on-demand in America. Right now that means doing whatever is necessary to click here and send Priests for Life the largest gift you can possibly make today. Not an hour from now. Not later this evening. Not tomorrow. But right now!
Forgive me for being so blunt, but there’s a reason for it.
Due to all the many and various means of getting information today, I have no idea what you may or may not have heard or read about me and my bishop, the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek.
In any case, over-zealous members of an abortion-friendly news media, as well as enemies directly involved with the abortion industry, have spent the past week or so spreading a lot of misinformation and totally false allegations against me and Priests for Life.
I suspect they did so in the hope that you, as well as everyone else who makes our work possible, might pull back on your support … or abandon us completely.
In order to keep you from falling victim to their agenda, I decided the best course of action would be to go on the offensive and tell you everything that’s happened over the past two weeks so that you will have no misgivings whatsoever in continuing to support Priests for Life as faithfully and as generously as you have in the past.
You can also click here and watch a short YouTube message I recorded while here in Amarillo.
In any case, here’s the official position of the Amarillo diocese concerning me:
1. I am not suspended and I never was. You can call the Amarillo chancery if you feel like you need to. The number is 806 – 383 – 2243. You’ll probably be connected to Deacon Floyd Ashley, the diocese’s Executive Assistant. He will confirm what I just told you.
2. I have not lost any of my priestly faculties. Again, Deacon Ashley will confirm that.
3. And I know this will be of great interest to you, Monsignor Harold Waldow, the Vicar of Clergy for the Amarillo Diocese, has sent out a letter in which he states that I have not been “charged with any malfeasance” nor even been “accused of any wrong doing with the financial matters of Priests for Life.”
4. While Bishop Zurek wants to clear up any and all misunderstandings, he made it clear that he does not want the work of Priests for Life to be harmed.
5. For the time being, my ministry is restricted to the diocese of Amarillo and it will remain restricted until Bishop Zurek and I can sit down and reach a mutual understanding on my dual role as both a priest in his diocese and a priest dedicated to pro-life work on a full-time basis.
There you have it. That’s it. That’s everything.
So for now I am here in Amarillo anxiously awaiting Bishop Zurek’s return from a trip he’d scheduled some time ago so we can have our meeting and I can get on with the work of leading the People of Life to victory over abortion.
And in the end, that’s all I’m concerned with.
Because no matter what happens to me personally, the fight against abortion must continue without pause and without interruption.
But that fight is in real jeopardy now because of a misunderstanding between my bishop and me that someone leaked out to a news media filled with individuals who would like nothing better than to fracture the pro-life movement and bring Priests for Life down.
I’m writing to assure you that I am doing everything I can to keep that from happening.
Still, I’m not so naïve as to think that there won’t be some fallout from this situation.
In spite of the fact that I am a member in good standing on the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life; that 21 bishops and cardinals sit on the Priests for Life Episcopal Advisory Board; that dozens of outstanding and highly respected pro-life leaders endorse Priests for Life’s ministry, the fact remains that there are a great many pro-life individuals who will read the headlines and think that I have been suspended or that Priests for Life has been dissolved.
Again, neither situation is even remotely true.
But in today’s world, more often than not, perception is truth.
And those heralds of the culture of death who seek to destroy Priests for Life and undermine the pro-life movement will use my current situation to mislead people into thinking that they are wasting their precious pro-life dollars by entrusting them to Priests for Life.
I simply cannot afford for you to fall victim to their lies and campaign of misinformation. So even though I am deeply grateful for the outpouring of support that I continue to receive from people all across the country, and even from around the world … … the only support I’m interested in securing right now is yours! That’s because there are literally millions of men and women here in the United States who share our pro-life convictions to one degree or another.
Regrettably, however, only a small percentage of them have the same commitment and dedication as you do. These are the people who will read the headlines and be fooled into thinking that they should hold off on giving any more financial support to Priests for Life until my situation is resolved.
But that’s precisely what the devil wants them to do.
After years of extremely hard work and a lot of personal sacrifice on your part, we’ve got the abortion industry on the ropes! The polls show this. The efforts in states all across the country show this.
Now is not the time to restrict our work. It’s time to advance it! Full speed ahead!
But we cannot possibly do that if you abandon Priests for Life in this its hour of greatest need.
So please click here right now and make as large a contribution to Priests for Life as you possibly can.
Please do this before you delete my email and go on to your next one.
In asking you to trust me in this way, I want to make it very clear to you that Priests for Life is above reproach in its financial management and the stewardship of the monies it has received from you and other dedicated pro-lifers.
And as relieved as I am to learn of Monsignor Waldow’s letter confirming that, I must tell you that I’m not in the least surprised.
That’s because I am painfully aware of the many sacrifices which you and other supporters make to send Priests for Life the contributions that enable us to fulfill our pro-life mission. I would never betray the trust you have put in me.
You have my word on that.
And if you have any concerns about how your dollars are spent, call us up and ask. Come and visit our offices. Priests for Life is an open book and has absolutely nothing to hide.
Now let me address another important matter.
Due to the serious ramifications of how some in the news media, as well as those working to advance the abortion agenda, have used Bishop Zurek’s letter to attack me and Priests for Life, I felt it necessary to begin a process of appeal to the Vatican. This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life.
I am extremely confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion. And you will be pleased to know that, based on that confidence …
… we are not currently making any changes in any positions at Priests for Life, or in any of our projects and plans.
In closing, let me assure you that Priests for Life will continue to be out front leading the fight against abortion.
I refuse to allow this current incident to deter me from giving everything I have to the cause of life.
Our bishops correctly teach that the right to life is the fundamental right upon which all human rights are based. Our nation’s founding documents insist that the first of man’s inalienable rights, those that come to us from God alone, is his RIGHT TO LIFE!!!
Knowing this, Priests for Life will continue to support our bishops here in the U.S. and act as a megaphone to help spread their pro-life statements far and wide.
What’s more, Priests for Life will continue to serve dioceses – both clergy and laity – without asking for so much as a penny in compensation … no speakers fees, no reimbursements to cover travel expenses when we preach at parishes, no printing costs to help pay for the millions of pieces of pro-life literature we provide for dioceses at no charge, nothing.
Our commitment to winning the fight against abortion remains firm and complete.
And we will not be deterred in the work God has called us to fulfill.
Again, though, in order to make good on that commitment, Priests for Life must have your financial help … especially now when so many false stories and news reports are out there damaging our reputation and our good name.
So if you haven’t already done so, please click here and make as large a contribution to Priests for Life as you possibly can.
I cannot write to every American and tell them the truth.
But I can write to you. And that’s what I’ve done today.
Like I said, as grateful as I am for all the support and encouragement I’ve received over the past several days, the only person I’m interested in hearing from right now is you!
By making a contribution to Priests for Life today, you’ll be telling me that you’re still with us.
And if ever I needed to hear that from you, now is the time.
Finally, know that in anticipation of your receiving your reply to this email, I am praying for you; especially at each Mass that I offer. Thank you again for your constancy and your commitment. May God bless you.
Fr. Frank Pavone
PS There is one more thing I need you to do: PRAY! Pray for Bishop Zurek. Pray for me. Pray for all those who may be harmed as a result of this minor misunderstanding … in particular, our unborn brothers and sisters. Thank you again for your friendship and trust. I do not know how I would ever survive trials such as these without you and dear friends like you. God bless.
NOTE: If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to Priests for Life and send it to us at PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314. If you have any questions, call us toll-free at 888-735-3448 x232.
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