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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Slouching Towards Honesty

Father Pavone is beginning to sound like any of a number of Catholic bloggers who regularly beg for cash to feed themselves, their birds, their neighbor's cats, and what-have-you.
September 27, 2011
(Thank you for your support of Priests for Life. If you already responded to the following appeal online, I appreciate your support. This email is intended for those who did not respond when we sent it previously.) 
Dear Steve and Veronica,
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!

Notice that Father has finally taken the opportunity to clarify his bishop's motivations.



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.  


Wow - that was generous of him. 


It only took him to .... what? .... the fourth or fifth appeal for funds before he laid that out?


So, for all of you who are laying malicious allegations at the bishop's door, Father Pavone is saying you should stop. 


According to Father Pavone, his bishop has no ulterior motives, just genuine concern about Father Pavone.


Now, Father Pavone has still NOT explained why anyone should trust him after he:
  1. attempted to found a religious order that Rome herself ended up having to suppress,
  2. collected money for a seminary he promised to build but never did,
  3. collected money for seminarians who came to him to be formed, but with whom he almost never met,
  4. collected money in July, August and September for a 501(c)(3) that turns out to have lost it's tax-free status in June.
  5. has come up $1.4 million short despite having been given tens of millions by gullible donors.


I'm sure there's an excellent explanation for all that. I'm sure he can explain: 
  • where the missing seminary money went, 
  • why he let the tax-exempt status lapse, 
  • why he didn't tell donors the truth about the seminary funds, 
  • or tell his donors the truth about the missing tax-exempt status, 
  • or even the truth about his rocky relationship with his own bishop.
And if you pay him enough money, maybe he'll tell you what all those explanations are.


But I doubt it.




UPDATE:
Oh, LOOK!
He's asking for money again today:

September 28, 2011
....As you can see, there is a lot of work for us to do. And it can’t possibly get done without your immediate help today!   So please click here and provide as much financial support to Rachel’s Vineyard as you possibly can. 

His bishop obviously isn't back yet...


UPDATE II:
Oh, LOOK!
He's got his friend (Troy Newman, Operation Rescue) asking for money on his behalf:

September 29, 2011
That said …… I urge you in the strongest way I can to click here and send Priests for Life a much-needed contribution!And please do this RIGHT NOW … before you hit the “delete” button and go on to your next email.


And you know he's serious because the post was titled "It's About the Babies".
It's also about four major appeals for money in less than 2000 words.

Three days, three appeals for cash.

Update III:

Sigh.... At least they took the weekend off...


October 4, 2011That said …… I urge you in the strongest way I can to click here and send Priests for Life a much-needed contribution!And please do this RIGHT NOW … before you hit the “delete” button and go on to your next email.




Thursday, September 22, 2011

Comparing Priests

If you want to see another example of the useless dissonance that Father Pavone has caused, one has just come to hand.

Father Pavone is publicly fighting with his bishop over money.

Father Rodriguez is publicly fighting an entire town over sodomy.

But when his bishop punishes Fr. Rodriguez by removing the good priest to the farthest reaches of the diocese, when the parish Fr. Rodriguez administers is essentially shut down for three days (no Masses, no confessions, no substantive responses from the chancery office when parishioners call), when that parish - whose coffers have become full through his orthodoxy, his preaching, his administration of the Extraordinary Form Mass - when all of that is stripped away and he is required to move everything he owns with roughly 24 hours notice, Father Rodriguez responds by saying,
"I was ordained to the Catholic priesthood to offer sacrifice and teach the only truth which brings salvation and happiness. The priesthood is my greatest joy. In the present circumstances, I intend to try even harder to be a good, holy priest. Obedience to my bishop is essential to the priesthood."
Anyone who can look at Fr. Pavone, compare what he's said publicly to Fr. Rodriguez' public statements, and call Fr. Pavone's performance anything other than a disgusting travesty by a showboating, money-grubbing narcissist has me completely at a loss.

Fr. Rodriguez fought over doctrine, not money.
He did not fight his bishop - if he did, we have no public evidence of it.
He stuck to the fight that mattered - the dissemination of bad theology.
Father Rodriguez is a good and holy priest.
Father Pavone is not.

It saddens me to say that the Bishop of El Paso is morally in the wrong on this one.

The bishop has the legal and canonical right to move his priests wherever he wants for any reason he wants, but what he's doing - backing away from a fight through fear of the IRS - is simply wrong.

UPDATE:
Fr. Pavone NEVER disappoints.
He begs for money again today:

September 22, 2011
Dear Steve and Veronica,
Below you’ll find some updates about some of our recent Priests for Life activity. Thank you for being involved.
We are working out all the misunderstandings with my bishop here in Amarillo. As we do so, I’m amazed at how many people think they know more about the situation than I do, and pontificate on blogs and websites all over the place. If anything that anyone says raises questions in your mind, please know that you can get the updates and accurate information at www.priestsforlife.org/update.
I encourage you to get to know the presidential candidates by watching tonight's debate on Fox News at 9 p.m. ET.  We are to be smart, attentive, and informed, and we need to get to know the candidates as far in advance as possible.
We are happy to bring your attention to the fact that next month, our friend and colleague Teresa Tomeo releases her newest book, “Extreme Makeover,” which talks about women transformed by Christ, not conformed to the culture. Our own Executive Director, Janet Morana, is featured in the book. Janet and Teresa co-host the new EWTN series “The Catholic View for Women,” along with Astrid Bennett-Gutierrez, of Hispanics for Life.....
I aslo encourage you to do two things:
a) Keep focused on the work and the projects, such as the developments I mention below and will continue to update you about, and
b) Please increase your donations to Priests for Life so that despite the efforts of our detractors to slow us down, we can speed up instead!
One final word. One commentator was silly enough to state that Priests for Life, as my “baby,” had to be given for adoption or would die. I have news for that person: Priests for Life isn’t a baby anymore; it is an adult, and a highly respected one. People like Alveda King, our fulltime priests, Janet Morana, Marie Smith, Bryan Kemper and others are fully engaged in the leadership of this family of ministries, and are fully accountable to and cooperative with Church authority, not only in individual dioceses but at the level of the Vatican. Moreover, as we recently announced (but some bloggers apparently missed), we have formed an International Private Association of the Faithful in full accordance with Church law.
So thanks for your support. Forward we go, to victory for the unborn!
Pavone-Signature.jpg
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director





Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Waiting for Pavone

Some of the more unreflective Catholic bloggers on the Internet are calling for Catholics to sit out the fight between the Bishop of Amarillo and Fr. Frank Pavone, the head of Priests for Life.

"I can't choose sides," says the Catholic, "there aren't enough facts for me to decide who is right. I will show how virtuous I am and simply wait for Rome to rule."

This position is absolutely absurd.

Consider:

The bishop of Amarillo has asked all of his brother bishops in the United States to stop their support for Priests for Life until he gets the situation straightened out.

Father Pavone, on the other hand, has sent no less than three (3) mass e-mails blasting out asking... nay, demanding... that we, the lay faithful, give him money and give it RIGHT NOW.

So, if we sit back and "wait for Rome to respond," then we are refusing Father Pavone's three-fold demand.
If, on the other hand, we send money to Father Pavone, we are refusing to accept the bishop's judgement.

Do you hear the rooster crowing?

It doesn't matter that you don't have as much information as you would like to have.

By sitting idle, you have chosen a position.
By doing something, you have chosen a position.

Everyone in this fight has already chosen a position because the principles in this fight have, through their conflicting demands, forced each one of us into one corner or the other.

I'm not even going to ask that you choose.
You already have.


UPDATE:
Catholic Culture appears to agree with me.



Monday, September 19, 2011

SHOCK - Fr. Pavone Asks...

For MORE MONEY!

And it's only Sept 19!
8:58 PM!
(Time stamps seem only appropriate, given how quickly the interval between appeals is shrinking):
September 19, 2011
(Thank you for your support of Priests for Life. If you already responded to the following appeal online, I appreciate your support. This email is intended for those who did not respond when we sent it previously.) 
Dear Steve
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. 

Let's see.... how many direct appeals for cash has Father Pavone and his minions made since Sept 9, when he got reeled back into Amarillo by the bishop for financial improprieties?

We're going to run out of fingers soon...

UPDATE:

Some people have asked how Fr. Pavone's situation differs from that of Fr. Corapi's.

Here's how.

Fr. Corapi was part of a religious community. Religious communities typically encourage all members of the community to pool resources. Indeed, it's not unusual for members to have to ask the head of the order permission even to have pocket money.

In Fr. Corapi's case, he has said (and no one has denied) that, although the rules indicated that all members were to contribute financially to the upkeep of the community, the original interpretation of the rules for his community was that each individual member was to financially support himself and contribute some of what he earned to the general funds. As far as we know, Corapi held to the letter of that law, even if evidence exists that holding to the full spirit of that law was not undertaken.

Now, we don't know exactly how the rule read, nor exactly what the original intrepretation of those rules were. But, when his superiors changed the interpretation, called Fr. Corapi back to live in community and demanded funds from him, they were conceivably acting within their rights, and certainly acting within the historic outlines of what religious communities typically do.

Fr. Pavone, on the other hand, is a diocesan priest. While the pastor of a parish has some freedom on how he spends funds, there are limits on that freedom. He can spend money any way he sees fit, up to a point. Typically, any purchase over a certain size has to be cleared through the chancery office (generally fifty or a hundred thousand - something like that). All books have to be well-kept, and dioceses typically order a full accounting of books every few years. In addition, it's almost always done at the end of a pastor's term in order to keep track of any possible fiscal malfeasance. The only lay advisory council any parish is required to have by canon law is a fiscal council to help oversee the books.

Now, Pavone is not running a parish, he's running a private corporation. Since the corporation was not started by the bishop, the corporation itself is not subject to the bishop's direct fiscal oversight. But, the bishop has not just a right, but a duty to make sure his priests are fiscally responsible. This is not just nosiness, it is a question of scandal on himself as bishop and on the diocese and the priesthood as a whole. Every priest is subject to a bishop somewhere.

Because the bishop has this duty, the bishop has every right to inquire about Fr. Pavone's handling of finances. In point of fact, because Pavone is running a private corporation, Pavone can spend the money any way he wants in any amount he wants and bishop has no legal oversight ability. However, he DOES have moral oversight ability.

If he doesn't like how the money is being spent or accounted for, he is well within his rights to assign to his priest such duties as will make it unlikely or impossible for the priest to continue to run his private little side business. This is especially true given that the diocesan priest's first duty is to do whatever his bishop directs him to do in reference to sacraments, the celebration of Mass and the care of souls within the diocese.

Furthermore, there is a sacramental bond between every bishop and his every priest. The sacrament of Holy Orders binds bishop and priest together in a father-son relationship.

If a 17-year old young man lived at home and owned his own car, but Dad was concerned about his driving, Dad might say to say, "Son, I'm concerned about your driving. Give me your car keys for a week." If the son complied and handed over the set of keys he normally used, but then used his spare set of keys to drive the car on whatever personal errands the son was interested in, Dad would be understandably upset.

Most people would recognize that the son's "obedience" was in word only - he hadn't obeyed the spirit of his father's directives, and so had sinned against the Decalogue. Since Dad didn't own the car, we might argue about what level of legal authority Dad had to ask for the keys, but no one would argue that he has moral authority to oversee his son's actions and a strong duty to act on his concerns. Obviously, the young man's teenage friends (fans) would be enraged by Dad's demands and argue that the son was really a responsible man who had done nothing wrong, but any mature adult would recognize the authority Dad had to make those demands.

Father Pavone has obeyed the letter of the bishop's directives, but that's about it.

Contrast this to Fr. Corapi, who at least had the integrity to say, "Rather than give you the car keys, I'm  moving out on my own."

While the bishop has no legal authority over Pavone, he has moral authority that finds its source in the sacramental bond between bishop and priest. Pavone has a duty of respect to the bishop and a duty of respect to the sacrament whose marks he bears. By re-doubling his appeals for cash, he is flouting that sacrament, both in himself and in his bishop.

Corapi felt he needed to quit in order to continue his form of preaching.
Pavone feels he needs to keep asking for cash in order to continue his form of preaching.
Corapi had the integrity not to pretend to keep his vow - he openly broke with it.
Pavone pretends to keep his vow while actually breaking it.

So, Pavone is a money-grubbing worm in a way that Corapi never was precisely because he is a priest who has a duty to show respect and he's actually flouting that respect.
1) By refusing to provide timely information to the donors from whom he begged of the bishop's concerns,
2) By continuing to beg for cash at least three times in less than a week despite the bishop's well-known and public concern,
Pavone demonstrates his refusal to obey his bishop in more than minor ways.

Yes, he returned to Amarillo diocese, but he's clearly more interested in running his company than in listening to his bishop's concerns. That's a direct violation of the sacramental bond between himself and his bishop.

Now, Catholic apologists who make their living by begging for cash have given kind and gentle interpretations of Fr. Pavone's actions, lest they offend Pavone's large cult-like following and lose their own rice bowl.


But Corapi, perversely, showed more respect for the sacrament than Pavone has.

Corapi formally recognized that he was not being obedient in a way that Pavone has so far refused to acknowledge and in a way that Pavone's supporters have so far refused to admit.




Sunday, September 18, 2011

Herpes: The New NFP?

I teach a college class on contemporary ethics, in which we examine different ethical systems and the ways in which they affect decision making.

During the course of one discussion, a class exercise involved the consideration of a man with genital herpes who has not yet told his girlfriend of his affliction. His sister knows about her brother's situation. Since the brother's girlfriend is a friend of hers, she debates whether or not to inform the woman of the problem or whether she should rely on her brother to do so.

As we discussed the problem, it occurred to me that the situation with herpes is in nearly every respect identical to Natural Family Planning and periodic abstinence.

As the State of Illinois says, for instance,
The symptoms of recurrent episodes are usually milder than those of the first episode and typically last about a week. (emphasis added)
Odd... isn't that the amount of time an NFP couple typically abstains?


And what about this?
Avoid sexual contact from the time symptoms are first recognized until the sores are completely healed, that is, until scabs have fallen off and new skin has formed over the site of the lesion...
Not having sex is the best protection against herpes and other STDs. Having sex with only one uninfected partner who has sex with you is also safe. 


That is, couples can have sexual relations for years without one partner transmitting the virus to the other, as long as the couple agrees to abstain from sex during those times when open sores are in evidence. If sex is put off until the sores heal, the virus is much less likely to be transmitted.


As it turns out, condoms prove only about a 30% protection against herpes.


Now, no one thinks that periodic abstinence is outrageous when it comes to herpes transmission.
But lots of people openly scoff at periodic abstinence when baby-making is involved.

It's almost as if they realize there's a major difference between opening a monthly discussion about trying to avoid a disease, versus opening a discussion each month about whether or not to welcome a child into your life.


Pavone's Third Appeal

HE'S STILL ASKING FOR MONEY!


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
Dear Steve,
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. 

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.

2. I have not lost any of my priestly faculties.  Again, Deacon Ashley will confirm that.

3.

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.

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 na├»ve 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.
Sincerely,
Pavone-Signature.jpg 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. 
If you do not wish to receive any emails from us, let us know at unsubscribe@priestsforlife.org. However, unsubscribing will deprive you of some important and helpful information in the months to come, and therefore we strongly encourage you to stay on our list! 


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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Second-Guessing Bishops

As you all know, I'm never averse to second-guessing a bishop.
That having been said, we have an obvious question:
Is the Bishop of Amarillo right to pull a successful pro-lifer off the front lines?

Well, keep in mind the Vatican had already shut down Missionaries for Life back in 2008 over precisely these kinds of issues.

But doesn't this harm the pro-life movement?

Speaking as an ex-atheist, I was arrested twice for blocking abortion clinic entrances while I was an atheist.
I was surrounded by Jesus freaks (active Catholics), and their freaky attachment to the Church is part of what woke me up to the larger problem: education.

As I realized that the abortion problem is a problem of education, I also started to recognize that the education isn't just one of biology, but of spirituality - that's what brought me back into the Church, that recognition. It was the Church's pro-life stance that converted me, so this is what I see as Fr. Pavone's problem.

A priest's ability to do ANYTHING flows from the sacraments.
If he doesn't honor his sacraments, he can't do any really effective work.

Part of a priest's sacrament is obedience - that's why Archbishop Fulton Sheen was placed in a small parish by his bishop for a year even after he graduated with highest honors from Louvain. Especially and precisely BECAUSE he passed with highest honors and was offered a professorship, Bishop shoved him in a nowhere parish in the worst part of the diocese. He gave Sheen absolutely zero reason to think his immense gifts would ever be effectively used.

Bishop was testing Sheen. He wanted to make sure Sheen was going to honor his sacrament before he allowed his spiritual son to be tempted with the ego-gratifying career that would certainly follow once Sheen was released to the world. Would Sheen break, despair, and give up some aspect of his priesthood in order to pursue fame and glory? After a year of testing, he hadn't done any of that. Sheen submitted with quiet good humor to whatever his bishop wanted, exactly as any excellent priest would.

One year later, Bishop released Sheen to Louvain and to the great honors that followed.

To the end of his life, Sheen appreciated that test of his soul and thought it a good thing the bishop had done it.

Pavone is failing the test Sheen passed.
Bishop is reigning Fr. Pavone in precisely to keep him from becoming Fr. Corapi.
I think Corapi kind of shook a lot of people, including bishops.
It's not a coincidence that this is happening AFTER Corapi, and didn't happen before Corapi.

As an aside, I've never seen a public episcopal letter with that level of opprobrium.
Ever.
Only a very angry, deeply concerned bishop would write such a thing and disseminate it to all of his brother bishops and to the world.

The fact that Priest for Life responded to the bishop's concerns by sending out yet another plea for money less than a week after the letter went public looks all the world like Fr. Pavone decided to stick his thumb in the bishop's eye.

Now, if a priest were to do that over doctrine, I could see why that might happen and wouldn't necessarily have a problem with it. I'm still not entirely sure about Corapi's situation precisely because I'm concerned that part of that situation is driven by a desire to grab Corapi's money. Corapi has framed it as a doctrinal dispute, and I'm not sure which side is telling the truth, so I pretty much withhold judgement against either side because there aren't enough facts.

But, Pavone's situation is entirely different.
Here, he's publicly disrespecting his bishop over money.
And nothing else.
You can see that from the timing of the "cash plea" letter.
Over money?


Yah, that's not right.

When Fr. Pfleger was rebuked by Cardinal George, Pfleger instantly realized he stepped over the line, and he shut up, at least for a few weeks.
When Fr. Corapi was reprimanded, Corapi recognized his vow to the bishop (in a kind of backwards way, but...) by stepping back from his priestly ministry, and he showed some abject public contrition afterwards in the way he handled talks and material sales.

But Fr. Pavone?

Fr. Pavone sends out a dishonest letter cadging for cache, a letter which fails to mention a very public rebuke he received from his own bishop, a rebuke which has very serious bearing on the content of the letter Pavone allowed to be distributed.

Corapi and Pfleger didn't deny their rebukes or attempt to hide them.
They discussed their problems openly.
Some would say far too openly.
But Pavone?

I don't generally side with bishops who go after orthodox priests, but this time... this time, I think the bishop is on to something.

The First Shall Be Last


There's another book out on why being successful is bad for your health.

In other news, it was demonstrated that "alpha researchers" suffered undue stress when compared to "beta researchers."

While only comprising 10% of the researcher population, alpha researchers publish over 50% of the peer-reviewed articles and win the majority of Nobel prizes. In addition, they constantly publish mass market books in a wild attempt to gain name recognition and market share.

"Beta researchers", on the other hand, are content to teach community college classes, do little research and spend a lot of time fishing, boating and renting cabins in the Adirondacks with their families.

Research shows that the "betas" are much happier, have lower levels of cortisol, and eat fresh, stream-caught fish (with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids) more often then their "alpha" counterparts.

Unfortunately, related research has shown that "beta" researchers aren't interested enough in "alpha" showboating to point out to the alphas that alphas always die young, alone, and with festering boils. Alphas, on the other hand, appeared to be biologically unable to recognize the negative health effects of their own activities.

Like the deconstructivists who constantly write books explaining that communication between two people is basically impossible, alphas write books explaining why being "alpha" isn't a good idea. In America, the inevitable book chapters lamenting popular non-scientific irrational thinking are generally considered among the finest examples of irony in English literature.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fr. Pavone Cadging for Cash?

OK, I'm confused.

According to all the news stories, Fr. Frank Pavone has been suspended of all priestly faculties outside of the diocese of Amarillo by his own bishop while investigation of possible fiscal malfeasance proceeds.

This suspension was communicated by letter to ALL bishops in the United States on September 9, 2011.

So why did I just receive this in my e-mail inbox today (see below)?

Did someone in his own organization not get the memo?

Do these guys have ANY IDEA how stupid, larcenous, etc., such a letter appears to be at this juncture?

Exactly how tone-deaf is Fr. Pavone and Priests for Life?

And how is it, in this long, lugubrious letter, they forgot to mention that their founder is currently under investigation for what appears to be at least fiscal malfeasance, if not outright embezzlement?

It will be interesting to see which bloggers jump on Fr. Pavone in the same way they jumped on Fr. Corapi, nicht wahr? 


Will anyone mention that both priests enjoyed enormous support from EWTN?


September 13, 2011

(Thank you for your support of Priests for Life. If you already responded to the following appeal online, I appreciate your support. This email is intended for those who did not respond when we sent it previously.)

Dear Steve and Veronica,
I’m writing on behalf of Father Frank.My name is Jerry Horn and I am the Senior Vice President for Priests for Life.I’m glad Father asked me to write to you because I have a special favor that I need to ask of you.  It’s a surprise for Father Frank.But before I get to that favor and surprise, let me tell you why Father asked me to send you this email.On Wednesday, October 5, Priests for Life will mark its 20th Anniversary with a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco.  The Most Reverend George Niederauer, the Archbishop of San Francisco, has enthusiastically agreed be the main celebrant for the 6:00 p.m. Mass.  His support reflects that of many bishops.Father Frank had intended to write to you himself and invite you to join us for the Mass, but time simply got away from him.  In fact, he just finished taping the “Defending Life” series of TV shows at EWTN and is now at his diocese in Amarillo.So he asked me to write to you in his place.This email is your invitation to join Father Frank and staff for a special Anniversary Mass when we will thank God for the many blessings he has showered on Priests for Life’s ministry.
If you can be with us for the Mass and the reception to follow, click here.  Please include your name and the number of people who will be coming with you.
There will be a small reception following the Mass … and it is at that reception that I hope to surprise Father Frank with a very special Anniversary gift.If you cannot be with us in person, then at least join us in spirit and ask God to continue to bless the work of Priests for Life and to guide Father Frank and the Pastoral Associates as they continue to lead the fight to end abortion.  Without question, prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in that fight.And yet, it’s going to take more than just our prayers to win this battle.  For as St. Augustine said: “Pray as though everything depended on God.  Work as though everything depended on you.”So we pray.  But we must also work.And no one is working harder to end legalized abortion-on-demand in America than Father Frank and the Priests for Life team.  To a person, every one of us is on the road constantly preaching the Gospel of Life, building up the People of Life, and energizing all Americans to defend the youngest members of our human family; namely, our unborn brothers and sisters. But that work cannot continue without your loving and generous support … not only spiritually with your prayers, but also financially with your donations to Priests for Life.And that brings me to the special favor I have to ask of you. As you may have guessed, that favor is to help us surprise Father Frank with a check for $676,678 that Priests for Life needs to keep all of its important projects and programs going full-speed ahead.
To be part of that surprise 20th Anniversary gift presentation, just click here and make as large a contribution to Priests for Life as you possibly can today.
The reason why I’m hoping that our check is for $676,678 is because that’s the amount Father Frank indicated he needed in a letter he sent to the entire Priests for Life family a few weeks; as well as the urgent email he sent to you not long ago.I’m not sure if you’ve already responded to that email or not, but even if you have, it’s critically important that help with another contribution for as much as you can possibly send so that we can present Father with as large a check as we can … but hopefully for the full $676,678 that he needs.And if you haven’t yet sent Father a reply to his email, then please decide to do so now as part of the special 20th Anniversary gift the Priests for Life family is going to present to Father on October 5 in San Francisco.The reason I’m asking you to do this is because Father Frank really needs your help. As I mentioned a moment ago, after returning from three weeks of preaching pro-life missions, and then meetings at the Vatican, he raced down to Birmingham for ten grueling days of taping.I’m telling you this because I know how much you respect and trust Father Frank. Well, you aren’t alone.
No leader and no organization in the pro-life movement is more worthy and more deserving of your support than Father Frank and Priests for Life. 
I know.  I’ve been involved in the fight to end abortion since the early 1980s.  For thirty years now it has been my honor to work with most of the great pro-life leaders – Judie Brown, Joe Scheidler, Melody Green, Mark Crutcher, Nellie Gray ... too many to mention all by name.They’re all great people and they’ve done fantastic work.Still, if I had to pick the one person best suited to lead our pro-life movement, it would be Father Frank.  He is the most determined, most single-minded individual I have ever met in my life.  He works 17- and 18-hour days.  And he is consumed with the mission God has entrusted to him; namely: 
To end abortion in America!

Not to limit abortion.  Not to cut it back.  Not to overturn Roe v. Wade.  Not to make abortion illegal.  But rather to make abortion unthinkable and to end all abortions in the U.S. ... and then throughout the world!
Between you and me, that’s the reason why I work with him.  He is relentless.  He is never deterred.  Never sidetracked.  Never distracted.  Always pressing forward.  Moving here, then there.  Energizing this priest.  Reaching out to this victim of abortion.  Converting that abortionist.  Always preaching the Gospel of Life ... both in season and out of season. A man as dedicated as that deserves our full support.  And that’s what he needs now. 
So I’m writing to ask you to click here and help make the 20th Anniversary of Priests for Life one that none of us will ever forget.
I’m doing so because, when all is said and done, the amount of preaching Father and the other Pastoral Associates are able to do is in your hands … yours and every other member of the Priests for Life family.That’s because no matter what plans and projects and programs Father Frank comes up with, they only go forward if there are dollars to fund them.  And since it is you and other friends who provide those dollars, what Priests for Life is able to do to advance the cause of life is really up to you.That’s why Father Frank sent you his email ... and why I’m writing to you today.The best thing we can do to mark Priests for Life’s 20th Anniversary and show Father Frank the depth of our commitment to the pro-life cause is to do all we can to keep Priests for Life fully funded and on the front lines of the fight to end abortion.That said …
… please click here and make as generous a contribution as you possibly can to Priests for Life!
I’m sure if you and I and every other member of our Priests for Life family gives as much as they can we can raise that $676,618.And if we do, then come this time next year, we will have grown the People of Life into such a powerful force that no one will dare ignore us or our cry to end abortion and stop the killing of our innocent unborn brothers and sisters.Together let’s use the occasion of Priests for Life’s 20th Anniversary to re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of life.  Let your prayers and your special Anniversary gift be a sign of your renewed commitment to the fight to end abortion and win for the youngest members of our human family their unalienable right to life!!!Make no mistake.  The enemy is working furiously to keep abortion-on-demand the law of the land.  Father Frank and the entire Priests for Life team are working even harder to thwart them.  But it’s becoming more and more difficult as the economy continues to sap Priests for Life of the dollars we need to carry on the fight.A gift from you today would be a huge help and provide much relief.
So please take a moment right now to click here and send Priests for Life a special 20thAnniversary gift that Father Frank will use to lead God’s people to victory over the powers of evil and the culture of death!
Thank you and may God truly bless you for your willingness to help defend and protect His defenseless, innocent unborn children.Sincerely yours in the Love of Christ,Jerry Horn, Senior Vice PresidentPriests for LifePS In addition to asking you to send a special 20th Anniversary gift, I invite you to write Father Frank a short note telling him how he and Priests for Life have impacted you.  Your note will be included in a booklet that we will present to Father at the reception following the Anniversary Mass … along with that $676,618 check.  To send us your note, just click here and follow the instructions.  I know Father would really appreciate hearing from you because you mean more to him than you know.  The only thing I ask is that you send me your gift and note right away so that I’ll have them well before October 5.  On behalf of Father Frank, thank you again for your help.  I cannot overstate how urgently it’s needed right now. NOTE: If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to Priests for Life and send it to us at PO Box 141172Staten IslandNY 10314. If you have any questions, call us toll-free at 888-735-3448 x232.If you do not wish to receive any emails from us, let us know at unsubscribe@priestsforlife.org. However, unsubscribing will deprive you of some important and helpful information in the months to come, and therefore we strongly encourage you to stay on our list!

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Attack of the Neo-Cons

I have long had enormous respect for Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, but that respect is turning south rather rapidly.

First, Ann Coulter not only chooses to headline a talk for sodomites (Republican sodomites, but sodomites nonetheless), she decides to become a member of their board of advisors.

Sad.

Then, Ann and Laura together decide to trash Sarah Palin.

Now, I don't mind that they don't think Palin can win the Presidency against Obama. To be honest, given how badly smeared she's been in the media, I'm not sure Palin should run for President right now. She's got to build trust with a lot of different constituencies that have been frightened off by the bellowing MSM beast.

But the attack A&L launched against Palin seemed quite over the top, and I couldn't figure out why they had gone ballistic.

What I now find is that this joint assault happens just a few days after Palin's Indianola speech.

This is fascinating, especially given A&L's major complaint about Palin.
According to them, Palin "isn't capable of digging deep" on policy.

Hmmm...
What odd timing for such a complaint...

For in her Indianola speech, Palin points out that the current political fight is not between Republicans and Democrats. The current fight is between, on the one hand, entrenched corporate interests and sitting political figures who constitute one incestuous block of power, and on the other, the small-business owners and normal main-street Americans who make up the portion of America that actually does some decent, honest work.

And it's not like there lacks concrete evidence for this contention. One need only look at the NYC 9/11 commemoration, which has banned the attendance of all the "little people" - like priests, ministers, firefighters and policeman - in order to make room for the important people. And why shouldn't they be banned? Slaves aren't welcomed as guests at their master's functions.

For someone who "isn't capable of digging deep" on policy, Palin's assessment of current policy is so accurate that even her mortal enemy, the New York Times, recognized and applauded her for it.

And we won't even mention all the other policy calls Palin has made (first to promulgate the death panels, major proponent of drilling, etc.), every one of which has turned out be dead-on accurate.

Indeed, Sarah Palin appears to be the only member of the political class who not only understands what current policy does, but is also willing to tell main-street Americans the unvarnished truth about it.

Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham seem unhappy about that.

Which makes me wonder why....