by Terry Gensemer on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 2:11pm
I am writing this on behalf of my dear friend and colleague Fr. Frank Pavone and all of the good people at Priests for Life as well as the Pro-life community as a whole. I am very dismayed that his ordinary, Bishop Patrick Zurek has chosen to suspend him from his full-time work and especially that he has written an inflammatory letter to his fellow bishops. I am confident that Fr. Pavone will be obedient and respectful during this very difficult time, while his appeal is under consideration. He is responding exactly how he should, with integrity and obedience.
I have worked with Fr. Frank since 1993 fighting for the rights of all human beings, especially the Pre-born. Fr. Frank has always been most humble in his attitude to everyone he comes in contact with, rich or poor, black or white, young or old, Catholic, Protestant, Jew or Muslim. Never once have I detected an arrogant or selfish attitude. He has always been simply focused on his calling and mission to speak loud and clear for those who have been unjustly and unfairly mistreated by the culture of death. I have simply never seen anyone who works harder or is more dedicated and passionate than Fr. Frank. If I appear to be biased toward Fr. Frank in this letter, it is because I am. My observance of his character and integrity has been tested by time and circumstance.
I must say up front that I am not a Roman Catholic, however I have great respect for the many clergy and lay leaders who have proclaimed the Gospel to this fallen world for two millenia. That being said, I want to make it clear that I believe Fr. Frank has been a gift, not only to the Roman Catholic Church but to all of christendom and stands as the leader of the entire Pro-life movement. He has done more to promote unity among denominations than anyone in modern history. My response to the unfortunate situation that has occured in the last few days, therefore is not just a Catholic response, but one that reflects how many of us outside the Roman Catholic Church feel about what has happened.
So many times as Christians, we desire so much to be seen as people of peace that we neglect to “speak the truth in love”. But in certain circumstances we should not and cannot be silent in just saying that someone is right and someone is wrong. In this current situation I do believe that with all respect to the office of the Bishop, he is just plain wrong. Not only is he wrong to subtly attack the character and integrity of Fr. Pavone, but especially that he has without due process effectively inflicted punishment on Fr. Frank and Priests for Life. This situation has not yet been resolved at any level, yet the Bishop asked his brother bishops to have their people withhold donations from the organization. I happen to know many employees who work at PFL and know they do not make exhorbitant incomes. They enter data, they prepare thousands of brochures, booklets and other materials. They devote their entire life to helping pre-born children. So not only has Fr. Pavone been forever tarnished by the words of the bishop, but many hard working people are in danger of losing their jobs and their income. Has anyone considered the harm that has already been done by the Bishop’s letter? I am sorry if this offends anyone but this action was just plain wrong.
I am asking that my Roman Catholic friends who love their church and their bishops, as well as all those who love life will respectfully but firmly call on Bishop Zurek to rescind his request to the other Bishops while this situation is being resolved. Please understand that many christians, catholic and non-catholic, feel that bishops were allowed to cover up scandals in the past because the faithful would not question or even disagree with their bishops in the name of church authority. Please do not let that happen again. If the Pro-life movement loses Fr. Pavone, Satan will have gained a great victory.