Clarification of Misreporting of Facts in Media

On September 13, 2011, it was widely misreported in various Catholic and secular media that the Most Reverend Patrick Zurek, Bishop of Amarillo, had “suspended” Rev. Frank Pavone, a priest of his diocese, and put him “on leave.”

This is absolutely false.

Father Pavone is and has been a priest in good standing. Moreover, the canonical language of “suspension” in this regard is a mistake. Father Pavone has not in any way incurred any ecclesiastical penalty. Nor is Father Frank under the threat of any penalty.

I want to point out that in a Catholic News Service story dated September 14, 2011, Msgr. Harold Waldow, vicar for clergy in the diocese of Amarillo, confirmed Fr. Pavone’s good standing:

“Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, said Msgr. Harold Waldow, vicar for clergy in the diocese.” Msgr. Waldow told CNS Sept. 13 that Bishop Patrick J. Zurek only suspended Father Pavone’s ministry outside of the diocese because the well-known pro-life priest is needed for work in Amarillo.

Yesterday, Father Pavone — as a priest in good standing — celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Amarillo, Texas.

Fr David Deibel, JD, JCL
Chief Canonist
Priests for Life

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