STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
April 26, 2001
Molinari, Oddo back Island priest
Borough president and councilman blast Manhattan state senator for calling
Rev. Frank Pavone 'an extremist'
By Frank Williams
Advance Staff Writer
Two Staten Island-elected officials blasted state Sen. Eric Schneiderman
yesterday for labeling the head of Island-based Priests for Life, the Rev. Frank
Pavone, "an extremist."
Borough President Guy V. Molinari said the Manhattan Democrat "appears to be
a publicity hound" and criticized Schneiderman's call for New Yorkers to protest
Father Pavone's appearance last night
at a National Right to Life Committee dinner in the Waldorf Astoria
"He is way off base attacking Father Pavone for expressing his pro-life views
before a pro-life audience. It is difficult for me to understand how Senator
Schneiderman can be upset with Father Pavone and single him out for public
protests," said Molinari. "I have known Father Pavone for a number of years, and
I have the greatest respect for him."
City Councilman James Oddo (R-Mid-Island) said Schneiderman's statements were
an attack "not only on Father Pavone, but on anyone who believes in, and
defends, the sanctity of life.
"It continues to amaze me that the shield of political correctness applies to
every other group, except those who are involved in the pro-life movement," said
In a letter this week to the National Abortion Rights Action League,
Schneiderman grouped Father Pavone with such other "enemies of choice" as James
Kopp, the recently arrested prime suspect in the 1998 killing of Dr. Barnett
Slepian, the Buffalo obstetrician and abortion provider.
Schneiderman charged that Father Pavone "openly advocates criminal activity
to harass abortion providers."
The letter was denounced Tuesday as "incendiary" and "outrageous" by Catholic
League President William Donohue.
"Father Pavone has decried acts of violence and instead vigorously appeals
for nonviolent approaches on the part of pro-life activists," said Molinari. "To
suggest that Father Pavone is in the same class as James Kopp, a suspect in the
shooting of Dr. Slepian in Buffalo, is absolutely outrageous."
Abortion-rights supporters have accused Father Pavone, a priest at St.
Charles R.C. Church in Oakwood and the founder of the national priests' group,
of endorsing different kinds of blockades of abortion clinics. Father Pavone has
said that he views these kind of tactics as "morally acceptable" but has no
plans to adopt them.
Father Pavone also has condemned the use of violence against abortion clinics
and doctors. After Kopp's arrest last month, the Staten Island priest said his
group offered a $50,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the
capture of fugitives wanted for abortion clinic shootings.
"The abortion issue is highly sensitive and clearly there are radical
viewpoints on both sides. However, it is important that regardless of one's
position on the issue, that we learn to respect each others views," Molinari
said. "Father Pavone has justly earned respect for his rational approach, to
this issue, and I am terribly offended that Senator Schneiderman has made such
accusations about a Staten Islander who chooses to express his views on the
Last month, Father Pavone announced the launching of a $12 million, two-year
advertising campaign directed at women who have had abortions, including a
billboard campaign, television ads and a series on pro-life issues to be
broadcast later this year on the Catholic cable channel, Eternal Word Television
Network. EWTN provides part of the programming carried on Staten Island Cable