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Letter of Support

Statement from the Patriarch on Fr. Frank Pavone

I have, like many of you, heard about Bishop Patrick Zurek’s, Bishop of Amarillo, decision to call Fr. Frank Pavone back to Amarillo and confine his priestly duties to within the Diocese of Amarillo. I have read Bishop Zurek’s statement and Fr. Pavone’s response to the decision. It is clear that not only does Bishop Zurek have the right to make this decision under Roman Catholic Canon Law but also that Fr. Pavone’s decision to return to Amarillo, under obedience to his vows, is the proper response. Since, I am not a Roman Catholic I do not have the right to question the decision or the process by which the decision was made.

My concern is as a member of the Pro Life community. As a Bishop and as the Patriarch of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church I have over the past 15 years had the opportunity to work with Fr. Pavone on several Pro Life events. I sit on the National Pro Life Religious Council along with Fr. Terry Gensemer which Fr. Pavone chairs. I am a financial supporter personally of Priests for Life and will continue to support their ministry and the ministries connected with Priests for Life – Silent No More, Prayer Campaign, Political Responsibility, Gospel of Life Ministries, Stand True, Deacons in the Service of Life, and the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life.

Fr. Frank Pavone is a man of the highest integrity. Fr. Pavone’s return to Amarillo at his Bishop’s direction is a clear indicator of his priestly character. Fr. Pavone has always been first and foremost not a Pro Life leader but a Roman Catholic Priest who is a loyal son of the Roman Catholic Church. He has always shown his obedience to the Roman Catholic hierarchy and has had and continues to have the support of Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops. I have never heard him publically or privately speak against the Church or its hierarchy.

Priests for Life is an organization that has consistently been at the forefront of the work to end abortion and euthanasia in America. As a non-profit organization they have submitted detailed financial reports to all the necessary persons and organizations and to my knowledge have never been questioned as to their accountability and accuracy of reports. Bishop Zurek alleges, with little supporting evidence, that there are financial irregularities with Priests for Life, in spite of the fact that the organization is audited by one of the nations top accounting firms.

Over one million babies will be murdered by abortion in America this year. That means over one million women will be scarred in some way by abortion – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The fact that Bishop Zurek has silenced perhaps one of the loudest and clear voices for the unborn leaves me confused. The fact that Bishop Zurek made public accusations against Fr. Pavone that not only tarnish Fr. Pavone’s reputation but also deeply wound the entire Pro Life community is very distressing.

Fr. Pavone has submitted to his Bishop’s directions. He has returned to Amarillo and is functioning as a diocesan priest. This is characteristic of Fr. Pavone. He understands the importance of vows and obedience. I will continue to pray for Fr. Pavone and for Bishop Zurek that they quickly resolve their differences whatever they be and that Fr. Pavone be allowed to return to full time Pro Life work as Executive Director of Priests for Life. This will benefit the Roman Catholic Church in America, as he has been a solid voice for their positions on Life. This will benefit the Pro Life community, as Fr. Pavone is a leader among leaders. This will benefit the cause of ending the horror of the holocaust of abortion for I know he daily bears the burden of the preborn.

Under His mercy,

The Most Rev. Craig W. Bates,
Patriarch, ICCEC


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