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,
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