Official Statement from Reverend David Deibel, Canonist
October 14, 2011
As Canonical Advisor to Fr. Frank Pavone and Priests for Life, I have, on
numerous occasions, communicated on their behalf with Bishop Patrick Zurek,
asking for a mediator as a first step in restoring trust and facilitating
healing in the relationship between the bishop and his priest. I can attest
that Fr. Pavone is eager to restore with Bishop Zurek the trust and
communication that should exist between any priest and his bishop. Fr.
Pavone remains in Amarillo as directed by his bishop, and remains faithful
The details and history of the present situation are such that moving
forward to a resolution is no longer simply a matter of getting together and
talking. Several Church officials have made it clear that they believe
mediation is necessary, and that they are willing to undertake a role as
mediators. Unfortunately, Bishop Zurek has not responded to or even
acknowledged any of these requests.
Instead, he wrote to Fr. Frank, asked him to come to a one-on-one meeting
with him, and asked him in writing not to speak to anyone about the meeting.
Then, the next day, before Father Frank even had an opportunity to respond,
the Bishop announced the meeting on the front page of the website of the
As his canonical consultant, I advised Father Frank not to have this private
meeting until the process of mediation is underway. All of us want this
entire process to be carried out in private rather than through the media.
He remains hopeful and prayerful that the bishop will respond privately to
requests made of him, and that this situation will be resolved shortly in a
truly Christian and ecclesial manner. I ask all to respect Father’s
prayerful wishes in this regard.
Reverend David L. Deibel, JD, JCL
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