VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican excommunicated an American anti-abortion advocate, Frank Pavone, for what he called “blasphemous communications on social media” as well as “continued disobedience” to his bishop.
A letter to American bishops from the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, Monsignor Christophe Pierre, obtained Sunday, states that the decision against Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, was made on November 9, and that there is no chance of an appeal.
Pavone was investigated by the former Diocese of Amarillo, Texas for placing an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a video of it to two social media sites in 2016. He frequently posts on American politics, abortion, and the aborted fetus video. Along with the message that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic system will allow abortion to continue and that Donald Trump and the Republican platform want to protect unborn children.
Pavone remains a staunch Trump supporter: Twitter shows him wearing a ‘MAGA’ hat with a background image showing the former US president, whom many conservatives are praising for his Supreme Court nominees who overturned the landmark ruling guaranteeing constitutionally valid abortion in the US.
In a tweet on Sunday, Pavone appeared defiant, likening her plight to that of a fetus.
“So in all professions, including the priesthood, if you stand up for #babies, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we have an ‘abortion’, we keep talking out loud.”
The measure was immediately denounced by supporters, including the Bishop of Tyler, Texas, Joseph Strickland, who called US President Joe Biden’s support for abortion rights “evil.”
“It is blasphemy that this holy priest is abolished while an evil president promotes the denial of truth and fetus murder at every turn, Vatican officials promote immorality and deny the deposit of faith and priests encourage soul-destroying gender confusion…evil,” Strickland tweeted.
Pavone appealed to the Vatican about restrictions placed on his ministry by the Bishop of Amarillo in 2011, was able to loosen the restrictions, and moved away from Texas while remaining active with lifelong pastors.
In his letter, Pierre cited reports from the Congregation of the Clergy that Pavone had been canonised—he could no longer run as a priest—after being found guilty in court proceedings of “blasphemous communications on social media and continued disobedience to legalists”. By the instructions of his diocesan bishop. The message was first reported by the Catholic News Agency.
The manifesto said that Pavone had ” ample opportunity to defend himself” and also to submit to his bishop. It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions. »
The statement concluded that because Pastors for Life is not a Catholic organization, it is up to the group to determine whether it can continue in its “secular” role.
Secularization, or reduction to the secular state, is one of the most severe punishments in the canon law of the Church.