Father Frank Pavone, a fiery pro-life activist who has sparked controversy over the issue within the church, was removed from the Roman Catholic priesthood this fall.
According to the New York Times, Pavone was officially removed from the clergy on November 9 after receiving a letter from Pope Francis’ representative in the United States. The letter ordered Pavone to be removed without appeal.
“This action was taken after Father Pavone was found guilty in a canonical trial of blasphemous communications on social media and continued disobedience to the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop,” the letter said, without specifying the communication.
Pavone claimed in an interview with the Catholic News Agency on Saturday that he had received no communication from the Vatican. Still, he said his removal was unsurprising.
“I was persecuted in the church for decades. This is nothing new to me,” he told CNA. “They just don’t like the work I do for these babies.”
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He went on to mention the circumstances of his “blasphemous communication” and said he “goddamn” typed the world in a 2020 tweet.
“I used the word GD in a reply to someone in a tweet and because they want to kick me out of the priesthood,” he said.
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Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the pope’s representative in the United States, briefed US bishops on the decision on 12/13, according to the Times.
“As you know, Father Pavone was a very public and high-profile figure associated with the right-to-life movement in the United States,” Archbishop Pierre told the bishops. “His dismissal from the clergy may therefore be of interest among believers. In anticipation of this potential interest, the attached statement on Father Pavone is provided for your information.”
Pavone’s impeachment comes months after the US pro-life movement won a landmark victory when the Supreme Court voted to remove Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. to overthrow Casey.
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The ruling put abortion in the spotlight for the 2022 midterm election cycle, which many commentators believed actually helped Democrats.