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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - A pontifical university known for its unique commitment to bioethical research has reversed its decision to award a prominent pro-life priest with its "A Life for a Life" award 2021.
Rome's Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum announced Wednesday it was revoking the prestigious "Una vita per la vita" prize for 2021 awarded to Fr. Frank Pavone "after taking into account aspects that were not considered in the original decision."
The sudden decision to rescind the award was taken days after the high-profile pro-life campaigner and national director of Priests for Life streamed a live podcast of the pro-Trump Capitol Hill rally on Right Side Broadcasting Network.
"We apologize for any trouble that this has caused," the press release from the university's School of Bioethics stated. "We thank all people who value, love, respect and defend human life. The next edition of 'Una vita per la vita' will be offered in 2022."
Church Militant asked Regina Apostolorum if the cancellation of the award had to do with Fr. Pavone's involvement in the Capitol Hill rally or his support for President Donald Trump.
Father David Koonce, academic vice rector, replied: "It was a sum of factors especially in relation to the political situation, but also ecclesial."
Pavone was expected to receive the award on Jan. 25 at a ceremony "in recognition of his decades of service for the pro-life cause," the pontifical university, which is directed by the Legionaries of Christ, earlier announced.
"The Una vita per la vita is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves through research work or in the field of bioethics or in the promotion of respect for human life," it added.
As the climax of the ceremony, Pavone was scheduled to address the gathering with an acceptance speech, and interested viewers were asked to register for the event and participate by Zoom. The university has now deleted the post.
"I have devoted my life to seeing the end of abortion. I will never stop until abortion ends or I have taken my last breath! The unborn babies have no voice, so I gave them mine!" tweeted the priest who also leads the Missionaries of the Gospel of Life and is pastoral director of Rachel's Vineyard.
A day before his award was canceled, Pavone tweeted: "I am calling psychiatrists together to do formal studies on Trump Derangement Syndrome and to develop treatment options," adding: "No joke ... I'm serious. This is a disease."
The outspoken priest urged "any clergy who are infected by this disease" to "step aside from ministry immediately and get healed" or "go to one of those treatment centers for a long retreat. But just keep quiet in public."
Church Militant has learned that the university may have found Pavone's continuing support for Trump after the Capitol Hill rally "radioactive" given the university's nascent association with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Regina Apostolorum has signed an agreement with the globalist body establishing a UNESCO Chair of Bioethics and Human Rights to promote "a broad exchange of ideas and the sharing of different experiences through dialogue between higher education institutions of different countries, especially developing countries."
Father David Koonce is on the board of directors of the UNESCO chair.
Pavone has disavowed the chaos on Capitol Hill. "No Violence! Remember, prayer can move mountains!" he affirmed.
But he has also condemned "the violence and anarchy, the un-American behavior of those who claim to care about America."
The Democrat Party has done immense violence to the Constitution, particularly through its activist judges. They are responsible for the violence that has occurred for every criminal alien who has been allowed to roam our streets thanks to the immoral Democrat attack on sane immigration policies. They have the blood of tens of millions of children on their hands — children ripped from the womb and dismembered by abortion.
They have thrown due process and the presumption of innocence in the garbage with the despicable way they have treated Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump and many others. There's much more, and we will vigorously, unequivocally and repeatedly catalogue and condemn this violence and anarchy. There is no excuse for it. It is a stain on our nation and its institutions.
The life prize, established in 2009, was first awarded to Italian Lucia Barocchi in recognition of her services to needy children. Lucia and her husband Carlo, not having children of their own, promoted the opening of numerous family homes.
In the '70s, Florence's archbishop Cdl. Ermenegildo Florit invited the Barocchis to be part of a committee for the defense of the unborn. From that small group, the first Italian Center for Aid to Life was born and, soon after, the Italian Movement for Life.
The award was conferred on Sr. Cristina Acquistapace, a 41-year-old nun with Down's syndrome in 2014.
Father Pavone did not respond to Church Militant's request for comment as of press time.