AMARILLO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Texas bishop is opening an investigation into one of his priests.
Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo released a statement Tuesday denouncing Fr. Frank Pavone's placement of an aborted baby on a church altar. The video by Fr. Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, was released the day before Election Day in the hope of persuading Catholics to vote pro-life in order to end "the atrocity of abortion," which the Catholic Church has always condemned as a grave evil.
Although the video (which has now been removed) was shared thousands of times by pro-lifers, Fr. Pavone also received criticism for what some claimed was use of a baby for political purposes. Zurek's statement declared it "is against the dignity of human life and is a desecration of the altar. We believe that no one who is pro-life can exploit a human body for any reason, especially the body of a fetus."
The issue is not how I'm treating a baby. (I've been providing funerals and burials for these children for decades, with full legal and canonical counsel, and those concerned about these things would do well to talk to me rather than the media.)
The issue is how the abortionists, supported by the Democrats, are treating these babies. What's sacrilegious is abortion, and voting for those who support it. It's time we get our heads screwed on straight about who the bad guys are.
Zurek's statement went on to announce that the diocese is opening an investigation into the matter.
This is not the first time Pavone has butted heads with his bishop. In 2011, Zurek restricted Pavone's activities to the Amarillo diocese while he investigated the finances of Priests for Life. In obedience, Pavone went to Amarillo while appealing the bishop's decision to Rome. After several months, Pavone was vindicated by the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy, which ruled in Pavone's favor, saying he had the right to travel freely for his pro-life ministry with the bishop's permission. Pavone also released a statement defending Priests for Life's financials as "above reproach."
After the election of Donald Trump as president, Fr. Pavone released a statement celebrating the victory. "The pro-life side won this election, and now we intend to act like the winners we are," he said. "We've lived through eight years of the Obama regime and its unmitigated support of abortion. Now it's our turn, and we're not going to lose this opportunity to advance the protection of the unborn."