I was dismayed to read the letter released by Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, Texas, advising his fellow bishops that he is calling Fr. Frank Pavone back to the diocese, effectively stopping his work as head of Priests for Life.
I have known Fr. Frank personally since he was appointed by Cardinal John O’Connor as director of Priests for Life 20 years ago. I have frequently appeared with Fr. Frank at pro-life conferences and have participated in myriad projects with him. I can honestly say that I have never met a more dedicated, passionate and hard-working pro-lifer, priest or layman.
I know for a fact that Fr. Pavone never charges a dime for a speaking engagement. He travels wherever he is invited and pours himself into his mission to motivate Catholics and faithful Christians to join the fight against abortion, to reach out in compassion to troubled and desperate pregnant mothers and to lead post-abortive women and men to healing in Jesus Christ.
I have heard Fr. Pavone speak dozens of times. Each presentation is unique, thoughtful and rooted in the Gospel. I have spent time with Father in between workshops, driving to airports and even on a morning fishing expedition on Lake Michigan. I can testify to the fact that Fr. Frank Pavone does not relax. He works full time. Not eight hours a day, but more like eighteen hours a day. He desperately wants to spread the Gospel of Life, to make people understand the urgency of the mission to restore the sanctity of life.
As a lifelong Catholic, I have tremendous respect for the hierarchy of the Church. But I am very sorry that the bishop, himself a strong advocate for life, has taken the tone and the action that he has. I have no doubt that a review of Fr. Pavone’s oversight of Priests for Life will reveal that all donations to the organization are spent prudently and with due stewardship in keeping with the mission of protecting the weakest of our brothers and sisters.
I offer my prayers and support to Fr. Frank and pray that this controversy with Bishop Zurek will be swiftly and amicably resolved.