Apostolic Nuncio to the United States Archbishop Christophe Pierre told CNA there is “no possibility of appeal” after the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy issued a decision on Nov. 9.
Archbishop Pierre said Pavone was dismissed due to “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
He referred to him as “a lay person” and “Mr. Pavone.”
However, Pavone said he only learned of the dismissal through CNA.
“How did CNA learn about this before I did?” he said.
CNA reported on Dec. 18 that he will take “all appropriate canonical and civil action as well as public communications to the Faithful.”
Pavone also posted a response to his website.
“I want to say a few words of response to what is still only second-hand information I hear saying that the Vatican has dismissed me from the priesthood,” Pavone wrote.
In the response, he addressed Pope Francis, Archbishop Pierre, and the United States Bishops. The post is too lengthy to publish here, so please follow this link to read it.
“I am grateful to all of you, brothers and sisters. We all fall short in many ways, and for any of my own failings, I ask forgiveness, and I know of your continued commitment to work together!” Pavone concludes.
“This work succeeds not because of bishops or the Vatican, and not even because of my priestly ordination, but because of the human commitment you and I both have to the defense of the lives of the most defenseless children, the unborn! May they be protected, and may we continue achieving victory over abortion!”
Here’s how some people responded to his laicization:
Note: ChurchPOP does not endorse comments from either side. This is purely for reporting purposes only.
Abby Johnson , a pro-life advocate and friend of Pavone expressed her displeasure on social media.
Her full tweet reads, “Truly amazing. / Fr. James Martin. Heretical priest, in good standing. / Joe Biden. Catholic who publicly speaks against Catholic teaching, in good standing. [Fr. Frank Pavone]. Pro-life Catholic priest who faithfully defends the unborn for decades, removed from the priesthood. / Evil.
Johnson also published a response on Facebook.
“Fr. Frank has been a mentor to me for years,” one of her quotes reads. “He shepherded me into the Church. He walked alongside me through my conversion. He is a part of our family. He is my oldest son’s godfather. He is an amazing man. I wish all clergy were as vocal as he is. He is willing to give us everything for the unborn.”
Bishop Joseph Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, also responded:
Bishop Strickland’s full tweet reads, “The blasphemy is that this holy priest is canceled while an evil president promotes the denial of truth [and] the murder of the unborn at every turn, Vatican officials promote immorality [and] denial of the deposit of faith [and] priests promote gender confusion devastating lives…evil.”
While Bishop Strickland and Abby Johnson expressed their displeasure, some Catholics agreed with the Vatican’s decision.
Fr. Mathew Schneider of the Legionaries of Christ tweeted, “No priest would ever be dismissed from the clerical state for being too pro-life. / If you think that’s the issue with Mr. Frank Pavone, I’d invite you look at his long history of disobedience to his bishop, vulgarity, misuse of human remains, etc.”
Fr. Lawrence Jurcak of the Saint Mary Parish in Hudson, Ohio also tweeted, “In the canonical process, Father knew exactly why the request was being made of the Holy See, had access to the acts of the case, as well as as an opportunity – through his canonist – to present his defense. For him to claim otherwise is dishonesty.”
Neither disagreeing or agreeing with the decision, Sister Mary Joseph of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus said she is “heartbroken,” and that this is “a tragic loss for the Church.”
Here’s her full tweet:
“I am heartbroken that there was no successful recourse before this happened – by himself or others – as the decision has no hope of appeal,” Sister Mary Joseph said. “A tragic loss for the Church. We need better emotional and mental help for clergy, who often feel alienated and abandoned.”
Regardless of one’s own opinion, let us pray for Pavone and all involved in this circumstance.