|Father Frank Anthony Pavone|
Father Frank Pavone speaking at an event.
|Born||Frank Anthony Pavone
February 4, 1959
Port Chester, New York, United States
|Known for||Eternal Word Television Network|
|Religion||Christian (Roman Catholic)|
|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (June 2013)|
Frank Anthony Pavone (born February 4, 1959) is an American Roman Catholic priest and pro-life activist. He is the National Director of Priests for Life and serves as the Chairman and Pastoral Director of Rachel's Vineyard. He also is the President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, an umbrella group of various Christian denominations working to end abortion, and serves as Pastoral Director of the Silent No More awareness campaign.
Pavone was born in 1959 in Port Chester, New York to Joseph Pavone, who worked in his father's shoe supply business, and his wife, Marion, a bookkeeper until she became pregnant, and later worked as the Head Cashier in the local E. J. Korvette store. Pavone aspired to be an astronaut as a child but decided to become a priest after volunteering at his parish, and after attending the 1976 March for Life, decided to devote his life to the pro-life cause. After graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, he enrolled in the Don Bosco College, a Salesian Major Seminary in Newton, New Jersey, later leaving the Salesian Order and joining the Archdiocese of New York.
Pavone was ordained a diocesan priest on November 12, 1988 by Cardinal John Joseph O'Connor at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. He served as a parish priest from 1988 to 1993. He then became a priest of the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, and serves in pro-life ministry with his bishop's permission. Pavone is also a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
On September 14, 2011, Monsignor Harold Waldow, head of clergy in the diocese, said Pavone remains a priest in good standing with the diocese and was ordered back because he was needed for work in the diocese. Pavone said, "I fully expect that my time in Amarillo, both in terms of this immediate trip and in terms of my affiliation with that diocese is going to be temporary." On September 22, 2011, Priests for Life mailed a fundraising letter from Pavone to supporters asking for donations. In the letter, Pavone said,
"First, I am not suspended and I never was. You can call the Amarillo chancery if you feel like you need to. The number is [redacted]. You’ll probably be connected to Deacon Floyd Ashley, the diocese's Executive Assistant, He will confirm what I just told you.
Second, I have not lost any of my priestly faculties. Again, Deacon Ashley will confirm that.
Third, and perhaps most important to you, Monsignor Harold Waldow, the Vicar of Clergy for the Amarillo Diocese, has sent out a letter in which he states that I have not been 'charged with any malfeasance' nor even been 'accused of any wrong doing with the financial matters of Priests for Life.'
Fourth, while Bishop Zurek wants to clear up any misunderstandings, he made it clear that he does not want the work of Priests for Life to be harmed.
Fifth, for the time being, my ministry is restricted to the Diocese of Amarillo and it will remain restricted until Bishop Zurek and I can sit down and reach a mutual understanding on my dual role as both a priest in his diocese and a priest dedicated to pro-life work on a full-time basis.
On September 30, 2011, Bishop Zurek said Pavone would remain in Amarillo "indefinitely". On October 3, 2011, Zurek sent a letter to Pavone saying, "I want only what is best for all organizations that support and promote those teachings that come from the heart of the Catholic Church on the dignity and gift of human life." Bishop Zurek and Pavone were set to meet privately on October 13, 2011.
On May 18, 2012, the Congregation for the Clergy of the Vatican, after Father Pavone appealed his case to Rome, sent out a ruling in favor of Father Pavone's case. The Congregation declared that Father Pavone is not now nor has ever been suspended. Father Pavone remains a priest in good standing all over the world.  Following this declaration, Pavone was critical of the way the situation had been handled and added there can be disagreement with Bishops within the church. "There can be loyal opposition. That is how the church grows," Pavone said.
Pavone provided much commentary during the Terri Schiavo controversy, having been on the limited visitors' list and having been at her bedside many times, including during her final hours. He delivered the homily at Schiavo's funeral Mass at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Gulfport, Florida on April 5, 2005. He serves as a member of Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family Institute. He is the author of two books, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It, and Pro-life Reflections for Every Day.
Pavone was threatened with death by Theodore Shulman, an abortion rights advocate. Shulman indicated Pavone would be killed, if Scott Roeder, the accused killer of Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was acquitted. Commenting on the threat, Pavone said, "I have already publicly forgiven Mr. Shulman and pray for him every day".
Priests for Life
In 1993, Cardinal O'Connor appointed him the full-time national director of Priests for Life. He gained prominence through his work with the group, traveling to all fifty states and personally working with Mother Teresa and Mother Angelica. He received Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion in America who became a pro-life activist, into the Catholic Church in 1998.
Pavone was a spiritual advisor to the family of Terri Schiavo. He was one of a few people legally allowed to enter Schiavo's room as she died and witnessed her final hours. The night before Schiavo died, Pavone spoke to the media and called Schiavo's husband, his attorney, and Judge George Greer "murderers" for ordering the removal of Schiavo's feeding tube.
In 2011, Pavone was involved in assisting the family of Moe Maraachli, a Canadian man who, with his wife, sought medical procedure for their dying son, who came to be known as "Baby Joseph", but were refused the treatment in Canada. They turned to Pavone for assistance, and he arranged, through his Priests for Life organization, to have the baby transferred to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis where the child received a tracheotomy, and then to have him flown back home, breathing on his own without a machine. After successfully receiving the procedure in March 2011, "Baby Joseph" Maraachli did return home, where he died in September 2011.
"The Gosnell babies"
In 2013, Pavone presided over a service to give names to the 45 babies whose bodies were found in Kermit Gosnell's abortion clinic. During the service, Pavone asked, "Who are these children, and whose are these children? Are they medical waste or are they our brothers and sisters?" The service also called for prayers and healing for the parents of the aborted babies.
Pavone has been known for his political activism. In September 2004, Pavone addressed a group of delegates to the Republican National Convention in New York, saying, "Isn't it great to be among Catholics who aren't afraid to be political? And isn't it great to find a few priests who aren't afraid to be political?" Pavone said that abortion was the "single issue" for him in the election of 2004, and indicated the politics of abortion was the reason he endorsed George W. Bush. Pavone said in 2004 that he believed most priests would vote for Bush, saying, "The President understands Christian moral values far better than John Kerry does. In fact, the President, though not Catholic, also understands Catholicism better." Pavone has made statements comparing supporting the legality of abortion to supporting terrorism. Pavone said "abortion is no less violent than terrorism". Additionally, in his blog, on September 18, 2008, Pavone wrote that he believed it was acceptable to distribute literature which says it is immoral to vote for Barack Obama, on Catholic Church property, as long as the Church itself is not distributing or sponsoring the literature.
When 2008 presidential candidate John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, Pavone said he believed that Palin was a better Catholic than Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, due to her opposition to abortion, even though Palin was raised a Protestant in the Assemblies of God church.
In January 2010, Pavone commented on the special election victory of Republican Scott Brown to fill the late Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy's U.S. Senate seat. Although Brown has a moderate stance on abortion, supporting certain restrictions, while still supporting it's legality, Pavone considered his victory as an example that "elections are the answer". Pavone said that the Democratic party ignored the will of the people and that the election of Republican Scott Brown to fill the late Democratic Ted Kennedy's seat showed that "the people respond at the voting booth to reclaim their own voice".
On August 1, 2012, Priests for Life, Pavone, and its many ministries, were saluted in the United States House of Representatives. Six members of the United States Congress, including Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rep. Chris Smith, spent 35 minutes speaking from the floor of Congress about the work of Priests for Life. C-SPAN broadcast the Special Order live.
In August 2012, after Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan invited President Barack Obama to the annual Al Smith Dinner, Pavone criticized the decision, saying it "amounts to scandal", due to Obama's support of legalized abortion.
||This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. (February 2015)|
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- Feurherd, Joe. "Battling the 'heretics' at the Republican National Convention: former Corpus Christi bishop prays for Bush victory." National Catholic Reporter. September 17, 2004.
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