Wednesday, September 14, 2011

High-Profile Activist Priest Frank Pavone Suspended Pending Financial Investigation

And (piggybacking on what I just posted about the recent GOP debate in Florida) as the 2012 election campaign gets underway, further complicating things for the U.S. Catholic bishops, with their meme, GOP = party of life and Democrats = party of death, there's this: yesterday, one of the leading spokesmen for the meme, Father Frank Pavone, was suspended by his bishop, Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, over concerns regarding Pavone's financial stewardship of his Priests for Life organization.  David Gibson reports on this story at Huffington Post.

The latest year for which tax returns are now available for Priests for Life, 2008, shows the group taking in $10.8 million.  Pavone has led a high-profile, peripatetic, and surprisingly independent (independent of ecclesiastical supervision, that is) existence in recent years, raking in money for his organization as he mounts hyper-publicized events like his vigil for Terry Schiavo several years ago.  In all these respects, his ministerial profile echoes those of two other high-profile, peripatetic, and independent priests whose ministries have fallen on hard times in the past year or so--Father Thomas Euteneueur and Father John Corapi, whom I've discussed repeatedly on this blog.*  All three priests share a staunchly conservative ideology, and have been the darling of right-wing Catholic media circuits.

I say that what is happening to Pavone will complicate things for the U.S. bishops this election cycle, as they attempt to convince Catholic voters that faithful Catholics will vote for the pro-life (i.e., Republican) party, for the following reason: Pavone has made no bones about identifying the Democratic party with death and the Republican party with life.

Back in 2005, when he was leading the crusade to politicize the decision of Terri Schiavo's husband to stop artificial life-support for his brain-dead comatose wife, Pavone told the media

Howard Dean is leading the Democrats well, because he is making clear to all of us that the party walks in lockstep with the culture of death.

For valuable background information about Pavone and his political connections, see this 2006 posting at the Talk to Action site.

* Readers interested in reviewing what I've written about these two priests can enter their names into the search window at the top left-hand corner of the Bilgrimage homepage, and the search will return a list of my previous postings about them.

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