What to do when a bishop ignores you?

Jill Stanek reports:

It seems to me a compassionate spiritual leader would attempt to mitigate the damage his decision caused to innocent bystanders.

One important event caught in the crossfire was the International Pro-Life Youth Conference, scheduled for this weekend, November 11-13, in Los Angeles.

Father Pavone has been advertised as this event’s keynote speaker for months.

I just learned tonight that the youth leaders in charge of the IPLYC have been attempting to reach out to Bishop Zurek to secure his permission to allow Father Pavone to attend this event, and the bishop will not respond.

Read more

PFL public relations director attempts to “set the record straight” about the Bishop Zurek/Father Pavone/Priests for Life dispute

As published in the October 25, 2011 issue of the Amarillo Globe-News

For over a month now, a tremendous amount of misinformation has been spread across the country about Father Frank Pavone and Priests for Life. In the interest of fairness, the editors have offered us the opportunity to set the record straight and we thank them.

Read the article

Jill Stanek writes: Bishop Zurek admits to being a bit behind in his (Priests for Life) paperwork.

To clarify, PFL submits all financial statements and audits to Father Pavone’s diocese and members of PFL’s board of directors as soon as they are completed.

Thus, Bishop Zurek was admitting that the Amarillo Diocese has had PFL’s up-to-date financial records in its possession from the time Father Pavone joined the diocese in 2005 – contrary to Bishop Zurek’s allusion in his September 9 letter to all U.S. bishops that Father Pavone had “rebuff[ed] my every attempt at calling for financial transparency.”

In addition, Bishop Zurek went on to say in that October 5 letter, “I shall submit these statements to my advisors for review. After I have been advised about these financial statements, I shall forward to you all their concerns and questions.”

In other words, Bishop Zurek was conceding that neither he nor his advisers have ever analyzed PFL’s financial statements, even though he wrote a scathing letter to all U.S. bishops on September 9 all but accusing Father Pavone of financial malfeasance and recommending that parishioners withhold donations to PFL.

Read more

Details about Father Pavone’s “no show” emerge

On October 14–the day after the scheduled meeting–Father David Deibel, a canon lawyer representing Priests for Life, disclosed that he had advised Father Pavone not to meet with the bishop.

Father Deibel said that he had made numerous requests to Bishop Zurek, suggesting mediation, but had received no reply. Reporting that other Church officials had recommended mediation, the canonist said: “The details and history of the present situation are such that moving forward to a resolution is no longer simply a matter of getting together and talking.” He said that it would be best for Father Pavone not to meet with his bishop under a plan for mediation was in place.

Father Deibel criticized Bishop Zurek for informing the public about his plans to meet with Father Pavone. “All of us want this entire process to be carried out in private rather than through the media,” he said, in a statement released to the media.

Link to Catholic Culture website

Bishop Zurek clams up. Father Pavone fails to show up.

“This is a delicate internal church matter that needs to be resolved between a bishop and his priest,” Zurek said. “This is parallel to a human resources matter in the secular workplace. And it is even more sensitive when you factor in the relationship between a bishop and his priest as one similar to a father to a son or a brother to a brother.

“In this case, right now, a real concern for me is Father Pavone.”

Read more

Perhaps Bishop Zurek could be invited to appear on EWTN to explain the rationale behind Father Pavone’s “suspension”.

In addition to suspending Pavone from ministry outside Amarillo, (bishop) Zurek has prohibited the activist priest from appearing on the Eternal Word Television Network, available to more than 160 million households worldwide. The independent nonprofit Catholic network based in Alabama is one of Pavone’s primary vehicles for spreading his pro-life message.

The bishop, Pavone’s backers say, has effectively muzzled one of the movement’s most recognized voices.

Zurek “has taken one of the most staunch pro-life leaders, one of the most effective ones, out of the battle and shut down his organization,” abortion foe and Pavone ally Mark Crutcher said on a recorded talk show uploaded to YouTube last week. “You can sugar coat it all you want to, but that’s what’s happening, and it’s outrageous.”

Link

Seen on the web: This (Father Pavone’s) bishop sounds like Obama…

Posted by stilbelieve on Friday, Oct 7, 2011 9:36 AM (EDT):

This bishop sounds like Obama: We’ve got a serious problem with our economy that needs immediate attention; I will have a plan to deal with it as soon as I get back from vacation in a month.

My question to this bishop and all bishops is: Why do we need to have a “Priest For Life” organization in the first place?  Why aren’t ALL priest Priest For Life?  Why do the bishops leave it up to this one priest?

Link

Christopher Ferrara on priestly obedience and bishop’s failings

Bishop Zurek’s power play against Father Pavone is a prime example of why the pro-life movement has yet to win a major victory in America: the Bishops are not behind it.  The closest they have come to unity of action in the public sphere is support for Obama’s “Dream Act”—a federal gift basket for illegal aliens. Their chanceries and seminaries riddled with modernists and homosexuals, the American bishops—of course there are noble exceptions—have betrayed the greatest civil rights movement of our time, just as they have betrayed the defense of Holy Matrimony by their cowardly failure to offer a serious and united opposition to “same-sex marriage” initiatives.

How is it that their demands for “obedience” so rarely  advance the cause of Gospel, but so often advance the Church’s surrender to modernity?

Yet the power of the Catholic episcopacy is not entirely dormant elsewhere. In 2008 one Catholic commentator noted the “seemingly miraculous transformation” of the Brazilian hierarchy, producing a “pro-life Pentecost” that has led the Brazilian bishops to adopt strategies that “are a lesson to the whole Catholic world,” including the direct confrontation of “pro-choice politicians,” the excommunication of doctors performing abortions, and a massive educational campaign depicting abortion  procedures in graphic detail, with the result that “Brazilian lay Catholics  are horrified by what they see, and are inspired to act against abortion.” The Brazilian bishops’ goal is not only to “stop new anti-life legislation, but to eliminate all exceptions in Brazil’s penal code regarding abortion.”

The same commentator asks:

“What effect would such an approach have if all of the Catholic bishops of the world were to imitate the Brazilian bishops, and declare war on abortion, euthanasia, and other offenses against human life?”

While the American population is only twenty-five percent Catholic, he notes, “[i]f this ‘sleeping giant’ were to awaken, galvanized by clear preaching and educational campaigns that clearly reveal the crime of abortion, how could any political party stand against it?” 

How indeed?

Disturbing video documents the Father Frank Pavone/Bishop Zurek controversy

Watch the video

Bishop Zurek back in town. Father Pavone still “suspended”.

From the Diocese of Amarillo website:

Letter from Bishop Zurek:

Father Frank Pavone remains suspended. At my discretion and solicitude, he has faculties for ministry in the Diocese of Amarillo. He does not have my permission for ministry outside of the Diocese. He is to remain in the Diocese for an indefinite period of time for prayer and reflection.

Link

Editor’s note: I’m beginning to see the reasons why Bishop Zurek has been assigned to one of the smallest and most out of the way Catholic dioceses in the country.

U.S. abortionists wantonly slaughter the equivalent of the entire population of the Diocese of Amarillo (50,000 souls) about every two weeks!

Perhaps Pope Benedict could summon the good bishop to the Vatican for some prayer and reflection of his own, regarding the critical need for strong, Catholic leadership in the struggle against the world-wide culture of death!

Definition of solicitude:
a: The state of being concerned and anxious b : attentive care and protectiveness; also : an attitude of earnest concern or attention.

Seen on the web, regarding Father Pavone

Fr. Pavone does a wonderful job of fighting for and defending the unborn. He should have a highway set before him instead of a roadblock.

Link

Bishop Zurek succeeds where Vatican II never could: Protestants and Catholics are united, at last!

Members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, an ecumenical group of pro-life advocates from various Protestant denominations, along with Catholics, have released a new statement supporting Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

As LifeNews has reported, the pro-life movement has been abuzz with the news that Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo has asked Father Pavone to come back to serve in the diocese and has temporarily prevented him from exercising his duties as the head of Priests for Life. Zurek alleges, with little supporting evidence, that there are financial irregularities at Priests for Life despite annual audits from one of the nation’s top accounting firms.

Today, members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council submitted the following statement supporting Father Pavone, who is a member of the Council via his role as the national director for Priests for Life:

The members of the National Pro-Life Religious Council stand in solidarity with our friend, colleague and President of the Council, Fr. Frank Pavone. It has long been Father Pavone’s belief that he has been called by God, within his priestly vocation, to serve in full-time pro-life work.

We can attest that his ability to serve in this capacity over the past twenty years has, directly and indirectly, saved the lives of countless unborn children and also resulted in the healing of countless others who have been touched by the tragedy that is abortion.

The NPRC fully supports Father Pavone’s efforts to continue his vital and life-saving ministry with Priests for Life in a full-time capacity.

Signed,

Georgette Forney, Anglicans for Life, & the Silent No More Awareness Campaign

The Rev. Terry Gensemer, CEC for Life (International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church)

The Rev. J. Kirk van der Swaagh, Conservative Congregational Christian Conference

The Rev. Paul Stallsworth, Lifewatch, Taskforce of United Methodists on Abortion and Sexuality

Ed Szeto, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care

Dennis Di Mauro , Lutherans for Life International

The Rev. Rob Schenck, National Clergy Council

Tom Glessner, NIFLA (National Institute of Family and Life Advocates)

Marie Bowen, Presbyterians Pro-Life

The Rev. John Brown, United Church of Christ Friends for Life

Read more

It’s not about you, Bishop Zurek … or even about Father Pavone. It’s about saving babies!

Fr. Frank is the reason I am where I am today…emotionally and spiritually.  He has given me guidance and direction that I couldn’t find from anyone else.  I am not a particularly emotional person.  The first time I heard Fr. Frank speak at an event about clinic workers, I wept.  How could he see inside my heart?  How did he know my thoughts?  Because this is his life. He isn’t just in this for the children; he is in this for people like me, too…the wounded, the broken, the angry, the scarred.

I look at how abortion has crept into our Christian culture and see thousands of clergy who are scared to defend our unborn children.  And then I see Fr. Frank.  He is a man who is always ready to speak the truth.  A man who is always ready to stand up for what is right.  He is a man of courage.  I am proud to stand by him during this time of trial.

Read more from the former manager of an abortuary

Priest for Life’s letter to the bishops

…The distressing conclusion of Bishop Zurek’s letter seems to us to be an outright and unjustified attack on the work of Priests for Life as a whole, which is much more grave than his real or imagined difficulty with Father Pavone.

In His Excellency’s final paragraph, he asks you to “inform the Christian faithful under your care to consider withholding donations to PFL.” Herein lies the danger of introducing an element of mistrust toward an organization with an earned, longstanding and positive reputation, along with praise and endorsements from bishops and cardinals throughout the United States and the Vatican.

Bishop Zurek’s denunciation of Priests for Life has already provoked scandal where none exists, thereby fulfilling the concern he professes to have. Based merely on insinuations, misunderstandings, and conjecture, a public accusation against Priests for Life—calling into question the organization’s ethics and spirit—tarnishes and stigmatizes what has become a most prominent pro-life ministry in the Church. Everyone will be harmed—including the unborn—perhaps irrevocably.

Perhaps what is most distressing is the fact that the denunciations are predicated on non-existent facts. Documentary evidence that leads to the opposite conclusion and that is readily accepted in professional circles exists and is in the possession of Bishop Zurek and others concerned with Priests for Life.

Read more (PDF file)

“Free Father Frank” pro-lifers plan to picket Amarillo churches

Gregg Cunningham of the Center For Bio-Ethical Reform said in a press release. “Street pickets will be supplemented by the operation of a fleet of large billboard trucks bearing signs which will also depict aborted babies and urge Amarillo Catholics to tactfully contact Bishop Zurek to request that he ‘free Father Frank.’”

“The trucks will be accompanied by aircraft towing large aerial billboards which will also bear aborted baby imagery and exhortational text messages,” added Cunningham, who has been a longtime ally of Priests for Life. “These pickets will continue until Bishop Zurek releases Father Pavone from what amounts from ecclesiastical ‘house arrest.’”

Comparing Bishop Zurek’s decision to “the Star Chamber proceedings employed by Ferdinand and Isabella during the Spanish Inquisition,” Cunningham said that “for decades, senior Catholic clerics have hindered efforts to protect the safety of school children. Apparently learning nothing from this appalling lapse, a senior Catholic cleric is now hindering efforts to protect the safety of unborn children. This indiscretion is no less scandalous.”

Link

Bishop Zurek also wants to see financials for Rachel’s Vinyard and MGL

Amarillo’s Roman Catholic bishop called for financial transparency not only from Priests for Life, an anti-abortion group commanding millions in annual contributions, but also from two other nonprofits associated with a popular pro-life priest.

Bishop Patrick J. Zurek has demanded that the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, produce documentation for how donations have been handled by the Staten Island, N.Y., charity’s affiliates Rachel’s Vineyard and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life, said Monsignor Harold Waldow, vicar of clergy for the Diocese of Amarillo.

Read more

Read Amarillo Bishop Zurek’s homily from a recent Respect Life Sunday

Today, the rate of abortion is the lowest since Roe vs. Wade became a Law.  Fifty percent of Americans state they are Pro-Life.  But abortions still occur; so the Church cries out in lamentation and even anger at what man perpetrates.  Holy Church justifiably cries out her fury like the mama bear that sees her cubs threatened.  But we do no harm!  We “Christians are the conscience of our society.”  (Diognetis, 3rd  C.)  Therefore we “proclaim the sacredness of human life.”   We work and pray hard for a “Culture of Life.”  We return a blessing, not a curse, to those twisted with a Pro Choice mentality and philosophy.  We commit to pray for them.  We tell them we WILL PRAY  for them!

Read more

Editor’s note: Occasional homilies aside, Bishop Zurek’s pro-life credentials appear to be virtually non-existent.

Operation Rescue Supports Father Pavone of Priests for Life

Operation Rescue has released the following statement supporting Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, who is being prevented from exercising his duties as the national director of the pro-life organization:

Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life is one of the most respected and effective leaders in the Pro-Life movement today. We were saddened and confused by the order of Bishop Patrick Zurek to suddenly confine Fr. Frank’s priestly duties to Amarillo, Texas. It makes no good sense to remove him from the mission field while children continue to die at the hands of unscrupulous abortionists.

“I can think of nothing the abortion cartel would want more than to have Fr. Frank sidelined at this critical time when the pro-life movement is gaining ground and poised to finally end abortion,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

“The attack on the good name of Priests for Life and Fr. Frank Pavone in particular is shocking to say the least. Priests for Life’s books are a matter of public record. I would expect this kind of slanderous attack from someone at Planned Parenthood or NARAL, but not from a bishop in the Church. This is a very sad day for the innocent unborn.

“We have labored alongside Fr. Frank throughout the years and know him to be a humble yet determined and faithful man of the highest integrity. It is hard to understand why Bishop Zurek would make such outrageous public accusations against him, casting a shadow where none should be. I can’t help but think of the Scriptures that say we should do to others what we would want done to us. Certainly Bishop Zurek would not want his reputation besmirched with unfounded accusations as he has done to Fr. Frank. Perhaps he should have considered that before acting out with such a heavy hand.”

Read more

Seen on the web regarding Bishop Zurek, Father Pavone, and the PFL dispute

Posted Wednesday, September 14, 2011 6:39 AM By Larry

Ohhh, boy. If you thought the Corapi case was ugly, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, my friends. In that case, the accuser was a third party. Here the accuser is Father Pavone’s superior, a diocesan bishop who has as much as charged Pavone with being a crook as well as a rogue priest, going so far as to urge a donation boycott against Priests for Life.

I don’t see any wiggle room here, folks–no way around the conclusion that one of these two men is lying and when the dust finally settles, will have been unmasked and disgraced in front of faithful Catholics everywhere.

At least as fervently as with Corapi, I hope that Pavone can prove his innocense–but if he can, then that would mean that Bishop Zurek is not only a scoundrel, but a spectacular fool to have hurled charges and taken action as serious as this without sufficient evidence to back it up.

The Bishop faces high stakes as well. If it were to turn out that he is guilty of calumny and the attempted sabotage of the pro-life movement, the backlash will be overwhelming–far worse than with President Obama and Notre Dame.

The Holy See would either have to ask for his resignation or risk driving large numbers of the faithful into the arms of SSPX. Unless he is certifiably insane, Zurek must know this, and the Holy See must know it also and must be quietly watching and listening. Either way, I’m not looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Link

Editor’s note: I suspect the ill will towards Father Pavone, Priests for Life, and the pro-life movement (if it truly exists) will eventually be discovered, cleverly concealed in the Chancellery of the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas. Most bishops are much too savvy to fall for such things, without assistance.

However this turns out, what about the score of bishops who already sit on the board of Priests for Life? How will they respond to these allegations?

Father Pavone: Bishop Zurek is my Ordinary, but he is not the bishop of Priests for Life. Many of you know our ministry much better than he does.

Read Father Pavone’s entire response (PDF file)