CNA Newsroom, Dec 18, 2022 / 19:20 pm
On Nov. 9, Cardinal Lazzaro You Heung Sik, prefect for the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Clergy, dismissed Father Frank Pavone from the priesthood for “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.”
The decree, shared with U.S. bishops in a letter dated Dec. 13 written by the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, precludes any possibility of appeal.
Pavone, 63, is the longtime national director of the pro-life organization Priests for Life who is well-known for his pro-life activism, politically charged social media posts, and public support of former president Donald Trump.
Pavone’s sudden laicization has shocked many Catholics and pro-life advocates. It also raises a host of still-unanswered questions about his case. Among them: What are the specific canonical crimes with which Pavone was charged? And when, and how, was he notified he is no longer a priest? Pavone, for his part, claims that he had no prior notification about the Vatican’s action until contacted by CNA on Dec. 17. Is this plausible?