Pavone, 63, who was ordained in the Archdiocese of New York, is known for his sometimes profanity-laced social media posts and provocative pro-life activism, which included a live-streamed endorsement of Trump in 2016 during which Pavone placed an aborted baby on a table he also used for Mass.
Pavone hosted the television show “Defending Life” on EWTN for many years until Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo revoked his permission to appear on the network. EWTN is the parent organization of CNA.
On both his Twitter and Facebook pages, Pavone continues to present himself as a priest. A laicized priest is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments, except for hearing confessions and absolving a sinner in danger of death, Father Gerald E. Murray, a canon lawyer, told CNA in an interview Sunday.
"Any other sacramental celebration is unlawful and thus an act of disobedience," Murray said.
Pavone was still saying Masses online as recently as last week, according to videos posted online. The spokeswoman said Priests for Life would not comment on whether Pavone will continue to do so.
In interviews and social media posts, Pavone has framed the judgment against him as retaliation for his outspokenness on the pro-life issue, rather than an indictment of his conduct.
In a Dec. 17 tweet, Pavone stated that he was being “aborted.”
“[I]n every profession, including the priesthood, if you defend the #unborn, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we are ‘aborted,’ we continue to speak, loud and clear,” Pavone wrote. He later tweeted the words “Ecclesiastical #abortion.”
Pavone also claims that his removal from the priesthood stems from a yearslong effort by Amarillo Bishop Patrick J. Zurek and others in the Catholic hierarchy to discredit and silence him.
In his interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Pavone called Zurek “one of the ringleaders in all of this.”
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“The process has been a one-sided narrative,” he told CBN. “It’s a one-sided effort to just cancel out what we are trying to do.”
Pierre’s letter to the bishops, however, included a clear statement that the Vatican’s decree has no bearing on Pavone’s involvement in Priests for Life.
“Since Priests for Life, Inc. is not a Catholic organization, Mr. Pavone's continuing role in it as a layperson would be entirely up to the leadership of that organization,” the statement said.
In a tweet Monday morning, Pavone said his board, pastoral team, and staff at Priests for Life are “1000% united with me in moving forward with our work.”
“We will not slow down. My vocation is to be a priest and a #prolife leader and I will not walk away from either one of those!” Pavone wrote.