In November 2016, Pavone filmed a video at the Priests for Life headquarters, urging support for Trump. The video was staged with the body of an aborted baby laid before Pavone on what appeared to be an altar.
Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo said soon after the video's release that he would open an investigation into the incident, calling it "against the dignity of human life" and "a desecration of the altar," and adding that "the action and presentation of Father Pavone in this video is not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church."
Pavone told CNA in April that "nothing happened" after the incident, and the Amarillo diocese has not responded to questions about its investigation or its outcome.
Pavone said he had done similar things before that incident.
"[W]ould I do it again? Absolutely," he told CNA.
Pavone was incardinated in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, in 2005, when he transferred to that diocese from the Archdiocese of New York with plans to begin a pro-life religious order of priests. Those plans did not materialize, and Pavone found himself at odds with Bishop Patrick Zurek, soon after the bishop was installed in 2008.
In 2011, the dispute between Pavone and Zurek became public, after the priest was recalled to the diocese and suspended by the bishop. Pavone appealed to the Vatican, and the suspension was eventually lifted in 2012.
In April, the priest told CNA that his relationship with Zurek remained rocky, and that he was in the process of transferring to a new diocese.
The Diocese of Amarillo has not responded to repeated requests from CNA for clarity about Pavone's political activity or ecclesiastical status, including requests to clarify whether he has faculties to minister publicly as a priest.
Pavone told CNA in July that he remains incardinated in the Amarillo diocese, "but my transfer has been canonically completed to a different bishop who has good will toward me and my work."
He declined to name that diocese, saying that "the announcement of what diocese I'm in now is up to the same ecclesiastical authority to make."
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Pavone sought a transfer to the Diocese of Colorado Springs in 2016. Asked by CNA in April if his pending transfer was to that diocese, he would not say. The diocese told CNA then that Bishop Michael Sheridan had not received information from the Vatican indicating that Pavone was being transferred there.