Monday, December 19, 2022


There are many stories right now that are more important, but this one makes me happy:
Frank Pavone, who leads the advocacy organization Priests for Life, and was once a religious adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, was dismissed from the clergy on Nov. 9 with no possibility of appeal ... the removal, called laicization, ... was approved by the Dicastery for the Clergy, a Vatican office.

“This action was taken after Father Pavone was found guilty in canonical proceedings of blasphemous communications on social media, and of persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop,” [a Vatican letter] states.

... on Twitter [in] 2020 ... he referred to “supporters of this goddamn loser Biden and his morally corrupt, America-hating, God hating Democrat party.”
Priests are expected to oppose abortion, but Pavone is at another level:
Pavone has been in conflict with the bishop of Amarillo, Texas, for over a decade over his pro-life and partisan political activities that came to a head in 2016 when he put an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a video of it on two social media sites. The video was accompanied by a post saying that Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform would allow abortion to continue and that Trump and the Republican platform wanted to protect unborn children.

Pavone relocated from Amarillo and was allowed to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado. His Twitter handle still features him wearing a “MAGA” hat with a background photo of former President Trump....
I wrote a lot of posts about this guy in the early days of the blog. A couple of decades ago, he was deeply involved in the story of Terri Schiavo, a Florida woman who became severely brain damaged and whose care was contested in the courts and demagogued by Republican politicians such as then-Florida governor Jeb Bush. Schiavo's husband said she'd previously told him she wouldn't want to have her life sustained under those circumstances; Pavone bigfooted his way into the story as a confidant of family members who wanted to keep her alive. After she died, an autopsy revealed that her brain was "profoundly atrophied" and that damage to the vision centers of her brain had left her blind. Which means that what Pavone claimed as her life was ending was a shameless lie. Immediately after her death, Pavone wrote:
I went to see her in September 2004 and again in February 2005. When her mom first introduced her to me, she stared at me intently. She focused her eyes. She would focus her eyes on whoever was talking to her. If somebody spoke to her from another part of the room, she would turn her head and her eyes toward the person speaking.

I told Terri she had many people around the country and around the world who loved her and were praying for her. She looked at me attentively. I said, “Terri now we are going to pray together, I want to give you a blessing, let’s say some prayers.” So I laid my hand on her head. She closed her eyes. I said the prayer. She opened her eyes again at the end of the prayer.
Pavone repeatedly called Schiavo's husband a murderer:
... after Terri died, I called her death a killing, and I called you a murderer because you knew -- as we all did -- that ceasing to feed Terri would kill her. We watched, but you had the power to save her. Her life was in your hands, but you threw it away, with the willing cooperation of attorneys and judges who were as heartless as you were. Some have demanded that I apologize to you for calling you a murderer. Not only will I not apologize, I will repeat it again. Your decision to have Terri dehydrated to death was a decision to kill her. It doesn’t matter if Judge Greer said it was legal. No judge, no court, no power on earth can legitimize what you did. It makes no difference if what you did was legal in the eyes of men; it was murder in the eyes of God and of millions of your fellow Americans and countless more around the world. You are the one who owes all of us an apology.
This happened a couple of years after Pavone spoke at a rally on July 22, 2004, at which members of the anti-abortion group Operation Save America burned a Quran, a rainbow flag, and a copy of the Roe v. Wade decision.

None of this made Pavone a pariah. He met privately with John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign. Prior to that, he addressed members of Congress and Republican officials at a gathering on the final day of the 2004 Republican convention, then delivered the invocation at an inaugural eve gala attended by Karl Rove and other prominent Republicans the following January, just before George W. Bush was sworn in a second time.

Here's Pavone now:

He'll continue to be a right-wing celebrity. He'll probably still continue to wear the priest's collar. He says he'll continue being an activist. He's already endorsed Trump for 2024 (although I'm sure he'll cozy up to Ron DeSantis if DeSantis beats Trump in the primaries). But he's not a priest anymore, and I hope that stings.

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