WASHINGTON, January 25, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Many pro-lifers at the March for Life this year caught a glimpse of one prominent pro-life leader they might not have been expected to see.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life was sighted leading a crowd of post-abortive witnesses with Silent No More through the freezing rain on Capitol Hill Monday, and met with LifeSiteNews.com the following day to give an update on his situation with his Ordinary, Bishop Patrick Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo.
Bishops Zurek’s abrupt statement ordering Pavone to suspend his active ministry outside the diocese, citing unspecified questions surrounding Priest for Life’s financial integrity, shook the pro-life movement in September.
Pavone told LSN that the matter “has been placed in the hands of Rome” to help clear up confusion between the two parties, including exactly what the suspension order entails. Pavone said that Bishop Zurek has clarified that the priest is “not in prison” and is free to travel.
“He’s asked me to only exercise ministry in the Amarillo diocese. Part of what we’re asking from Rome is to help clarify exactly what the expectations are, because there is a lot of confusion here as to what I am and am not allowed to do,” he said. Pavone noted that he continues to seek a mediator that would be agreeable to both parties.
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The priest, who oversees the national Silent No More Awareness campaign as well as the post-abortive ministry Rachel’s Vineyard, emphasized that both he and Priests for Life have been “fully cooperative” with the bishop’s requests thus far, including the transfer of all requested paperwork, and that no charges have been leveled against himself or his organization.
Zurek told his brother bishops last year that he was suspending Fr. Pavone’s ministry outside the diocese based on “the result of deep concerns regarding his stewardship of the finances” of Priests for Life. Pavone obeyed the order to return to Amarillo and where he took up residence at a convent and announced that he had begun the process of appealing the decision to the Vatican.
Pavone said he expected feedback from Rome “relatively soon” to assist both parties advance the mission of the Church and the pro-life cause. “We’re all on the same page when it comes to that,” he said.