John Westen

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Canon lawyer advised Fr. Pavone not to attend private meeting with bishop

John Westen
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AMARILLO, October 14, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The disagreement between Priests for Life Founder and President Fr. Frank Pavone and his Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek remains tense.  Bishop Zurek spoke with the Amarillo media today noting that Fr. Pavone failed to turn up to a private meeting the bishop had requested with him on October 13.

“I would welcome a meeting with Father Pavone, face to face, a meeting as his bishop,” Zurek said according to Amarillo.com. “I am still waiting for a favorable response to that.”

In response, Fr. Pavone’s canon lawyer has said that he advised Fr. Pavone not to attend the meeting without a mediator present.

“The details and history of the present situation are such that moving forward to a resolution is no longer simply a matter of getting together and talking,” said Canonist Fr. David Deibel.

On October 6, Bishop Zurek issued a public statement posted to his webpage noting he would be meeting privately with Pavone on October 13.

The bishop said that during the meeting he hoped to discuss Fr. Pavone’s “spiritual progress during this time of prayer and reflection.” The bishop also invited “all concerned to join me in prayer for both Fr. Pavone and myself for a fruitful and productive dialogue.”

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Fr. Deibel, in his official statement released today,  says that requests to have a mediator present at any meeting between Pavone and the bishop have not been acknowledged. “Several Church officials have made it clear that they believe mediation is necessary, and that they are willing to undertake a role as mediators,” he said. “Unfortunately, Bishop Zurek has not responded to or even acknowledged any of these requests.”

“Instead,” added Deibel, “he wrote to Fr. Frank, asked him to come to a one-on-one meeting with him, and asked him in writing not to speak to anyone about the meeting. Then, the next day, before Father Frank even had an opportunity to respond, the Bishop announced the meeting on the front page of the website of the Amarillo diocese.”

Fr. Deibel said that Priests for Life would prefer that the process of discussing the disagreement take place in private rather than in the media.  He said that Priests for Life remains hopeful that Bishop Zurek will respond privately to the requests for mediation and that the matter will be resolved shortly.

Fr. Debel said however, “As his canonical consultant, I advised Father Frank not to have this private meeting until the process of mediation is underway.”

Note: comments have been disabled for this article because of the poor quality and argumentative nature of most of the comments originally posted.

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