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AMARILLO, TX, January 17, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Nearly two and a half years after he recalled Priests for Life National Director Father Frank Pavone to the Diocese of Amarillo, Bishop Patrick Zurek has said his concerns have been “favorably addressed.”

“My concerns included some restructuring of PFL so that it would have juridic personality and become a true ecclesial association,” Zurek wrote in a recent letter to the U.S. bishop, reported The Long Island Catholic. “Also included was a request for more adequate and transparent reporting of finances to the competent ecclesiastical authority. Both of these requests have been favorably addressed by the Congregation of Clergy.”

The bishop also praised Pavone's work, saying he is “happy that this process is at an end and I hope and pray that Father Pavone and PFL may now continue its important work in the defense of all human life, especially that of the unborn.”

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In a statement to LifeSiteNews.com, Father Pavone said he was pleased with the outcome. “We are very happy with the developments that have transpired,” he said. “We have had a fruitful year in 2013, and we look forward to an even more fruitful year in 2014, in full communion with the church and the entire pro-life movement.”

The conflict began in September 2011 when Zurek recalled Pavone to Amarillo, the diocese in which the priest is incardinated. The bishop said it was for “spiritual and theological renewal in order to recapture that essential priestly hallmark of respect and obedience.” Zurek expressed concern over what he called Pavone's “ego” and his “stewardship of the finances of…Priest[s] For Life.”


The recall also included a request that if bishops and other authorities “judged it to be prudent,” they should “inform the Christian faithful under your care to consider withholding donations to the PFL until the issues and concerns are settled.”


In November 2012, the Congregation for Clergy decided that since Priests for Life is headquartered in the Archdiocese of New York, the Archbishop of New York is the correct authority within the Church to “exercise vigilance over the association.”


Pavone obeyed Zurek and returned to Amarillo, but appealed to the Vatican. The Congregation for Clergy initially sustained Pavone's appeal in May 2012. Shortly afterwards, the Diocese of Amarillo released a statement saying that Bishop Zurek would “grant permission to [Father Pavone], in individual cases, based upon their merits, to participate in pro-life events with the provision that he and I must be in agreement beforehand as to his role and function.”

In 2011, Pavone said that 2010 had “mark[ed] the tenth consecutive year that the organization's auditors have provided a 'clean' audit opinion, when reporting on the respective year's financial statements.”

Shortly after the recall was issued by Bishop Zurek, the Vicar of Clergy for the Diocese of Amarillo publicly stated that Pavone “was a priest in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church.” The statement also said the financial questions raised by Zurek did not mean Pavone “is being charged with any malfeasance or being accused of any wrongdoing with the financial matters of Priests for Life.”

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