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 Jim Hale/LifeSiteNews

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — In response to the laicization of “America’s best loved pro-life priest,” Fr. Frank Pavone, the National Director of Priests for Life as well as the President of the National Pro-Life Religious Council, “by order of Pope Francis,” LifeSiteNews has hand-delivered a petition to the Dicastery for the Clergy at its offices in the Vatican, requesting that “Fr. Frank Pavone’s laicization must be overturned.”

John-Henry Westen spoke to Pavone by video from St. Peter’s Square, just feet away from the offices of the Dicastery for the Clergy, prior to the delivery of the petition. 

The petition gathered over 45,000 signatures and calls on faithful Catholics and pro-lifers to “stand by Fr. Pavone ASAP!” declaring, “This outrageous attack on the pro-life movement by the so-called ‘listening Church’ is a mockery of justice.” 

READ: Cardinal Müller slams Pope Francis’ ‘political’ laicization of Fr. Pavone 

As detailed in the petition, “a December 13 letter to all bishops in America, sent from the Pope’s representative in America – the Papal Nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre – said that Fr. Pavone was laicized for ‘blasphemous communications on social media’ and ‘persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop.’” 

“In a separate statement, the papal nuncio wrote that the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Clergy – the head of the Vatican’s department dealing with priests – said that there was ‘no possibility of appeal’ of the decision.”

The petition drew attention to the strange canonical irregularity that “the decision on the matter by the Dicastery for Clergy was issued on November 9, but Fr. Pavone had not heard of the decision from the Vatican until CNA called him for comment.” Signatories of the petition are demanding “that Pope Francis immediately stop his attacks against faithful priests!”