As was recently reported, the Vatican has signed off on an order for Father Frank Pavone's laicization. A laicized priest is no longer referred to as "Father," and he is stripped of his rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry.
A letter to U.S. bishops from the Vatican ambassador to the US Archbishop Christophe Pierre, obtained Sunday, said that the decision against Pavone had been taken in early November and that there was no chance for an appeal.
Speaking with Fox News soon after the announcement, Father Pavone, who has headed Priests for Life for decades, said the church has succumbed to the cancel culture.
"They're trying to do the same within the church to priests like me," he stated. "It's not going to work. My vocation is to be a priest and to be a full-time pro-life leader."
Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute tells AFN Pavone is accused of "blasphemous communications on social media" as well as "persistent disobedience," but he points out that "the nature of the disobedience and the suggestion of blasphemy are not identified."
Pavone maintains that he is not guilty of blasphemy and says he views his so-called disobedience as faithfulness. He suspects his longtime conflict with the Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo, Texas over his pro-life and partisan political activities finally came to a head. He says Bishop Zurek has threatened him for at least five years, particularly since 2016, when he put an aborted baby 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.
Meanwhile, Hichborn points out that church has chosen to ignore the actions of at least two priests who openly support the homosexual lifestyle.
"To seek laicization for a priest who is engaged in pro-life advocacy and to turn a blind eye to the priests that are advocating for open sodomy shows that there is not only a disproportionate application of the law, but they are actually targeting the pro-life movement and not the movement in favor of sodomy," Hichborn reasons.
Pavone acknowledges that he has a slim chance to be reinstated until there is a new pope. In the meantime, he has vowed to press on.
"I want to be a priest. I'm not leaving the church under any circumstances. If you close the door, I'm going to be standing on the other side of the door waiting for it to open again, and I'm going to keep doing my pro-life work," Pavone asserts.