Many of you have probably heard the disheartening news about Fr. Frank Pavone. I was actually editing a podcast on Friday that included him and a pastor discussing life topics, when the announcement was made that he was being dismissed as a priest.
I have been thinking a lot about Fr. Frank Pavone since this Friday, such as the fact that he has been in a spiritual battle – to be in a spiritual battle*.
Instead of trying to summarize his story, I suggest reading it straight from him on his personal website – as he is keeping this website updated by the day. Fr. Frank Pavone’s personal website is https://frfrankpavone.com/. It features 3 documents that show where he has been, where he is and where he is going. I learned more about his journey based on his documented journey here.
So what does it mean when the most visible prolife representative in the Catholic Church is abused by limited/select leadership? I think this means that the Catholic Church has people/leadership who are prolife like Mother Teresa and Sister Paula while also having leadership who are distanced/disconnected from this particular spiritual battlefield and possibly having leadership who support abortion like those who may reflect/support Biden and Pelosi.
As I think about Fr. Frank Pavone, I know he is a fighter and I can see that he will not let this stop him. I can see the passion, humility and boldness that made Mother Teresa amazing reflected/weaved in Fr. Frank Pavone. She in fact supported him and Priests for Life.
As I think of Sister Paula** and how she would respond – I am going to say exactly what I thought on Friday when I did this – I found my right hand clenching into a fist. I think she would punch back (with her spiritual wisdom and kind spirit) in defense of Fr. Frank’s longstanding commitment to rescue the innocent.
Fr. Frank may be hard to manage just as entrepreneurs who believe deeply in their ideas are very hard to ‘slow down’ or ‘box in’. As an aging entrepreneur, I admire qualities like this. Some managers (such as those trying to manage Fr. Frank) may not have admired this quality. I would invite him to be on my team any day – as I am 100% on the same mission/vision and if he takes a unique/creative/different set of steps to reach the greater vision then that is beautiful. Perhaps certain leadership over Fr. Frank did not agree with Fr. Frank’s prolife mission/vision. Again, I imagine he would be amazing to work with side by side – serving Jesus in protecting the youngest image bearers of God.
The “ProLife Bridge” which has been a way for people to work together side by side – including people from different Jesus following faith flavors, such as evangelical, protestant, catholic, orthodox, baptist and non-denominational. With Fr. Frank being dismissed by the Catholic Church, I am left wondering what the condition of this ProLife Bridge looks like and as I ponder this, I think it is in the same condition – for the most part – as those who share a passion for life across these different religious groups still have this ProLife Bridge to work together. I don’t think this decision to dismiss Fr. Frank has damaged the catholic portion of this prolife bridge (much). I understand the Catholic Church to have many passionately prolife people in it. Let’s join them in prayer as their leadership needs to be unified with this important value of ‘protecting image bearers of God’ and this mission ‘to end abortion’.
I believe Fr. Frank is still a priest in the order of Melchizedek along with other believers/followers of Jesus. A priest working to rescue children from being slaughtered, binding up wounds, pointing to Jesus for healing, offering the gospel and serving Jesus in creative ways. As Pastor Eric, my pastor, has told me and my church body, we are all priests (ie. all believers in Jesus are called to be priests) – we are all pastors – we have the duty to bind wounds and offer Jesus to others. We all share in these priestly duties.
I think Fr. Frank is right when he said that those who support life and oppose abortion will be treated like the unborn – and will be viscously attacked. Based on his story, he speaks from 20+ years of experience on this matter.
And I also think he is right, when he said that we need to be aggressive until the aggressiveness of abortion stops. This seems to reflect the dedication and tenacity of Mother Teresa to protect the unborn. It is beautiful to see his tenacity for Jesus on the spiritual battlefield – to be on the spiritual battlefield against the spirit that influenced Herod.
I consider him a pillar in the ProLife world as the most visible Catholic prolife representative. He is dedicated to being the voice for the voiceless, working tirelessly to rescue children from the violence of abortion.
I think Fr. Frank represents a niche part of the tongue in the body of Christ – as he communicates tirelessly to support life and defend vulnerable image bearers of God.
Jacob L. Barr, Founder of iRapture.com
Additional Notes for Clarification:
* about “he has been in a spiritual battle – to be in a spiritual battle”:
According to Fr. Frank Pavone’s documents, he has experienced a spiritual battle within the catholic church to remain working in the prolife spiritual battlefield. So this represents him experiencing a spiritual battle to remain in the prolife spiritual battle. I found this part of his story to reflect deep courage and deep commitment.
** For those who don’t know Sister Paula:
Sister Paula was one of the founders of Heartbeat International and she ran International Life Services (https://internationallifeservices.org/). She worked to support pregnancy clinics for about 50 years. She was gifted in psychology and counseling. She passed away August 13, 2021. I worked with Sister Paula since 2012. Through my interactions with Sister Paula, I found her to be a beautiful inspiration. I am a follower of Jesus and have never been a catholic. Through my interaction with Sister Paula, I learned a bit about the Catholic Church.