Father Frank Pavone told Newsmax his defrocking, as allegedly ordered by Pope Francis, has been pushed under the guise of "political advocacy," but really it is about priests and bishops being "envious" of Catholics' support for Priests for Life.
"They don't like the fact that people are supporting Priests for Life, and they will continue to support Priests for Life for this reason: That they see us saying the things and doing the work that they wish their own priests and their own bishops we're doing, but they're not," Father Pavone, the national director of the pro-life advocacy group, told "Saturday Report."
"And this is getting some of these men envious. This is getting some of them downright angry, because they don't control our board. They don't control our finances. They don't control the influence of our message. I think on a human level that explains a lot of what's going on."
While political advocacy is frowned upon in the Catholic church, sharing the Catholic message of protecting the lives of the unborn is truly the goal, not supporting specific politics or candidates.
"Part of what's going on is because bishops have told me they don't like the political advocacy and I'm like: 'What do you want me to do, support pro-abortion candidates?' Of course I support pro-life candidates," Pavone told host Rita Cosby, noting the November endorsement for former President Donald Trump's 2024 campaign was made to advance the message of the Catholic church that lives are precious.
"'We don't like your support of President Trump,'" Pavone continued, quoting those responding to his reported defrocking. "Yeah, but he's most pro-life president the United States has ever had. It's thanks to him that we got Roe v. Wade reversed.
"They don't like me being so bold and outspoken on abortion, and I say: 'Well, once abortion stops being so aggressive against these little babies then you come talk to me about how aggressive I am.'"
Ultimately, it is about the money coming in to support pro-life priests that has the Catholic church leaders "envious," particularly with the Democrat-supporting and anti-Trump leadership, according to Pavone.
"With our work, the pro-life movement is as vigorous as ever before," Pavone said. "We've recently had some great victories as you know. But the fact of the matter is that some in the church don't like this work."
Pavone noted there is the potential he can still officially return to the Catholic church.
"I'm petitioning Pope Francis to reverse this, and if he doesn't, I'll petition the next pope," Pavone said. "But I'm not going anywhere. I'm not going away from the church, and I'm not going away from my full-time, pro-life leadership either."
Pavone's defrocking is not even officially filed, he added.
"Neither I nor my canonical team in the United States or in Rome have received any official communication; we heard about it through the Catholic media," Pavone said. "And there's no appeal process simply because Pope Francis signed off on this, so he's the highest human authority in the church. But things like this have been reversed by the pope in the past."
Ultimately, the pope's political opposition to Pavone's pro-life work flies in the face of Catholic teachings, he warned.
"The main issue is that we have got to get the job done that the church says it's committed to: Protecting the unborn, the most vulnerable," Pavone said. "We run the world's largest ministry for healing after abortion. There are a lot of wounds, especially now at Christmas time, those that have aborted their children feel those wounds. We're right there by their side. We're ministering to them. If certain authorities in the church don't like that, frankly, that's not my problem. It's theirs.
"And secondly, you know some people say, 'Oh, you didn't listen to your bishop,'" he continued. "My bishop lied to me about what the Vatican wanted. The Vatican backed me up 10 years ago in the similar kind of battle. This has been going on for 21 years.
"And they said, 'give father permission to do this work,' and he comes back to me, and he tells me they said I could not give you permission to do this work. It's like what's a person supposed to do?
"So there's real problems in the church? But we in the pro-life movement – and I'll continue my full-time, pro-life leadership – we're keeping our eyes on the prize. We've got to protect these babies, because if we don't protect the right to life, we can't enjoy any other right."
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Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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