Yesterday, we talked about the perversion of the “prolife” movement into a heresy which (with the honorable exception of the Consistent Life Ethic folk) has been transformed into a wholly-owned subsidiary of a GOP political cult at open war with the Church whenever its social and moral teaching gets in the way of what the traitorous MAGA crime syndicate wants.
The essence of heresy is not falsehood, but truth exaggerated to insane proportions and turned into a sort of cancerous tumor in the larger body of truth. So the bigger and more important the truth, the harder it is to get rid of the heresy, because the heretic will always see any threat to his monomaniac, staring, cyclopean Single Idea, not as a sane attempt to restore balance and set his idée fixe in its proper context, but as an assault on TRVTH itself.
That is why Arianism, far more than the earliest Christian heresy (the circumcision party in the New Testament) is the archetypal heresy. Sure, the Circumcsion Party exhibited the earmarks of heresy by glomming on to a single truth (that God had revealed himself through the ceremonies of the Mosaic law) and weaponized it against the fullness of his revelation in Jesus Christ (which showed the ceremonial rites of Moses to be provisional and temporary.
But for sheer megatonage of power, that particular attempt to weaponize part of the truth against the whole pales in comparison to the attempt to pit God the Father, literally the greatest truth there could possibly be, against the Son and the Holy Spirit. That was the core and essence of Arianism and the reason it was so hard to extirpate, for the Arian could and did alway defend himself by saying, “I’m just defending the Glory of God.”
The same thing is at work in the “prolife” heresy and, in particular, the career of Mr. Frank Pavone, who took an important truth–the dignity of human life from conception–and weaponized it to make war on the Church, sanity, and common decency to the degree that the Church has now relieved him of his faculties as a priest and laicized him. Indeed, as heresy often does, his has mutated into its own opposite to the degree that, instead of respecting the unborn, he used the corpses of babies as props to desecrate an altars so that he could do stump speeches for Donald Trump.
In the end, he wound up a priest for Trump, blaspheming the name of God to insult political enemies, lying to and about his bishop, and now practically daring the pope to excommunicate him. It’s all about the grift now. Henry Alt has more:
When CNA reported that the Vatican had defrocked Mr. Pavone, he complained that he had no idea. “How did CNA learn about this before I did?” he cried. He wants us to believe he rose one morning in the pink of innocence, said the Office, made his coffee and got online, read CNA, and sat there astonied. Apparently the Vatican defrocked him and decided not to tell him. That’s credible.
But now, Pavone tells CNA that it may have gotten lost in the stacks and stacks of mail that come in to Priests for Life. “I have no idea what they sent me,” said the befuddled Pavone. “The communication broke down a long time ago. They may indeed have sent something. I simply didn’t see it.”
Oh. So formal communication from your diocese, to the effect that you’ve been defrocked, got misplaced at Priests for Life. Maybe someone accidentally spilled formaldehyde on it and it disintegrated. Or maybe Pavone’s staff was hiding it from him, lest he become volcanic and throw ketchup on the walls in imitation of Trump. What’s going on in Titusville? Pavone sure didn’t miss the 2017 letter from his bishop warning him that he was about to get himself defrocked; he posted it on his own Web site in the odd belief that it vindicated him in some way. Pavone gets that letter but can’t find this one?
Even CNA is at pains to point out how Pavone’s new story is at odds with the old story. (It’s hardly the first time, either; Pavone frequently changes his story.) On December 21, Pavone said: “I haven’t gotten anything.” “I don’t have instructions,” he said. “I wasn’t told,” he said. But now he says: Maybe I was. Maybe someone misplaced it. My bishop and I, we’re not on speaking terms, sometimes I put my fingers in my ears and say, “Nya, nya, can’t hear you,” so who knows? Maybe my staff burned the letter. Maybe its one of the letters I never opened and decided to use as a dart board.
“Well,” Pavone said to CNA,
they can say ‘they informed me,’ but that statement alone ignores the entire context and the fact that the communication was abusive, broken, dishonest, for years. Again, people have to understand, none of this was normal.
“None of this was normal.” You think? Pavone says he may have overlooked a formal communication from his bishop that he had been defrocked. Yeah, I’d say that’s not normal. Except I don’t blame the bishop for “broken” communication; I blame the priest for behaving like an irresponsible, petulant, and self-willed child.
“Pavone,” CNA continues, “said the conflicts with Zurek [Conflicts about what, the article does not say.] reached the point that he asked the diocese not to contact him anymore.
“I told the bishop not to. And the Vatican knew it,” he told CNA.
“This was not a normal relationship. It was abuse. If they say they sent something, they are admitting to violating a very serious, long-standing set of instructions to stop abusing and harassing me,” he said.
If you’re having difficulty wrapping your head around this, you’re not alone. Pavone tells his bishop—to whom as a priest he makes a vow of obedience—shut up and go away. It’s no wonder the pope defrocked him. And what’s more the wonder to me is that Pavone seems to think he had the authority to give instructions to his bishop (as though he was his bishop’s bishop). The arrogance of this man is breathtaking.
What’s further baffling is Pavone’s statement that, if his diocese did tell him he was defrocked, they’d be “violating a very serious, long-standing set of instructions to stop abusing and harrassing me.”
So first Pavone complains that his diocese never told him he was defrocked; then, he says if they had told him, they’d be violating his orders. Does this make sense to you? Does this make sense to anyone?
The truly sad, sad part is that Pavone decades ago was a respected priest who understood, or seemed to, live the Gospel. I saw a mass he officiated on EWTN where his sermon was a prayer-filled, hopeful and magnificent vision of Heaven as it would be. One to inspire and give hope. Satan was dancing a jig when his minions corrupted a once inspirational priest. May God have mercy on his soul!
Pavone stopped appearing on EWTN years ago. But the network still has a relationship with Priests for Life in that the executive director of PFL makes appearances. It’s past time to cut this relationship.
This piece by another Catholic blogger, Henry Karlson, touches upon related topics.
We Must Not Become Like Frank Pavone
The way he puts it, is that if God is all-encompassing when it comes to goodness, then you can’t reduce good to one thing, especially if its being promoted to the exclusion or in opposition of other goods.