Like many of you, I was saddened to hear the shocking news that Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, was removed from the priesthood by the Vatican.
From the beginning of 40 Days for Life, Fr. Pavone was an enthusiastic supporter and advocate for this new initiative. He confirmed what we hoped for when we launched 40 Days for Life as a national effort--local pro-lifers would embrace an opportunity to lead and end abortion where they live. Fr. Pavone has not displayed passive support for 40 Days for Life but has, without hesitation, traveled at his own expense to countless 40 Days for Life locations to encourage local volunteers, whether there be 5 or 500 at a vigil location.
I've been around Fr. Pavone in hundreds of social and professional settings, and he has been an excellent example of leadership, faith, and tireless work ethic on behalf of the unborn. My favorite memory is from 2007 when I first took him to pray at the Planned Parenthood in College Station, where we started 40 Days for Life. After her conversion in 2009, the then-director of that facility, Abby Johnson, said that every abortion worker rushed to the windows when they heard Fr. Pavone was outside praying. By the grace of God, today, 40 Days for Life has grown into the largest pro-life organization in the world in 1,000 cities throughout 65 countries; Fr. Pavone supported it when it was in just one city.
While known worldwide as a spokesperson for women and the unborn, Fr. Pavone has also demonstrated a deep and intense faith in Jesus Christ and a love for Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person. As a Catholic, my greatest sadness is that he will no longer be allowed to celebrate Holy Mass.
40 Days for Life is grateful for his work and, like many others, confused at the reasoning given who is and is not removed from the priesthood. That is not up to us, but what is up to us is continuing to preach the Gospel of Life and stand vigil to end abortion in a post-Roe America.