Frank Pavone Removed from the Priesthood

Over the weekend, the papal nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, released a statement notifying the Church, the country, and the world that formerly Fr. Frank Pavone has been dismissed from the priesthood, laicized. Additionally, Archbishop Pierre referred to Pavone as “Mr. Pavone” and stated that there is no possibility for him to appeal this decision.

For those who are unfamiliar with Pavone, he is a priest who is best known for his decades of work in the pro-life movement, battling for the rights of mothers and the unborn. Pavone is also no stranger to controversy. Over the years, he has struggled with remaining in line with the wishes of his bishop and ultimately, the Vatican. But while the cited reason for his dismissal was “blasphemous communications on social media” and “persistent disobedience of the lawful instructions of his diocesan bishop”, it is still unclear what final straw resulted in this decision from the Holy See.

There are many people out there who are speculating about Pavone’s fate, his decision-making, the decision-making of the bishops, and what this means for the Church. But ultimately, it does no good to assume or speculate without a firm grasp of the facts.

As our CEO and Chairman, Rev. Francis Hoffman, reminds us, “The Devil never takes vacations.” He seizes every opportunity to sow discord among us, and this situation is no different. Our harmony is being tested, but we must pray for all involved so that we do not succumb to his deception.

For years, Pavone has been a stalwart defender of the unborn and he went to great lengths to help eradicate abortion and build up a culture of life. Along the way, Pavone made several decisions that some found audacious and unwise, usually drawing attention from his respective bishops.

Pavone became greatly involved in politics in recent years, most notably in the last election. As priests are not typically permitted his level of involvement without special dispensation, it may seem obvious that those actions may have born significant weight in his laicization process. But that being said, we do not know for sure.

At some point, Pavone came to a fork in the road. One path would lead him to become an outspoken activist in politics and the pro-life movement. The other would ensure that he remained a priest, but obedient to his bishop. Both were fully capable of leading to sainthood and salvation in heaven. The Vatican’s decision to laicize Frank Pavone may have simply eliminated his time to choose a path.

Today on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick discussed the situation surrounding Frank Pavone and he spoke frankly about Pavone’s past. Patrick admitted that he had personally criticized some of the strategic decisions that Pavone had made in the past. He criticized not his legacy, or his passion, or his ethical integrity, but simply the manner in which Pavone had chosen to pursue his mission as a pro-life advocate. And to be frank, Madrid concurred with the National Catholic Register and the Catholic News Agency that Pavone’s political involvement as well as his controversial internet presence most likely had some bearing on his laicization.

But where does that leave us as a Church? Are we doomed to pick sides between the infallible Magisterium and a man who has dedicated his life to saving the unborn? Absolutely not.

“The Devil never takes vacations.”

We are being issued a challenge in times like these. Find unity, find grace, and find the love in our hearts to seek a solution to this conflict through prayer. Pray for Frank Pavone that he may see through the noise and conflict and fulfill his calling in this new stage of life. Pray for the bishops and Pope Francis so that they may receive clarity in a situation seemingly filled with confusion, distrust, and anger. And pray for one another, the faithful, so that our courage and harmony remain unshaken. Stand boldly before the forces that would seek to besiege our Church and turn them away through the power of prayer.

Mother of Good Counsel, Pray for us.

Queen of Peace, Pray for us.

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at and on the Relevant Radio® app.