From The Pillar: 

A 2017 letter to then-Father Frank Pavone warned the now-laicized leader of Priests for Life that his bishop had decided to ask the Vatican to dismiss him from the clerical state, and gave the priest an opportunity to request laicization of his own accord.

The letter said that Pavone had been consistently disobedient to ecclesiastical authorities, and had left Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo with no hope of engaging constructively with Pavone.

“Because of your scandalous behavior, your involvement in partisan politics, your persistent disobedience, your lack of respect for legitimate ecclesial authority, control, and oversight, you leave me no choice than to you ask to present a petition to the Holy See for dispensation from all of the obligation of sacred ordination and return to the lay state,” the May 5, 2017 letter explained.

“If you choose not to petition for the dispensation… I will submit a petition to the Congregation for Clergy to request that the Roman Pontiff dismis you from the clerical state ad poenam,” Zurek wrote.

The bishop’s letter sheds light on an announcement last month from U.S. apostolic nuncio Archbishop Christophe Pierre, who told bishops in a Dec. 13 memo that Pavone had been laicized. It also would appear to confirm The Pillar’s report that the laicization was conducted under the “special faculties II” provision of the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy.

The letter, published on Pavone’s own website, detailed a number of fronts on which Pavone had reportedly disobeyed his bishop, in many cases for years.

It claimed that Pavone had been forbidden since 2014 from all “broadcasting in the media,” despite the priest’s penchant for regularly livestreaming Masses, along with frequent political video messages published on the social media channels of Priests for Life.

Zurek, Pavone’s diocesan bishop, said that the priest had been in “continual disobedience” of that prohibition for years.

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