“I’ve been requested by the competent ecclesiastical authority not to have an official title/position on the advisory boards. So, as a priest in good standing, I’ve followed that request.”
Priests for Life national director Fr. Frank Pavone has resigned from advisory positions in the reelection campaign of President Donald Trump. The priest withdrew at the direction of Church authorities, he told CNA Friday.
“I’ve been requested by the competent ecclesiastical authority not to have an official title/position on the advisory boards. So, as a priest in good standing, I’ve followed that request,” Pavone told CNA July 24, in response to questions about his role in the Trump campaign.
In January, Fr. Pavone was appointed co-chair of the Pro-Life Voices for Trump coalition, and in April was announced as a member of the Catholics for Trump advisory board; the priest headlined that month an online kickoff event for the Trump Catholic group. Both groups are organized as part of the Trump campaign. Fr. Pavone was also a co-chair of the Trump pro-life coalition in 2016.
Fr. Pavone’s role in a political campaign was unusual for a priest. Members of the clergy require permission to “have an active part in political parties,” according to the Church’s canon law.
In April, Fr. Pavone told CNA that he did not believe himself to need permission for campaign involvement because he considered Trump’s reelection to be a matter of urgency. “I’m not going to ask anybody’s permission to go scream that the house is on fire,” he said at the time.
But on Friday, Fr. Pavone said that he had “been asking for permission to serve on these advisory boards” when he was “requested” to resign from them.
Fr. Pavone did not indicate what authorities had directed him to resign from the Trump campaign. In 2005 Fr. Pavone was incardinated in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas, when he transferred to that diocese from the Archdiocese of New York with plans to begin a pro-life religious order of priests. Those plans did not materialize, and Pavone found himself at odds with Bishop Patrick Zurek, soon after the bishop was installed in 2008.