(Editor’s note: Read Part 1 here.)
Though his ministry through Priests for Life has grown exponentially over the past two decades, Pavone said that has sometimes made the work more difficult. He talked briefly about an incident in 2011 that resulted in the restriction of his priestly duties before a recent vindication from no less than the Vatican.
“Every priest in the Catholic church operates under the authority of a Bishop or some other kind of religious superior,” he explained, “and we don’t get to choose who those superiors are. Bishops who have the responsibility to oversee the ministries will sometimes have concerns about a ministry that is growing very large, very influential, so we’re at a transition now where our mission and our work has really outgrown our structure.”
The Bishop under whom he operated “had concerns and wanted to look at that structure and see how it could be better suitable for what we were doing, so he asked me to come back [to the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas] for a while,” Pavone said.
He said that Priests for Life appealed that decision to the Vatican, which ultimately came down on the organization’s side.
“We said to the Vatican, ‘We think we’re being treated unfairly here, take a look at this. Help us out,” he explained. “They said I did not have to be restricted and, at the same time, I want people to understand that we fully cooperate with the church authority so our ministry can have the most effective structure and that can help us continue to grow, which is what is happening.”
Though there might be occasional backlash, Pavone said it is immeasurably important for faith leaders to remain dedicated to sharing the Biblical truth about abortion.
“To fail to speak out on abortion is to fail to defend the dominion of God,” he added.
Pavone said that Christians of all denominations should be united in the call to end abortion and invited anyone who could attend to an interdenominational prayer service he will be leading in Washington, D.C.’s Constitutional Hall later this month.
The event will coincide with this year’s March for Life on Jan. 25.
“We’re going to have representatives from almost every Christian denomination,” he said. “There are a lot of them, but we can come together and say ‘Jesus is Lord and He’s Lord of human life.'”
Though he is dedicated to ending abortion, Pavone said he is also adamant about providing care and compassion for those who have already undergone the procedure.
“One of the biggest things we do is to provide healing and reconciliation after abortion and anybody who’s been involved in abortion – man, woman, friend,” he said. “However you may have been involved, know that we in the pro-life movement and the church are on your side. This is not a movement of condemnation; it’s a movement of compassion and we want to bring that merciful forgiveness to everybody that comes to the Lord with repentance.”
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