Obligatory “Father Pavone” Yada Yada
Actually, it's not our story, but three links to the only stories you will really need to read.
The first is from Phil Lawler, former editor of Catholic World Report, who reminds everyone that signs of tension between the National Director of Priests for Life were evident as much as three years ago.
The question isn't whether or not the Church will support pro-life work. The question is whether priests and religious, when they engage in pro-life work, remain subject to ecclesiastical discipline.
The answer, by the way, is Yes. You can learn that the easy way or learn it the hard way.
The second is from noted canon lawyer Edward Peters, who introduces the reader to the ins and outs of how the Church handles such cases -- ostensibly. (Click here and/or here.) Priest-personnel matters are second to marriage cases in terms of the numbers that land at ecclesiastical courts, and this one just might make the docket. Read all about what's supposed to happen, who screwed up, and how it could have been avoided.
This won't be an attempt to either defend or attack Father Pavone's actions (if you don't count that time in 2004 he said that Catholics would endanger their souls by not voting for Bush in order to prevent Kerry from becoming President, or something like that, when I voted for a third-party candidate and didn't lose a minute's sleep over it). His work at attacking the evil of abortion is exemplary, and he remains one of the best friends a pro-lifer has, whether Catholic or not.
I'm just gonna lay out a wild guess here. Totally off the wall, okay? Don't quote me on this. (Like millions of people are ever gonna read this, right? I tell myself we're like an exclusive club; makes it easier to accept. But anyway ...) His bishop may have spoken carelessly in public at first, not out of malice, but for being misinformed by a zealous, and definitely jealous chancery official. Like I said, just a wild guess, because I've seen it happen before. In the previous episode, the bishop ends up having to cover up for the loser on his staff. Here's hoping this guy's made of stronger stuff.
It could happen. It usually doesn't.