Vatican Removes Anti-Abortion Activist From Priesthood

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The Facts

  • US priest Frank Pavone, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, has been defrocked by the Vatican for "blasphemous communications on social media" and "persistent disobedience."

  • A letter to US bishops from the Vatican's US ambassador Archbishop Christophe Pierre, first obtained by Catholic News Agency (CNA), states that Pavone was given "ample opportunity to defend himself," despite there being no reasonable justification for his actions. His defrocking cannot be appealed, CNA added.

The Spin

Left narrative

Pavone's opinion on abortion isn't the reason for his disgraceful exit. A diocesan priest is under obligation to cooperate with the Bishop. Pavone did not follow his religious duty justly and often crossed the line from pastoral to political. His removal is not about a debate between left and right, or Vatican versus American Catholics, but rather a particular issue of a priest gone rogue.

Right narrative

A tireless advocate of the unborn, Pavone dedicated his life to ending abortion and reversing Roe v. Wade. His defrocking is an effort by forces both inside and outside the Church to intimidate every courageous pro-life fighter.

Metaculus Prediction

Political split



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