My disappointment with the Church’s direction has increased significantly over the past few years, and I am not alone. I hear it from other faithful Catholics as well. The main reason for this discontent is the infestation of liberalism resulting in the minimalizing of sin and supporting a cafeteria approach to the teachings of the Church, with each individual picking and choosing what teachings they want to follow. Then last week, Father Frank Pavone was laicized. For me, that might be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
I mean, really? We’re talking about Father Frank … the tireless champion for the unborn and the men and women devastated by abortion. Father Frank … the one who has made the most impact on the pro-life movement. Father Frank … the country’s consummate educator as to what abortion is.
The reason for his removal from the priesthood? Blasphemy and disobedience. How they came up with blasphemy is beyond me. Perhaps it was just an added charge to justify the unjust action. If saying “G.D.” is blasphemous, then there are thousands of blasphemers roaming the earth, me included. We all say things in anger. We are human, after all, and so are priests. As far as the second charge, yes, he was disobedient, but not out of disrespect. All he wanted to do was continue his calling of protecting the preborn, helping those impacted by abortion, and educating the public on what abortion entails.
Not being an expert in canon law, I wanted to know what constitutes a reason to laicize. According to the USCCB, laicization is usually used for severe crimes or scandals. Let's set aside the ridiculous blasphemy charge. I wonder if Father Frank’s disobedience to a Bishop is a severe crime, wouldn't disobedience to God's word or failure to follow the teachings of the Church be also? Let's look at a few examples.
There is one priest that is pushing for gay marriage in the Church, homosexuals becoming Eucharistic Ministers as well as entering the priesthood. Let’s not forget his support of transgenderism in children and his public support of a scholar who claims Jesus is queer. Those are just a few atrocities out there for all to see. There is no question that his attitudes and actions are not even close to being in line with the Church, yet he still wears the collar.
Then … let's add those who still have their collars after serving Holy Communion to President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and other Catholic public servants, knowing they support abortion and gay marriage. These so-called devout Catholics are publicly and purposely sinning. I wonder if they laugh to themselves on their way to receiving the Eucharist – probably believing that sin and penance don’t apply to them, only the “peasants.” One would think priests who fail to issue reprimands and withhold the Eucharist make a public mockery of that sacrament. There’s not even a slap on the wrist to the offending priests and bishops. Thankfully, Nancy Pelosi's Archbishop in San Francisco had the courage to refuse the Eucharist and publicly admonished her. What a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, no one else followed suit. What (or who) are they afraid of?
Those who purposely and, sometimes publicly, fail to follow the teachings of the Church, by minimalizing or flat-out ignoring sins are the ones deserving discipline, but NO … let's go after Father Frank. He acted like a human being, got angry, and said something inappropriate … grab his collar! He disobeyed his Bishop because he wanted to follow his calling to protect the lives of the unborn and help men and women impacted by abortion… get a rope! He supported President Donald Trump – the most pro-life President in history … on to the gallows!
All faithful Catholics want from our priests, and up through the hierarchy, is humility, consistent adherence to the teachings of the Church, and following God's word. Is that asking too much?
Make no mistake; the pews are thinning out. Although I love my faith, parish, and priest, my seat might become empty too. Why? Because if the Church doesn't make a U-turn soon, it won't be the Church anymore.