I'm not sure if you heard the news, but in case you didn't, just a note: the Holy See has issued its conclusions following its visitation of Priest for Life and its examination of Fr Frank Pavone.
You may remember that he and the organisation were in some strive recently and Fr Pavone's bishop and even the Archbishop of New York were none too pleased with him. Accusations of financial mismanagement were being hurled about and demands for independent audits were being made. Fr Pavone rejected the first accusation and answered the second by insisting that independent audits of the association's accounts were made every year and all this information was available. Fr Pavone mused on whether this was an issue of control rather than irregularities in his organisation. He was suspended by his bishop and sent to live with a contemplative community in what many saw as an exile. That exile was suddenly lifted and he was restored to ministry but no light as been shed as to why the decision was reversed.
Well the Holy See has found that Priests for Life are completely above board on the financial issues, they have found that there are no substance to the allegations and that Fr Pavone is directing a work which is of great benefit to the pro-life cause and the Church: a ringing endorsement. Here is the text of the letter from the Holy See:
Dear Father Pavone,
In response to your recent update about your many activities, I wish to encourage you and your team to continue the fruitful work that Priests for Life is doing.
You have every reason to proceed with confidence, because you have welcomed the assistance of the Church to strengthen your ministry as it continues to grow around the world. At the inception of Priests for Life in 1991, when it was given recognition as a Catholic Association of the Faithful, it was a relatively small apostolate focused within the United States on assisting priests to proclaim the Gospel of Life.
Since then it has grown and diversified into an entire family of ministries, and an international apostolate. While continuing to be faithful to your original vision of assisting and training the clergy, you have sought to follow the Spirit’s lead and respond to the needs of the pro-life movement, and therefore have integrated into your ministry the work of Rachel’s Vineyard, Silent No More, the Youth Outreach of Stand True, outreach to Hispanic and African-American communities, and much more.
Of particular note, you have integrated into your family of ministries the international work of Marie Smith and the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues, assisting lawmakers in many other countries to defend the most vulnerable human lives. You have also become an NGO at the United Nations and continue to assist the Holy See Mission.
As you do all of this, the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy has encouraged you to update your statuses so that they reflect this tremendous growth and development. As the Congregation has indicated, if you eventually want to apply to the Vatican for recognition as an international Association of the Faithful, then those revised statutes can be presented to the competent authority.
In the meantime, however, the value of your apostolate continues to be recognized. As the Visitation Report from the Congregation for the Clergy states:
PFL is present in more than 50 nations, and its work benefits the Church both in the United States and beyond … Without doubt, PFL has offered to the Church a great service in the Pro-Life movement. By all indications, Father Pavone is a truly charismatic leader who has led PFL to significant heights … [The work and finances of PFL are in order … The Association has been well administered financially … [The administrative costs of PFL are in keeping with other groups receiving similar funding in the United States.” (Visitation Report, Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, November 2013).
Moreover, as the Congregation has indicated in a subsequent letter, “there is nothing to prevent ‘Priests for Life, Inc’, together with its numerous affiliated agencies, from continuing to labor on behalf of the pro-life movement,” with “the many excellent works which Priests for Life continues to do in promoting respect for the sanctity of human life.” (Letter of His Eminence, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, Prefect, Sacred Congregation for the Clergy to Fr. Pavone , February 6, 2015, Prot. N. 20150367). Please know, then, of my continued support as an ecclesiastical advisor and friend. I encourage all the supporters of Priests for Life to increase that support and work harder than ever to build on the progress you have already made in bringing about a Culture of Life.
Renato R. Card. Martino
Sadly the whole fiasco did a lot of damage to Priests for Life and to the pro-life cause. As to why the accusations were made against Fr Pavone and the organisation is unclear, and I imagine it will remain so. We will see if his bishop or the Archbishop of New York make any statement to clarify things, and perhaps offer an explanation as to why they were so insistent in their accusations and why New York cut off all contact with the organisation.