On December 17th, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre informed the U.S. bishops in a December 13th letter that Catholic priest, Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, was removed from his priestly duties. According to the news reports, Fr. Pavone is accused of “blasphemous” communications on social media and “disobedience” towards his bishop.
Since 2002, the Schindler family has been friends with Fr. Pavone after Robert Schindler, the father of Terri Schiavo, met with Fr. Pavone asking for his help in Terri’s case. For those who do not remember, in 1990, at the age of twenty six, Terri experienced a still-unexplained brain injury while home alone with her estranged husband, Michael Schiavo who subsequently became her legal guardian. Because Terri had difficulty swallowing, she needed a feeding tube to provide food and water. In March 2005, after a lengthy legal battle initiated by Michael Schiavo, Terri’s feeding tube was removed and she died by dehydration and starvation that took nearly two agonizing weeks.
Having Fr. Pavone’s support was an answer to prayers by Terri’s family as he became one of the few priests who had the courage to rightly stand in support of Terri’s life. This was after Bishop Robert Lynch of the Diocese of St. Petersburg not only refused to advocate for Terri, but permitted a Catholic priest, Father Gerard Murphy, to testify in the 2000 trial on behalf of Michael Schiavo that the removal of Terri’s feeding tube was consistent with Catholic teaching.
Not only did Fr. Pavone speak out on behalf of Terri’s right to life-affirming care, but he also strongly condemned the unjust decision by the court to remove her feeding tube. Moreover, Fr. Pavone corrected the erroneous court testimony by Fr. Murphy that the removal of Terri’s feeding tube, which intentionally imposed death, was illicit and against the teachings of the Church. Even today, Fr. Pavone continues to support the work of Terri’s family as patient advocates defending the dignity of the medically vulnerable.
Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo stated, “I’ve been a friend to Father Frank for twenty years, and he is a dedicated and passionate defender of the unborn and our medically defenseless. There are few people, particularly in our clergy, who have done more to protect those who are in the crosshairs of a pro-eugenic agenda.”
“Forever seared into my memory was being at Terri’s bedside with Father Frank and my sister, Suzanne in the final days of her barbaric death as he sang the joyful Latin Easter Proclamation, Victime Paschale Laudes. It was what Terri last heard before she entered into the arms of our Savior. It brought my family the comfort we needed at the darkest time of our lives,” said Schindler. Please keep Fr. Pavone in your prayers during this difficult time….
Release from Christian Newswire.