I’m getting inundated with emails and comments, including a new website to “Free Father Pavone!” Then there was the letter people wanted me to circulate that was so crass and vulgar in its invective against Bishop Zurek that I actually blushed reading it. I guess my last post hasn’t penetrated the din, so I’ll be a bit less diplomatic and a bit more direct.
Please stop sending me attacks on Bishop Zurek. No, I don’t approve of the public circulation of his letter. Not one bit. But that doesn’t give me the right to trash him in return.
“An eye for an eye, leaving the whole world blind,” as Ghandi put it.
This shrill “Free Father Pavone” rhetoric is entirely over the top. He’s not an Orca. He’s a priest in good standing, still celebrating the sacraments in his diocese. It is a dim view of the diocesan priesthood that views it as some sort of prison. Really!!!
I love the energy and focus that Father Pavone has brought to the pro-life movement. I love that he has embraced Silent No More, Rachel’s Vineyard, Gospel of Life Ministries, the training of fellow priests, Alveda King and the National Black Pro-life Coalition, Bryan Kemper, Abby Johnson, etc. The man has done great good, and nobody can ever take that away from him.
Bishop Zurek has also supported his being in this ministry, and nobody should take that from him either.
This lashing out at the bishop is being watched by all of his brother bishops. I sincerely hope the shrill don’t really think that Father Pavone is worth the alienation, the impression that we’re a shadow church and that Father Pavone is our Pope. That’s a mighty big alienation of the bishops for one man.
It doesn’t do Father Pavone’s reputation a damned bit of good with the bishops, either. He looks like he has a rabid rabble for a following. It reflects poorly on him and on all of us.
The truth of the matter is that a leader inspires others to act. A good leader inspires others to act passionately. A great leader inspires others to act sacrificially, death to self.
What sort of leader does this invective make Father Pavone look like? If I were a bishop, looking at this invective, I’d be inclined to put him on ice for a few years.
The greatest testimony to a general is the ability of the army he has built to win the battle if he goes down in the line of fire. A great general builds an army that can act on its own in the heat of battle, adapt and overcome in the face of great challenge.
I think that’s the sort of movement that Father Pavone has created, one that can weather his absence as he tends to the relationship with his bishop.
To those filled with anger, I ask, Where is your faith in God? We supplement with rage and hate-filled words that which we lack in faith. If we can’t hear the Holy Spirit, perhaps we need to be still. So let us come together in prayer for all involved. Let’s breathe easy and ask for the Holy Spirit to come upon us and show us His perfect will.
Take a few moments, close our eyes, and pray along with this beautiful prayer of the ancient Church.