People in Amarillo helped to raise money for a seminary that was going to be built here, bringing Pro-Life minded young men, their teachers and mentors to the area. We're predominantly Pro-Life, so the community got behind the plan. Then, with hardly a word of explanation, the project was suddenly tabled. None of us average Joes around here seem to know where our money went. The general assumption is that it went to other Pro-Life causes, but no one is happy about the lack of formal explanation or apology from Priests for Life. That has led to a slight lack of sympathy for Father Pavone's present predicament from some.
The Catholics and nonCatholics of the region seem to be, for the most part, supportive of the Bishop. We know him to be one of the good guys and a good shepherd of his flock. There is some comment, varying from wonder to increased respect, about his timing. Some are confused by his issuing the demand at a time when travel would interfere with a prompt resolution of the matter. Others have noted that there is no better way to cool someone's jets and reestablish the pecking order than to make a man wait on you. If this is an obedience problem then making Father Pavone wait for the Bishop will strike Texans as a bit of rough justice.
The current campaign for Priest for Life fundraising is rankling some folks here. The rumored threats (actualized yesterday with banner planes buzzing the town) from other circles to organize marches around the diocese--a Pro-Life diocese, mind you--is actively offending some members of the Pro-life community.
For my part, after the Black Sheepdog's shenanigans, I began to have concerns about all priests. I've worried specifically what Father Pavone is suffering from his popularity. I believe all priests are vulnerable to temptations, especially the ones who are burdened with a public ministry. While all this settles out, I believe that all good and worthwhile organizations can run themselves without their charismatic leaders, so I hope Father Pavone will take this time to pray and retreat from the world until the Bishop and he resolve things. I like Father Pavone. I really like that he obeyed when he was called to obey.
We need to let the Shepherd of Amarillo shepherd his sheep and pray for all of our priests.
|Bishop Zurek with his predecessor Bishop Yanta.|
Priests for Life was brought to Amarillo under Bishop Yanta.
|Father Frank Pavone|