|This is not Fr Pavone. It's Tim Tebow the Evangelical superstar pro lifer. He's much better looking than the Catholic versions.......And it is my blog.|
Tom Gallagher has just posted an update on Priest's For Life, which is in serious financial straights. It's really amazing how these organizations started by priests with more than a touch of narcissism, in this case Fr Frank Pavone, wind up in a pile of ashes. Maciel's Legion of Christ is still trying to resurrect some five years after it went down in flames, and it has Vatican support. Their latest crisis is the whole sale resignation of the leadership of it's women's branch, Regnum Christi. The problem with cults of personality is they tend to disintegrate once the personality has self destructed. Like founder, like organization. Here's part of the NCR article:
Priests for Life in $608,000 debt, faces financial peril
by Tom Gallagher - NCR - Feb. 21, 2012
In another urgent fundraising letter dated February 2012, Priests for Life is seeking $608,000 "in the next two weeks in to pay bills that are now over 90 days old."
Fr. Frank Pavone, the embattled national director of Priests for Life, states that the "financial problem we're facing is the combination of two things, really; neither of which we had any control over."
In this missive, Pavone drops from his letterhead the role of national director of the Gospel of Life Ministries.
The two outside factors that have put Priests for Life in this critical situation are the economy and donors reneging on paying their pledges, he writes.
As for the economy, Pavone plays dithering economist and says the economy has been "in a rut for three years now. And I have no idea when it's going to get back on track. But the continued high unemployment and low consumer confidence is wreaking havoc with families ... including our Priest for Life family. A fairly large percentage of your fellow Priests for Life supporters have been forced to cut back on their gifts to us for the simple reason that they are having a tough time making ends meet in their own families."
By the end of 2011, more than $600,000 in promised gifts never arrived.
Ironically, Pavone claims he was actually acting "prudently" in spending more than $600,000 on the basis of prior donations materializing at the end of the year. "Instead our bills kept mounting and mounting."
In a surprise move, Priests for Life "even trimmed our staff a bit and cut back on several projects and mission trips." No details were provided. In prior fundraising letters, Pavone wrote with bravado that he was not going to make any cuts in staff or the budget, as everything was full-steam-ahead.
Now Priests for Life print vendors are no longer doing business with the organization because of non-payment of past invoices.
Not surprisingly, Pavone never accepts some or all of the responsibility for the desperate situation in which Priests for Life finds itself. Pavone never suggests that his dysfunctional behavior and relationship with his own bishop, Patrick Zurek of the Amarillo, Texas, diocese, in which Pavone is seeking an intervention by the Vatican, might be to blame for scaring off donors. (Of course not, it's much easier to blame President Obama and the reneging laity for everything going south.)
In Pavone's world, the blame is always placed on someone else. Of course, Pavone rolls out the devil as the cause for Priests for Life's financial problems. (Ohh, I almost forgot. Pavone also claims to be an exorcist.)
Zurek seems prescient when he voiced deep concerns about Pavone's management and governance of Priests for Life many months ago.......
Tom Gallagher then goes on to outline how Priest's For Life could be saved by the USCCB and the Kof C. He never addresses whether there is actually a need for Priest's For Life. He finishes with his thoughts on what to do with Fr. Pavone.
What to do with Pavone?
It's hard to imagine that Pavone will receive from the Vatican a "get out of jail" card that would allow him to be largely free from the Amarillo diocese and Zurek. As part of the reorganization outlined above, Pavone could become "national director emeritus" and be allowed to offer speeches around the country, but have nothing to do with the governance or management of Priests for Life, and he would be based in the Amarillo diocese responsible to the bishop. Pavone could be allowed to continue his TV appearances with EWTN. In this way, Pavone can still have a coveted microphone in his hands, but not the checkbook and control.
The problem I have with Gallagher's solution is I seriously doubt Bishop Zurek wants Fr Pavone to have any more access to anymore microphones, and certainly not those of EWTN. I think the whole idea was to get Pavone out of the spotlight, off the speaking circuit, and away from EWTN. In the meantime Pavone is reduced to writing pathetically pleading letters to his various mailing lists for more donations. Such is the life of a fallen prolife superstar priest.
Bishop Zurick might have had that other EWTN exorcist priest who crashed and burned, Fr Thomas Euteneuer, on his mind. Which led me to wonder what had happened to these guys who made such news last year and when their egos were exposed as having surpassed their missions. Fr Thomas Euteneuer has really gone underground as nothing has been heard from him for over a year. You may remember Euteneuer as the priest who headed Human Life International, also became an exorcist and was called back to his home diocese under allegations of sexual misconduct within his exorcism ministry. I used to occasionally check out Euteneuer because of his affiliation with some serious right wing institutions. Way back in 2008 he was describing a very specific agenda to go after Planned Parenthood and also spreading the word about forms of birth control as abortifacients. I am hardly shocked that those PP attacks manifested in this election year, and all that misinformation about birth control is suddenly in our faces. I still don't think we know half of what we need to know about Fr Thomas Euteneuer and his various agendas. We probably never will.
Also going totally silent, is Fr John Corapi. He took down his Black Sheepdog website sometime in the fall and closed his Facebook page. No one seems to have any idea what's up with that, but it may be innocent. He's certainly got enough money to retire and write his memoirs. Or it maybe that Corapi is off to invent another persona. In any event, it appears no one will be hearing Corapi's baritone voice on EWTN, read his right wing propaganda on his website, or have to deal with his political candidacy--but one can still buy his multitude of CD's, just not any new ones.
I suspect Priests For Life will be taken over by the USCCB and saved by KofC money. I also suspect we will not hear anything more from Fr Frank Pavone for quite some time. After all Vatican wheels can turn exceedingly slow when it's convenient. I do wonder though, whether the fall of three pro life superstar priests in the same year is just a coincidence. It could also be the USCCB did not need the competition for attention given what they've unleashed on the American public.