Anti-Abortion Priest in Texas Defrocked by Vatican for 'Blasphemous' Social Media Post

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Frank Pavone, 63, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, was defrocked in a letter from the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. Archbishop Christophe Pierre.

In a rare move, the Catholic Church has defrocked a priest who is notorious for his anti-abortion stance, for what the Vatican says was a “blasphemous” social media post, according to reports.

Frank Pavone, a priest in Texas, was defrocked after the Vatican said he posted "blasphemous communications on social media" as well as "persistent disobedience" of his bishop, who repeatedly told him to stop his partisan activism for Donald Trump, according to CBS News.

Defrocking is when the Vatican announces that a priest is to be reduced of his duties and is among the harshest sanctions available in the Catholic Church's canon law, according to BBC News.

Pavone, 63, who heads the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, was defrocked in a letter from the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. Archbishop Christophe Pierre. The letter reportedly said that on Nov. 9, the decision to defrock Pavone was made by the Vatican and there was no chance of appeal, according to CBS News.

In the letter to Archbishop Christophe Pierre, Vatican's ambassador to the U.S., obtained by the Catholic News Agency, the Church wrote that Pavone had "multiple opportunities to submit himself to the authority of his diocesan bishop.”

"It was determined that Father Pavone had no reasonable justification for his actions," the statement added.

Pavone, who now lives in Florida, remained defiant following the announcement and took to Twitter to slam the decision.

“To the pro #abortion advocates: To think a piece of paper from the Vatican can stop me from defending the #unborn is like thinking a piece of paper from the Supreme Court can take away their dignity,” he wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

On Dec. 17, Pavone wrote he was being “aborted” on Twitter.

“[I]n every profession, including the priesthood, if you defend the #unborn, you will be treated like them! The only difference is that when we are ‘aborted,’ we continue to speak, loud and clear,” Pavone wrote.

Pavone is still calling himself “Father Frank” and a priest on his website and social media accounts.

He told the Catholic News Agency that after Pope Francis, the next papal can reinstate him.

"This idea that any of this is permanent in terms of dismissal from the priesthood is simply incorrect, because we're going to continue," Pavone told the Christian Broadcasting Network Monday. "Then there will be a next Pope, and the next Pope can reinstate me."

The former priest who had been pontificating in Amarillo, Texas, for over a decade had come under fire for his pro-life and partisan political activities, which came to a head in 2016 when he put an aborted fetus on an altar and posted a video of it on two social media sites, according to CBS News.

In the Facebook Live post from 2016, Pavone said: "I am showing him to you because in this election we have to decide if we will allow this child killing to continue in America or not. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform says yes, let the child killing continue (and you pay for it); Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no, the child should be protected."

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