Fr. Frank Pavone Claims the 2016 Coughie Award!
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Dec 29, 2016 at 04:23:34 PM EST
 photo franksgraphic_zpsbe286320.jpg Yes, folks it's time for the presentation of the annual Coughlin Award. As always, the competition was fierce. But this year, the gold goes to militant anti-choice priest Fr. Frank Pavone.
The Coughlin Award -- affectionately known as "The Coughie" -- is our way of recognizing the person who has best exemplified an exclusionary, strident interpretation of the Catholic faith in the preceding year. The award is named for Father Charles Coughlin, the notorious radio priest of the 1930s who is the role model for today's Religious Right radio and television evangelists, and other conservative media personalities.

Best known for his diatribes against FDR, Judaism and open sympathy with the racist policies of Adolph Hitler, Coughlin's advocacy was antithetical to the very definition of the word "catholic," which, according to Webster's Unabridged Dictionary means:

Catholic Cath"o*lic\ (k[a^]th"[-o]*[i^]k), a. [L. catholicus, Gr. kaqoliko`s, universal, general; kata` down, wholly + "o`los whole, probably akin to E. solid: cf. F. catholique.]

1. Universal or general; as, the catholic faith.

Men of other countries [came] to bear their part in so great and catholic a war. --Southey.

Note: This epithet, which is applicable to the whole Christian church, or its faith, is claimed by Roman Catholics to belong especially to their church, and in popular usage is so limited.

*Not narrow-minded, partial, or bigoted; liberal; as, catholic tastes.

*Of or pertaining to, or affecting the Roman Catholics; as, the Catholic emancipation act.

In order to win a Coughie, a candidate must complete three qualifying tasks: 1) Make the faith decisively less inclusive 2) Engage in incendiary behavior and 3) Ultimately embarrasses the Church. This year's winners -- as usual -- have risen to the challenge.

This year there were so many exemplars of the Coughlin tradition, our judges had a hard time deciding whom to choose.

Runners-up included the anonymous Catholics who inserted flyers in San Diego area Church bulletins lecturing Catholics not to vote for Hillary Clinton. Why? Because as the flyer blustered, it was a moral sin to vote Democratic; The reasoning behind that was because Hillary Clinton being pro-choice. The flyer went on to echo Ben Carson's bizarre claim that former Secretary of State was linked to the devil.

 Rick Santorum and Joseph J. Cella were also in the running for the Coughie because these abortion obsessed Catholics brushed aside issues of economic social justice, climate change and a relaxation of the culture wars solely to get anti-choice justices appointed to the Supreme Court.

But the runners-up have nothing on this year's winner, Fr. Frank Pavone!

Pavone earned his distinction by
 put ting an aborted fetus on the altar in order to garner votes for that exemplar of Catholic identity and values, Donald Trump. In doing so our 2016 selection more than satisfied three crucial tests required for consideration.

First, by the very nature of his act Fr. Pavone made being anti-abortion seem to be the litmus test to a Catholic identity thereby making all other issues concerning human dignity beyond secondary, and the Church itself far less than inclusive.  

Secondly, Fr. Pavone certainly engaged in incendiary behavior! The placing of an aborted fetus on an altar - and then video taping the event - in order to get votes for a presidential candidate certainly speaks for itself.

And finally, boy did this embarrass the Catholic Church! The embarrassment was so deep that Pavone's bishop issued a statement dissociating the Church from his inflammatory acts.  Bishop Patrick J. Zurek stated:

November 8, 2016
  • Priests for Life, Inc., is not a Catholic institution, but a civil organization, and it is not under the control or supervision of the Diocese of Amarillo.

  • Father Frank Pavone has posted a video on his Facebook page of the body of an aborted fetus, which is against the dignity of human life and is a desecration of the altar. We believe that no one who is pro-life can exploit a human body for any reason, especially the body of a fetus.

  • The Diocese of Amarillo deeply regrets the offense and outrage caused by the video for the faithful and the community at large. The action and presentation of Father Pavone in this video is not consistent with the beliefs of the Catholic Church.

  • The Diocese of Amarillo is opening an investigation about all these matters.

Bishop Zurek was not the only Church leader to distance himself from the publicity hungry, political priest. Cardinal Dolan has done likewise, and some Catholics have called for his suspension. (It should also be noted that Bishop Zurek has also discovered financial irregularities at Priests for Life.)

So then you have it ladies and gentlemen; I give you Fr. Frank Pavone, our 2016 Coughlin Award winner!

Pavone's stunt with the fetus was disgusting and drew nearly universal condemnation from his colleagues in the right to life movement. It sounds like Pavone is more in the market for political power, relevance and money than anything else. I wonder if this stunt will prompt Bishop Zurek to revoke Pavone's faculties or to resign from Priests for Life. It certainly should give Bishop Zurek food for thought.

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