I have not written anything since the initial news concerning Bp. Zurek and Fr. Pavone. From my sofa-eyed view of the situation there seemed to be much fault on both sides and I was not exactly thrilled with the actions of either.
The latest news that Fr. Pavone had not attended a private meeting with his bishop due to his canon lawyer’s advice added a new wrinkle to this conflict. Fr. Pavone is adept at using media to get information out so I really wonder why he did not announce that he was not going to attend this meeting ahead of time? I also wonder why exactly he feels he needs a mediator when talking with his bishop. This action is more like somebody who is lawyering-up before meeting a district attorney. This makes the bishop-priest relationship an adversarial one and that he feels he must be protected from his bishop. That it seems his greatest fear is that he will be given a parish. With first Fr. Corapi and now Fr. Pavone is canon-lawyering-up to be the latest phrase.
Now I have long admired Fr. Pavone’s pro-life work and the good he has done, but doing pro-life work does not excuse you from Holy Obedience. Even if your bishop throws around words like “suspended” when they are canonically incorrect. Even if your bishop might not be making the most prudential choice in this matter. Would having Fr. Pavone step down from his leadership roles in the pro-life movement to be a parish priest be the most prudential use of his talents? Maybe not, but a parish priest is simply not a low-rung on the ladder as many great saints and St. John Vianney in particular have shown.
I was hoping that Canonist Ed Peters would post more on the subject of mediation. I certainly wanted to understand the subject of mediation in the view of Canon Law since I know nothing on the subject.
His post is informative and answers my questions and confirms some initial thoughts on the subject.