On Fr. Pavone and the display of dead bodies

To my protestant friend: You say that depictions of Christ’s suffering in the centre of worship makes you feel worried. It should. It should shake you to the core.

Read the rest of my latest post at The Catholic Weekly here.

Note: I’ve been posting for The Catholic Weekly at the beginning of each week. Here are my posts from the last two weeks:

How to avoid becoming a spiritual miser

Catholics, stop being so weird about women



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2 thoughts on “On Fr. Pavone and the display of dead bodies”

  1. I agree that Fr Pavone used lousy judgment. My niggling thought: Emmet Till’s mother was harshly criticized for insisting on showing Emmet’s body following his lynching death. I think I get Fr Pavone’s intent, but I don’t think the end justifies the means.

    1. Yeah, I’ve heard that comparison made a lot. There are many differences, though.
      First, it was Till’s mother who made the decision to display his body. Fr. Pavone doesn’t even know who the baby is, who the mom was, or anything. He’s simply using the baby as a prop. He has no right to treat a human being that way.
      Second, at Till’s funeral, he was dressed carefully and laid with love and reverence in a coffin. Fr. Pavone had a naked, pickled baby lying on a cold altar. No respect, no dignity, no reverence. Just yapping about Trump while the little one lay there cold.

      And there are other differences, besides what I put in my post about why we don’t treat altars that way:
      In Till’s case, the murderers were just doing something evil, out of hatred. What about the mother of the baby? And what about so many women who get abortions? Some of them are evil. Some of them are coerced. Some of them are terrified. Some of them are lied to. Some of them are children themselves. Fr. Pavone’s callous behavior is an offence against them, as well as against the baby.

      It is never, ever appropriate to use a dead body as a prop. The catechism expressly forbids it. Even with images of dead bodies, we must use great care. I believe that graphic images of abortion can be incredibly powerful weapons, even ones that change people’s minds about abortion. But if they are used carelessly and indiscriminately, as Fr. Pavone’s group often does, they cause more harm than good. You can read more about my views on the use of graphic abortion images here.

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