Fr. Pavone cashes in on dead babies again

You will remember when Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life dragged the naked corpse of a baby onto a consecrated altar, in order to bully Americans into voting for Trump. I guess he wasn’t quick enough to snag the thousands of fetal remains recently discovered in the house of a late-term abortionist; but he’s doing the next best thing: Name the Aborted Babies is up and running on the PFL site:

“Along with bestowing a name . . . ” What gives anyone that right? Are these babies pandas at the zoo, to be “adopted” by critter-loving fans? Or maybe Pavone will offer a certificate of authenticity for only $29.99, so you can proudly display the name of your very own aborted baby in beautiful calligraphy. Suitable for framing, great as a Christmas present. 

This is grotesque. The grotesquerie never ends. 

Naming is an act either of authority, or of ownership — the act of a parent, or of an owner. You don’t get to name a baby unless you’re the parent; and you don’t get to name anything else unless it’s something that can be owned. So what does this mean, for strangers to name unborn babies they’ve never met, who do have parents? Who gave them that right? The abortionist who collected their little bodies apparently saw them as trophies, as something to collect. And now the second wave of vultures descends to squabble over their bodies again.

You cannot restore dignity to unborn babies by treating them like objects, or like trophies, or pets, or mascots, or props. You don’t treat them like objects when you want to kill them, and you don’t treat them like objects when you want to show how pro-life you are. You don’t treat them like objects, because they are human. That’s all there is to it.

But Fr. Pavone, who never met these children and has no idea who they are, will offer you the chance to name them, and all you have to give him in exchange is your email address. No doubt a respectful 24 hours will pass before you start getting appeals for money to reelect Trump in the name of your very own dead baby. 

With our evening prayers, we recite the prayer written by Fulton Sheen: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.” It’s a little chewier than I normally get in prayer, but I do it as a tiny act of penance, for the sake of all those unborn babies. “Spiritually adopting” an unborn baby means pledging to pray for him; and praying for a child means turning him over to the Holy Spirit.

So pray, yes, pray for these poor babies. Pray for them as individuals, known and cherished by their Father in Heaven. And pray for their parents. Pray for the mothers — some of whom have surely repented and named their own babies themselves.

But do not dare to let yourself think of these children as something you can have, something you can get a piece of while this story is still hot on social media. They are not yours. They are real people, not gimmicks to inflate a political mailing list. It is grotesque.  

I don’t fault well-meaning pro-lifers who are in agony thinking of those poor children held captive by a ghoul. They read about an outrage, and they want to do something, and this feels like doing something. I don’t fault people looking for something meaningful to do in the face of evil. 

But I do fault Fr. Pavone, and everyone who works with him. His work is a lucrative, scandalous scam. and he should be forced to retreat from the public eye. He is grotesque. 


Related reading: The Scandal of the cross, and the scandal of Fr. Pavone

Graphic images have their place, but not at the March for Life

For my series covering pro-lifers actually serving the vulnerable, see:

“Our humanity doesn’t begin at birth, and it doesn’t end at the border.”

St. Joseph’s House and Isaiah’s Promise offer support, respite, and joy to families of the disabled

We Dignify

Gadbois mission trip to Bulgarian orphanage

Mary’s Shelter in VA

China Little Flower

Immigrant Families Together

Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center

photo via Wikipedia (public domain)

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9 thoughts on “Fr. Pavone cashes in on dead babies again”

  1. Felt sick in the stomach reading this. Putting an aborted baby on the altar of God is plain sacrilegious. What on earth was achieved by doing this. Just crazy. Not to mention we don’t need more embarrassing attention to our Faith.

    And…I’m not sure how it helps anyone by naming rejected aborted babies. Yeah you got my attention but then what? It doesn’t bring the child back, it doesn’t help the tortured mother, it doesn’t change a law and it doesn’t change the culture. The baby tragically didn’t have a chance at life and did not accumulate memories, experiences or bonds on earth. It’s better to acknowledge this and pray over their stolen lives and for their souls.

    And we need our Priests to talk about abortion as a grave act during the Mass Homilies. We need this sort of strong leadership from our priests at the Pulpit. Not stunts.

  2. Wow. You have some sort of serious difficulty with Fr Pavone, that’s obvious. So 1. it’s pretty obnoxious to claim that he is “cashing in” when it doesn’t seem that he is in fact “cashing in”. 2. Your issues about naming the babies, I suppose are your issues. One way of looking at this is that they are part of the human family, they have unique and personal identities and father is showing that they are not mere tissue by wanting to name them and give them the dignity of a name, a dignity that they’ve been denied by their parents. Does he have that right? Well, I don’t think there’s anything specific that says he cannot. 3. Claiming that PFL is lucrative? Really? I’d love to see the data on that. How lucrative? Are we talking corrupt bishops with mega -millions mansions lucrative? Or “Not for profit” Planned Parenthood lucrative? You know Cecile Richards six figures lucrative? Anyway, yeah I’d love to know just how lucrative the PFL gig is. I’m sure he’s just rollin in the dough.

  3. No words for this.

    If I could write something to encourage him to be a more charitable man, I’d do it. People like Trump and Pavone literally make me wonder if God reserves the right to reincarnate people who just don’t get what it means to be a human. Caring (literally) for others is the only thing that makes us human.

    For the second time this week, I will quote the venerable pastor of the Methodist Church who posts weekly messages on his outdoor sign next to my kid’s school:

    ” ‘Well done’, is better than ‘well said’ “.

    Nobody should be able to say “I’m pro-life” without being able to back the statement up. It should be followed by a “Cool/great/awesome/right on!–In which way?”

  4. I do not agree with what he is doing in this case. But I will see I find it a touch grotesque to assume someone’s intentions the way this article does. You may not like his methods but many babies have been saved because of them. And we may not like Trump but he is the most pro life and pro family president we have ever had. And he’s mostly doing a good job. We are at war for the lives of children and many men I know have seen what he did and realized the horror of what is happening. It was a game changer for them. Men view thing differently than women and very vivid visual images are helpful for them. He showed the world what abortion looks like in a way that is changing hearts and minds. Maybe you should re-examine your reasons for hating on him so much and assuming he has bad intentions. You know what they say about assumptions..

  5. There are also some larger issues of spiritual authority that can accompany naming– cf the Lord renaming Abram, Sarai, etc… which is why “naming” one’s guardian angel is discouraged.

    Not only aren’t we these poor sweet babies’ parents, we sure as heck aren’t God. Back away slowly.

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