Staten Island-based Priests for Life faces financial trouble

Staten Island Advance

By Maura Grunlund

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Vatican and a bishop have cleared Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life in New Dorp, of any financial wrongdoing but the damage — at least in terms of fund-raising — has been done.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy recently upheld Father Pavone’s position that he never was suspended from priestly ministry. Father Pavone had appealed to the Vatican after a dust-up with his superior, Bishop Patrick Zurek of the Diocese of Amarillo (Texas), over what was then an annual Priests for Life budget of about $10 million.

Priests for Life raised more than $40 million from 2004 to 2008, according to its tax returns. But the organization reported finishing 2010 with a revenue shortfall of $1.4 million.

Bishop Zurek recalled Father Pavone to Amarillo and temporarily suspended him from ministering outside the diocese in September 2011 amid questions about whether Father Pavone properly accounted for millions of dollars in donations.

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