The Rev. Frank Pavone, an avid anti-abortion Catholic priest in Amarillo, Texas, publicly displayed an aborted fetus on a church alter Sunday as part of a propaganda video to sway people to vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Pavone posted a live video of him reading bible versus behind the blackened and rotting fetal corpse on his Facebook page. Pavone said the fetus was given to him by the family in hopes that he would perform a proper Catholic burial for the “child.” But Pavone decided to instead post the disturbing image online so that people would not vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic platform, which is pro-abortion.
As of Tuesday, the online video, which is 44 minutes long, had received more than 370,000 views.
“I am showing him to you because in this election we have to decide if we will allow this child killing to continue in America or not,” Pavone said in the video. “Donald Trump and the Republican platform says no, the child should be protected.”
Pavone’s Facebook video represents the latest in a string of jarring anti-abortion statements that have seen him buttheads with church leaders in Texas and New York. Pavone is the national director of Priest For Life, a New York-based organization meant to galvanize the clergy to preach, teach and mobilize their people more effectively in the effort to end abortion and euthanasia, The Washington Post reported.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan cut ties with Pavone for his lack of support for financial reform within the church in 2014, according to the National Catholic Reporter, an independent organization that reports on church issues and social concerns in Kansas City, Missouri.
In a post uploaded onto the website of the New York Archdiocese Tuesday titled “A Political Desecration,” Ed Mechmann, director of the Safe Environment blog, which is dedicated to integrating faith into public life, wrote Pavone's public display was “absolutely appalling.”
While Mechmann acknowledged that Pavone’s decision to support Trump was his right as a U.S. citizen, he said Pavone's live video deserved to be denounced by anyone who considers themselves to be pro-life.
“A human being has been sacrificed and the altar of God has been desecrated, all for politics,” Mechmann wrote. “Everyone who respects the dignity of every human person should reject and disavow this atrocity.”
Pavone’s video comes after a group of Catholics in San Diego posted fliers on parish bulletin boxes on the morning of Election Day titled, “How to vote like a Catholic,” in which they said voting Democrat was a “mortal sin,” according to a local NBC News report.
Trump has said women who receive abortions should be punished, a position he later recanted.
Among Catholics, 48 percent of followers said they were going to vote for Clinton for president, while 44 percent favored Trump, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted between Oct. 20 and Nov. 5.
An estimated 954,000 abortions took place in the U.S. in 2014, down from approximately 983,000 abortions in 2013 and 1.02 million abortions in 2012, according to state level entry data and statistics from the Centers Of Disease Control.