McCain’s Next Controversial Priest

Deal Hudson reports that John McCain “met privately” with Rev. Frank Pavone, the Priests for Life head most famous for calling Michael Schiavo a murderer, before a Catholic-outreach meeting in Philadelphia. McCain has been holding events with supporter Sen. Sam Brownback, whose brief presidential run attracted a lot of attention from social conservatives, and who promised to court the Religious Right activists such as Pavone on McCain’s behalf.

Pavone has come a long way since 2005, when he denounced McCain for joining the so-called “Gang of 14” compromise over extreme judicial nominees. “It is unfortunate that Senator McCain has joined those senators who are trying to prevent godly men and women nominated by their president and supported by a majority of senators from serving on our nation’s courts,” Pavone said. “There is not going to be a church in America that is not going to know exactly who those senators are.”

Indeed, Pavone was a typical advocate of the notion that opponents of extreme nominees were somehow anti-Christian bigots. When John Roberts was nominated to the Supreme Court, Pavone warned Democrats that “If they again attempt to attack a nominee’s faith or pro-life convictions,” they would be “held accountable.”

At the same time, Pavone is a vocal advocate of involving the church in politics, whether urging priests to tell their congregations to vote based only on abortion or supporting bishops who make pro-choice politicians’ communion into a political football.

Pavone is planning a conference call on June 25th to “inspire and equip pro-life citizens to make a difference in this year’s national elections, and to awaken the conscience of Americans about abortion.”