Pro-life group calls for the removal of priest who persecuted now-deceased parishioner

On Thursday, the pro-life group New Mexico Alliance for Life (NMAFL) called for Archbishop of Santa Fe John C. Wester to remove a heretical priest, Fr. Vincent Chavés of St. Therese parish in Albuquerque, for his treatment of a pro-life parishioner. 

Chavés accused the late Mary Martinez, who tragically passed away in a ballooning accident, of attending an “armed protest” in a bizarre letter, writing, “I hope the Lord understands that eternity is too short for me to ever have to run into you in heaven,” and “the Archdiocese has a formal process of reconciliation between parishioners and pastors but as you were with armed protestors, I am not interested in any conversation or association with you in this earthly existence.”

NMAFL wrote, “We would like to express our deepest condolences to the Martinez family, please keep them in your prayers.” 

Chavéz is known for controversy, with his praising of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, despite their deeply held pro-abortion beliefs, as well as his criticism of President Donald Trump, even going so far as to place an image of the baby Jesus in a cage in supposed protest to the 45th President’s immigration policies.

The pro-life group wrote: 

In May, Chavez penned a highly one-sided political opinion piece in the Santa Fe New Mexican, claiming “the Eucharist cannot become political.” The Catholic Church teaching is clear on this, and yet Fr. Chavez is in a small but loud minority: 74% of Catholics believe that Catholic public officials who disagree with their Church on grave matters should avoid creating confusion and disunity by not presenting themselves for Communion.

It should be noted the vast majority of Catholics oppose elective abortion, a position far from that of “Catholic” President Biden, Governor Grisham, ABQ Mayor Tim Keller, NM Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino and others. In June, the U.S. Bishops voted overwhelmingly in support of a measure to address Catholic politicians presenting themselves for communion.

In fact, in October 2020 Chavez erected a chain-link fence around a statue of the Baby Jesus on church property – his actions made local headlines and he was asked by Archbishop Wester to remove the display. Chavez said he was “dumbfounded” by the request. 

Our readers may also recall that New Mexico Alliance for Life’s investigative work exposed Fr. Chavez for allowing pro-abortion politician Brian Colon to lead a Catholic men’s group at his parish in 2017. The national founders of the men’s group, “That Man Is You” thanked NMAFL for bringing the matter to their attention, and denounced pro-abortion politicians using this program to support their political agenda. The St. Therese group was temporarily disbanded and renamed by Fr. Chavez.

Elisa Martinez, the Executive Director of New Mexico Alliance for Life wrote, “Rather than work to end the brutal deaths of innocent babies and women harmed by abortion just 3 miles from his church, Fr. Vincent uses his platform to heap praise upon the very politicians perpetuating this evil.” She added, “To add insult to injury, he wrongly persecuted one of his own pro-life parishioners who died tragically in the recent balloon crash in Albuquerque – at a time when the family is grieving, Fr. Chavez’s comments are hurtful and inappropriate.” 

Previously, Chavéz told the Archbishop that his parish could not pay its fair share to victims of clergy abuse, while other parishes did as the Archdiocese of Santa Fe asked and pulled together funds to help pay legal expenses relating to abuse. 

NMAFL is urging the public to “[c]ontact the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and politely ask Archbishop Wester to remove troubled Fr. Chavez from public ministry for promoting confusion and division in our community.” 

The Archbishop’s contact information is below: 

Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop archbishop.office@archdiosf.org | 505-831-8120

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