Fr. Pavone is apparently now under investigation by the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas for this. The diocese said this is not how the Catholic Church approaches this issue and that an investigation is under way.
My thoughts are that at worst this is a misdemeanor. A fetus is a human being, in this case a dead one. The Catholic Church has always displayed the dead body of people in the context of a funeral. I see this as no different. Perhaps the actual altar is not where a body should be placed, especially because this is the place the consecration of the Holy Eucharist takes place. But other than that, we must recognize that the fetus is a full human being deserving of respect and love, and to be buried with dignity after a funeral.
I know this issue can get tricky when we talk about how old a fetus would have to be before a funeral takes place. I know often pro-life priests and dioceses will have mass funerals for the many victims of abortion and those who have died in a miscarriage. Where the line is drawn exactly, I don't know.
But for abortion to end, it must be revealed and confronted. People must know what it is. At the presidential debates, many people were shocked when Trump described a partial birth abortion. First of all, he didn't even really describe it in great detail. Secondly, he was only describing reality. Real children are being killed.
When I first saw this video of this priest, I think it was a live stream on Facebook. Honestly, I was shocked. I was disturbed. I almost felt somewhat sick. But just because something produces a negative physical reaction, doesn't mean it shouldn't be shown. For example, people go to the Holocaust Museum even though it's very unpleasant because they want to know what it was all about.
For more information on this story, go to the following website: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/texas-diocese-investigating-father-frank-pavone-priest-who-placed-fetus-at-altar/