Father Michael Pfleger Removed and Suspended

Wednesday, April 27, AD 2011

Cardinal George is to the left and Father Pfleger is to the right.

Updates at the bottom. . .

The Chicago Tribune and WBEZ are reporting that Cardinal George of Chicago has removed from his parish of Saint Sabina and suspended Father Michael Pfleger sacramental priestly faculties ultimately due to his disobedience.

In a public radio show Father Pfleger threatened to leave the Catholic Church if he were to be reassigned to a Catholic High School by Cardinal George, his archdiocesan archbishop.

Cardinal George was disappointed in this particular response, “If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish(.)”

A Catholic priest’s inner life is governed by his promises, motivated by faith and love, to live chastely as a celibate man and to obey his bishop. . .Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church. . .With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.

An “associate” minister of Saint Sabina’s Church, Kimberly Lymore, promised to have an “official” response from the Saint Sabina “leadership” to Cardinal George’s actions.

Well I have to say is Father Pfleger had certainly pushed the boundaries of patience on this one.  To say that this was a “shock” or unexpected would be disingenuous of Father Pfleger.

Cardinal George is well within his authority as an apostle of the Church to govern his flock as stated in his role as Archbishop.

Obedience is certainly expected of all archdiocesan priests, but to have Father Pfleger not only disobey the wishes of his archbishop, but publicly threaten to leave the Church if he were to be reassigned to another post went beyond disobedience.

Pray for Father Pfleger, Cardinal George, and the parish of Saint Sabina’s.

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ThePulp.it has a roundup of the coverage on the suspension of Father Michael Pfleger from the Catholic blogosphere and the secular media here.

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Hat tip to Chris Johnson of the Midwest Conservative Journal.

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Update I: Here is the letter Cardinal George handed to Father Pfleger personally simultaneously telling him he doesn’t want to ‘hear it’ about his options.  For the letter click here.

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24 Responses to Father Michael Pfleger Removed and Suspended

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  • It’s about damned time!!!!

  • I pray Cardinal George’s actions will be put to good use and become an occasion for sober reflection and renewal for Fr. Pfleger and the entire parish of Saint Sabina. May Fr. Pfleger return to obedience to Christ and His Church.

  • Fair enough.

    Independently from the controversy itself, to threaten to “leave the church” if one doesn’t get his own way is not acceptable in a priest. To do so publicly is even worse.

    Mundabor

  • Father “Flakey” has been asking for this for a very long time. I predict that he will take Saint Sabina’s now out of the Catholic Church. He has been a de facto one man church for years in any case.

  • My question is: Why did it take so long to remove this flake? Its been known for 30 years that he was a flamin’ liberal, social justice radical! Lets see if Cdl George will have the guts to stand by his actions.

  • This reminds me of George Stallings a few years back. I hope that Pfleger doesn’t take anyone with him.

  • To be fair, it would be a shock to finally be held accountable after how many years of being a national clown.

  • I agree with Stephen E Dalton, there is no room in the Church for justice! I desire Mercy not Justice Christ said! There are a few more priests and bishops that seem a little too just for my tastes as well. Christ didn’t care about the poor “they will always be with you”… why should a priest be wasting his time with poor inner city African Americans when he could be in the rectory brushing up on his Latin and do some real good for the faithful.

  • No doubt Patrick it is simple racism that accounts for the action of the Cardinal, rather than the fact that Father “Flakey” has been in frequent defiance of his superiors throughout his three decades at Saint Sabinas, has often threatened to go into schism if he were removed from Saint Sabinas and, among other charming incidents that we in Illinois know well, has been involved in the following:

    “Pfleger generated controversy by inviting Al Sharpton to speak at a Mass during Black History Month celebrations. Cardinal Francis George disapproved of Sharpton’s appearance, due to Sharpton’s support of abortion. Sharpton was also a presidential candidate at the time, and archdiocese officials were concerned that having a political candidate speak in church would cause them to lose their tax-exempt status. However, George decided that trying to stop Sharpton from coming “would be a futile gesture and a waste of effort”.”

    “In May 2007, During a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition protest outside a suburban Chicago gun shop, Pfleger was accused of threatening the life of the owner, John Riggio. The Illinois State Rifle Association released a tape where Pfleger was heard telling the assembled crowd, “He’s the owner of Chuck’s. John Riggio. R-i-g-g-i-o. We’re going to find you and snuff you out… you know you’re going to hide like a rat. You’re going to hide but like a rat we’re going to catch you and pull you out.” Pfleger later claimed his use of the phrase “snuff you out” was misinterpreted.”

    “Cardinal George rebuked Pfleger, saying, “Publicly delivering a threat against anyone’s life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest.” Pfleger claimed that he did not intend to use the word “snuff” as a slang term for “kill”, but rather as a substitute for “pull”, as he used later in his statement.”

    “On May 25, 2008, Pfleger gave a sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ, then Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s church, where he made controversial statements concerning Senator Hillary Clinton, Obama’s opponent for the Democratic Party nomination. Pfleger said, “I really believe that she just always thought, ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white, and this is mine. I just gotta get up and step into the plate.’ Then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey, I’m Barack Obama,’ and she said, ‘Oh, damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!'” He then pretended to wipe tears from his face, a reference to Clinton’s emotional speech before the New Hampshire primary, and added, “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying.”

    “After hearing about Pfleger’s remarks, Obama said he was “deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric”. Pfleger later released a statement through St. Sabina that read, “I regret the words I chose Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Sen. Obama’s life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Sen. Clinton or anyone else who saw them.” On May 31, 2008, Obama resigned his membership in Trinity Church, saying that his campaign had caused the church to receive excessive media attention. On June 1, 2008, Pfleger released a longer apology to the St. Sabina parish regarding the incident and its aftermath.”

    “On June 3, 2008, Cardinal George asked Pfleger to take a disciplinary leave of absence from St. Sabina. George said in a statement, “I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today. Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.” Pfleger resumed his parish duties on June 16, 2008.”

    “On April 11, 2010, Pfleger delivered a 70-minute sermon in which he said the Apostles “had run out on” Jesus. “They had turned their backs on Him. They had left the One they had been with for three years, 24/7, and they ran away from Him when He most needed them. Only John, at the foot of the Cross and the women. That’s why there should be woman priests. That’s why there should be married priests. That’s why there should be women bishops and women cardinals.” The Archdiocese of Chicago later issued a statement by Pfleger in which he apologized for his remarks but reaffirmed his support for women’s ordination. Pfleger said on his Facebook fan page that he was told to apologize, despite still holding those opinions. Pfleger denounced critics of his comments as “ignorant haters” who took his homily “out of context” and used them “for their own particular motives.”

  • Patrick, there’s plenty of room inthe Church for true justice. There is, IMHO, no room for a demagogue who stirs up class, racial, and religious hatred nder the guise of so-called “social justice”.
    Don, thanks for the background on Fr Flakey. This man needs a psychiatrist!

  • Once upon a time, persons with religious vocations made vows of chastity, obedience and poverty.

    St. Che, Pray for us!

  • Fr. PFleger is a great example of Jesus Christ and his teachings. He should have left a long time ago. Fr. Pfleger now has the opportunity to open his Own Church.God would be pleased with him. May God bless you Father Pfeger. Go out and Preach the GOOD NEWS !!!

  • Wow !! I am truly shocked to see so many haters on a Catholic Web Site.
    Did you forget “WWJD”, What would Jesus do ? Apparently you did.
    And to say that there is no room in the Catholic Church for social justice ?? That’s totally false. Social justice is one of the main teachings of the Catholic Church.

    While I don’t agree with everyhing Fr. Pflager has said and done, and feel that he has been out of line several times, I think there is no doubt that he has good intentions, and has made many positive changes in his community. That being said though, he is still a Catholic Priest, and is bound by the same set of rules as any other proest. He can’t make up his own rules.

    So if you are true Catholics, how about praying for Fr. Pflager and his congrgation, and for Cardinal George, instead of being haters. Please !!!
    Calling him Fr. Flakey ?? Really ?? Do you think Our Lord would be proud of you for that ??

  • Fr. Pfleger now has the opportunity to open his Own Church.

    Yes, a great example of Christ’s life and mission – taking his marbles and going home.

    That being said though, he is still a Catholic Priest, and is bound by the same set of rules as any other proest. He can’t make up his own rules.

    Yes, and therefore most of what you have just written is therefore kind of silly, don’t you think? Fr. Pfleger is the disobedient one, not those calling him out for his behavior. That you are more concerned about the tone of those who disapprove of this man than in his actions is quite revealing.

    Oh, and adding additional exclamation points and question marks doesn’t make you sound much more insightful.

  • Did you forget “WWJD”, What would Jesus do ?

    What would Jesus do to someone who misused his authority as a representative of JESUS to 1) promote a literal baby-murder supporting member of Caesar’s crowd, 2) kept bringing scandal onto the Church, 3) was publicly spreading false teachings, 4) metaphorically flipped off the just authority over him, metaphorically doing the same to Jesus?

    Um… My imagination doesn’t go that far, but I’m thinking that the money changers might be willing to commiserate.

  • “Calling him Fr. Flakey ?? Really ?? Do you think Our Lord would be proud of you for that ??”

    Perhaps not. Christ might have preferred that I used some of the terms that He used: whited sepulcher, serpent, viper, etc. “Father Flakey” seems rather mild in comparison, perhaps too mild. Thanks for the correction T. Doyle!

  • What would Jesus do?

    Matthew 7:22-23 gives the answer:

    “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

  • WWJD? He might have taken a knotted cord to Father Fleger and ejected him from His Father’s House.

  • Whatever it is they’re teaching over there at St. Sabina’s, it sure the heck isn’t how to spell.

  • Stephen,
    You accuse Fr Pfleger of being a flaming liberal, social justice radical as if thats a bad thing. I guess if you are white, male and catholic in chicago social justice is a threat to your racist way of life. Father Pfleger is hated for one thing and one thing only in chicago, his commitment to the African American Community. It is a well known fact that the Chicago Catholic Community is one of the Most viral racist nests in the country. White catholics in chicago have such a bad reputation that I am embarassed to say I am catholic in other parts of the country because I am always asked how I could be black and catholic in chicago. I always respond by saying it is different for me I belong to St Sabina!

  • RadCat, I do not live in Chicago. I’m male, but I’m not “white”. I’m a Catholic of multi-racial ancestory, (Jew, Arab, sub-saharan African, Turkish, Scot-Irish, English, Spanish, Portuguse, Italian etc.) who’s ancestors practised Judaism.
    You are correct that your kind of “social justice” is a threat to my way of life. I am afraid of a fanatic like Fr. Pfleger who stirs up the very racial hatred that he’s supposed to be preaching against. He supports abortion. He’s for Obamacare which will destroy my health care. In general, he’s just a radical, socialist, Alinskyist who wants to throw his weight around thinking he’s a big shot.
    Finally, you don’t even know me, but you presume to call me racist? If so, why did I contribute to a reward for the capture and arrest of unknown suspects who spray-painted racial slurs on a house and two cars against two little Chinese girls with Down syndrone? This revolting incident happened in Elmwood, Il, the town my ancestors settled and helped found in 1830. I’m proud to be an Elmwood decendant, it’s a pity you’re so ashamed of being from Chicago.

  • Hey Radical Catholic, do I get to point out that Pleger has long been a disgrace since I am part Cherokee, or does my white blood prevent me from pointing out the obvious?

  • Radical Catholic,

    Don’t you find it a contradiction to be a Catholic if the Catholic Church is so offensive to you?

    God bless.

Progressive-Church.Com

Wednesday, September 8, AD 2010

The Episcopal Church?

Cardinal’s Mahony or O’Malley’s Archdioceses?

If you guessed any of these you’re pretty darn close!

(Hat Tip:  Creative Minority Report)

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3 Responses to Progressive-Church.Com

Time For Vatican III? No!

Monday, April 5, AD 2010

Father Edward L. Beck, a Passionist Priest, and a contributor to ABC, wrote a column for ABC in which he calls for Vatican III.  I think the article is worth a fisking.

April 2, 2010 —Surely this was originally intended for April 1?

As Christians begin their celebration of the Easter season, the Catholic  church seems stuck in Good Friday. No Father, the Catholic Church is always “stuck” in Easter. Just when some would like to turn  their attention to the profound mysteries of their faith, they are  instead mystified by yet another round of horrendous sex abuse storiesmaking headlines. Yeah, totally by accident, and too bad Father doesn’t spend time mentioning how spurious this piece of tripe by the New York Times was.

Most Catholics in the United States were convinced that the issue of  sexual abuse by priests had been adequately dealt with after the last go round more than eight years ago.   I do not think this is the case.  Most Catholics in this country are still fuming about predator priests and the bishops who protected them. Many are also outraged by the ambulance chasing attorneys and the suspicion that some of the victims are merely cashing in on flimsy evidence.  There is still a lot of outrage about this whole mess. In many ways, it has been. U.S. bishops adopted strict policies of zero-tolerance after the abuse scandal exploded in 2002. Bishops are now required to comply with state laws for reporting abuse and to cooperate fully with authorities.   For the most  part the stories once again generating news in the United States concern old cases and the previous negligence of bishops to deal effectively and  justly with the crisis. New to the controversy has been the suggestion by some that the Pope himself bears responsibility for lapses. Actually such accusations have been flying around for years.  They have gotten nowhere because they lack substance.

The recent reports indicate this is not — and never has been — a distinctly American church problem.  I doubt if many Catholics in this country thought that it was. The European Catholic Church is now  experiencing what the U.S. Catholic Church did nearly a decade ago. Once reports from Pope Benedict’s native Germany emerged that boys had been abused in a church-run school there, hundreds more from other European countries came forward admitting that they too had been victims of abuse decades ago. We have not heard the last of these stories. Africa and  Latin America have yet to weigh in, but they will. Reports from those parts of the world will eventually emerge to increase the dismay of those who expected more diligence and, indeed, holiness, from religious institutions.

What is readily observable from the avalanche of reports is that the sexual abuse of minors is a systemic, worldwide problem. But it is not exclusively a Catholic or ecclesial one. True. It cuts across all faiths, institutions and family systems. Presently, however, it is the Catholic church in the spotlight, so it must take the lead in dealing with this issue in a transparent, effective and ultimately transformative way. Though its halo has been dimmed by past negligence, if only the scandal of the criminal protection afforded by bishops to predator priests had been limited to mere negligence the church can still be a beacon of light to lead the way if it now proceeds with haste and unwavering conviction. We might start by ordaining only those who believe what the Church teaches when it comes to sexual morality.  We must also understand that a fair number of the people who attack the Church on this issue are motivated much more by raw hatred of the Church than concern for the victims.  The evil from our ranks must be excised, but let us not assume we will receive plaudits from the World for doing so.

So then, what is the best way for the church to move forward? Dramatic failure requires a dramatic solution. Nothing gets the attention of the church and, perhaps the world, like a Vatican Council. Here we get to the purpose behind this article. The last one, of course, ended more than 45 years ago in 1965. While some would maintain that we have yet to fully execute the decrees of that Council, the world and the church have changed dramatically in the interim.  When has the World not been changing?  As to Vatican II, all the turmoil in the Church since that Council should cause us to hesitate before calling the next one. The current crisis in the church can serve as the impetus for once again calling together the worldwide church community in pursuit of modernization, reform and spiritual integration for a new time and world.  Always be alarmed when anyone proposes a radical step for the sake of vague terms like modernization, reform and spiritual integration.

What issues might this Council address?  The death of the Faith in Europe?  Rampant immorality?  The failure of the Novus Ordo Mass to inspire many Catholics? Many to be sure, but chief among  them could be the current crisis confronting the priesthood.  Homosexuality?  Lack of fidelity to their vows?  A desire for a life of ease? Certainly the issue of sexual abuse and the devastating toll it has taken in the church might be examined and addressed definitively, once and for all. In addition, while pedophilia and the sexual abuse of minors and priestly celibacy are not organically related, the abuse crisis has once again raised the issue of the necessity and relevancy of mandatory celibacy for diocesan priests.  How long has celibacy been bugging you Father?  Wasn’t that particular requirement spelled out clearly enough for you when you were ordained? The majority of Catholics and priests want an open discussion about this issue, but up to this point, that has not been permitted.  Rubbish.  This ” issue” isn’t even on the radarscope for most priests and laity.

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7 Responses to Time For Vatican III? No!

  • I may be wrong, but the issue of celibracy was not the culprit in my opinion..The standards for those entering the priesthood were too lax and many of those whose sexual norms were suspect were allowed into the priesthood who wanted to escape the stigma of those norms in society and a heavy price has been paid. Many of young men who aspired to enter whose views were orthodox in nature were by passed. The changes in the current young men now entering and their formation has seen a stricter approach to this issue and it is paying off. The current Pope has been stricter in ridding the Church of this scourge than any previous Pope inclding his predessor in my opinin.

  • Only reason for Vat III: REPEAL Vat II.

    Here is my crazed solution to the judas priest problem (no pun intended). Reinstitute the Inquisition. No stake, though (boo!). Blatant, relapsed abuser gets life sentence: chained to a wall in a dungeon on bread and water. Minor abuser (released with penance) is branded so all know what he is – end recividism.

  • “a defeated celibate clergy who must sometimes then minister side by side with married priests who have more
    rights and privileges than the celibate ones do”

    I guess its not enough of a right or a privilege to be a priest in Christ’s Church.

  • Thank you for highlighting “Church seems stuck on Good Friday” This is an argument I have heard for 40-50 years. Why is mystery such a stumbling block? Easter Mass Father made a comment about Christ descending into hell and one reason he did this is because he could relate to us. I thought Father has been reading secular publications, most likely he lost his point and grabbed just what made sense.

  • I think it is rather a time for mass repentance in the Church and a return to the Catholic Faith by clergy and laity alike.

    Amen.

    Father Beck will die soon and so will most of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd. We’ll be left over with malcontents and disobedient Catholics strumming their guitars and arguing with themselves in dark corners of the Internet.

  • Vatican III? I’d be thrilled if the documents of Vatican II were actually
    read and finally implemented! They plainly state that Latin is to have
    primacy of place in the celebration of the Roman rite, that gregorian
    chant is the greatest artistic treasure the Church possesses, etc., etc. .

    I’m in my 40’s, and I’ve yet to see a Novus Ordo Mass at the parish level
    that actually incorporates all of what the documents of Vatican II envisioned.

    Perhaps we can have another Council in a century or two, after we’ve
    cleaned up the wreckage inflicted on the Church by ‘professionals’
    riffing on the documents rather than reading and respecting them.

  • Some nutty suggestions here undercut the seriousness of the discussion.