Flash: Pfleger suspended

Flash: Pfleger suspended April 27, 2011

Late today, Cardinal Francis George issued a sharply worded letter on the case of Fr. Michael Pfleger.  The controversial Chicago priest — and outspoken Obama-backer — can no longer function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


Citing what he called threats from the Rev. Michael Pfleger to leave the church, Cardinal Francis George has removed the outspoken priest from St. Sabina parish and has suspended his “sacramental faculties as a priest.”

Pfleger had publicly feuded with the cardinal about possibly being reassigned to Leo High School, telling a radio show recently that he would look outside the Catholic church if offered no other choice.

“If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” George wrote in a letter dated today.

“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,” the cardinal continued. “Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church.

“Many love and admire you because of your dedication to your people,” the cardinal wrote. “Now, however, I am asking you to take a few weeks to pray over your priestly commitments in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church.

“With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.”

The cardinal ended the letter by saying, “This conflict is not between you and me; it’s between you and the Church that ordained you a priest, between you and the faith that introduced you to Christ and gives you the right to preach and pastor in his name. If you now formally leave the Catholic Church and her priesthood, it’s your choice and no one else’s. You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements.”

Read more.

Meantime, the curious can see video of Pfleger in action in 2008 right here and in 2010, calling for women priests, here.

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15 responses to “Flash: Pfleger suspended”

  1. Based on the article that was linked, it looks like one more case of a priest whose supporters think he’s indispensible.

  2. About time. Better late than never. This guy should go to the heretic Prots where he belongs.

    Thank you, Cardinal George! Ad multos annos.

  3. If anyone is wondering what the term ‘cult of personality’ means, this situation is Webster’s definition.

  4. Cardinal George has been very patient with Father Pfleger. He has given him many opportunities. And in wishing Father Pfleger to take the assignment at Leo High School, the Cardinal was giving him the opportunity to stay in the community he has ministered to for a very long time.

    I support the Cardinal in taking this difficult step. He did the right thing after a lot of long-suffering with this priest.

  5. Interesting that you chose to include the fact that Pfleger has supported Obama and women’s ordination. I suspect that hints at your opinion of him.

    I have met Father Pfleger, attended St. Sabina and interviewed his parishioners. I have quite a lot of respect for him and his ministry. It seems this whole public brouhaha between Pfleger and the cardinal raises some interesting questions about the whole issue of obedience.

    I wrote about that here:

  6. @Heidi Schlumpf “I have quite a lot of respect for him and his ministry.”

    1) Rev. Michael Pfleger publicly criticized the Catholic practice of a male-only, celibate clergy.

    2) Rev. Michael Pfleger publicly supported pro-abortion politicians and stars and invited them to speak at his churches pulpit.

    3) Rev. Michael Pfleger engaged in misogynistic attacks against politician Hillary Clinton from the pulpit.

    4) In May 2007, Rev. Michael Pfleger threatened to kill John Riggio. 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.”

    5) And lastly, it was Rev Pfleger that interjected politics in the church with him publicly running the ”Catholics for Obama” committee despite Obama’s pro-death platform. ”The cardinal has made it clear to Father Pfleger in the past on more than one occasion that it’s inappropriate to speak about political issues from the pulpit and that his own personal opinions are his own personal opinions.”

    To be a Rev. Michael Pfleger fan means you support views that are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church.

  7. Heidi:

    I agree. What does his support for Obama have to do with the present “obedience” issue, unless it is meant to imply that he is also being punished for his political support.

  8. @ HMS

    You are not supposed to lobby for political candidates like Pfleger did as it risks the Church’s non-profit status with the IRS. He was warned numerous times not to by his leadership and he ignored them.

    I do notice the hypocrisy in your statement though as Pfleger attacked Hillary Clinton and George Bush from the pulpit, that’s okay though right?

    Heck, even Obama did not care for Pleger’s act. “Obama released a statement this afternoon saying he was “deeply disappointed” in Father Pfleger.”

  9. George:
    “I do notice the hypocrisy in your statement though as Pfleger attacked Hillary Clinton and George Bush from the pulpit, that’s okay though right?”

    There was no mention of his attacks on Hillary Clinton or George Bush in the Blog Post on which I was commenting.

    By the way, I don’t think that you meant to use the word, hypocrisy, which is the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.

    You do not know me well enough to make that judgment.

  10. After reading all these comments and the article written by Heidi, I just have to say one thing: just as the civic life has rules to be followed (obedience to the law), so does the Church members to her laws. Make your own analogy and comparison between the two.

  11. Fr. Pfleger has been wronged by our Church. The Catholic Church and all of it’s ministers need to live their lives like Jesus did. Jesus was wronged by the religious institution at the time as Fr. Pfleger has been wronged by our Catholic hierarchy. I would rather support someone who is keeping his faith to God than keeping his faith to a human (Card. George)

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