Pfleger update: "I'll preach at other churches"

Pfleger update: "I'll preach at other churches" May 11, 2011

The controversial Chicago priest made a statement about his situation last night.

Details from the AP and the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, suspended by the archdiocese after suggesting he would leave the church if he is removed from his parish, says he will begin preaching at other churches if he is not reinstated by this weekend.

Pfleger made the comment Tuesday during a meeting with parishioners at St. Sabina Catholic Church. Pfleger told about 150 people he has received offers to preach from churches around the U.S. He added he needs to get back to preaching.

Choking back tears, the outspoken priest said the suspension “has been very painful.”

There’s more about him at Huffington Post, too.

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24 responses to “Pfleger update: "I'll preach at other churches"”

  1. Obviously, it has been a long, difficult road for Pfleger. He is a Protestant and we Catholics should consider him as one; by the same token, he should too and be done with it. An egoist, he should in spite of his egoism now gracefully and quickly depart the one true Church and create his own sect.

  2. This is really a very sad situation on many levels but what I come away with is this simple thought: “It is all about me.”

    Fr. Pfleger has decided that he is more important that his promises to his bishop and to the Church.

    Fr. Pfleger should have accepted the post at St. Leo’s. Yes, and education background would be of immense help but he is not a stupid man. He is probably a very fast learner and one of the things about a good leader is that you surround yourself with some of the best talent available.

    Could you imagine what he could do to St. Leo’s? yes, there are those who say he could do a great deal of damanage but if he focuses on the correct things, he could make it a powerhouse of learning, of keeping young men on the straight and narrow — esp. those of single moms, of giving hope to maybe those without it.

    It is all about me. Nothing more. Nothing less.

  3. Not surprising. He is the latest in a trend of priests with a cult following to believe they are above the Church.

  4. What an arrogance to give an ultimatum! The Bishop was right to suspend him. He is going the road of excommunicating himself out of the Church.

  5. This story comes at an interesting time for me. I am scheduled to preach for the first time this Sunday in my Parish. I was actually granted preaching faculties by my Archbishop last December, on Christmas Eve, to be exact. So what was the hold up, after five years of formation and two years of post-ordination formation? I guess I wanted to make sure that I was entering in to it with the proper mind and for the right reasons. I’ve have formation classmates who are surprised that I didn’t gallop to the ambo to preach, as I’m what some would consider a fairly accomplished public speaker. But what really struck me about the privilege of preaching AND WHAT REALLY STRIKES ME ABOUT THIS STORY it that it is never about the preacher. This priest doesn’t seem to fully grasp that, or perhaps he’s lost that sense, as his flock has gathered excitedly around him to hear him speak. In a nutshell…it is apparent from watching numerous clips of this guy preaching that he really, really likes the sound of his own voice, and maybe has ceased to hear the true and authentic voice of Christ within him. Just a thought…

  6. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — being “president” and the public face of a Catholic high school is a good job for an older, popular priest to have, and my old pastor loves doing it. It’s a position perfect for Pfleger, and he’s a big ol’ whiner who can’t let go enough to realize it.

    I also notice how he suddenly is all about wearing the Catholic priest clothes whenever he’s in trouble and ibegging the media to save him.

  7. Roman Catholicism believes the infallible touchstone of truth
    is the ” Church ” itself. The ” Church ” not only infallibly determines the proper interpretation of Scripture , but also supplements with additional ” tradition” and teaching.
    That combination of ” Church ” tradition plus the ” Church’s ”
    interpretation of Scripture is what constitutes the binding rule of faith and practice for Catholics. The ” Church ” sets itself above ” Holy Scripture ” in rank of authority.
    Jesus is the Head of the true church and one can’t allow the gospel to be obscured. In the words of that ” Protestant ” ,
    Martin Luther ; ” what is asserted without the Scriptures or
    proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but need not be believed “.

  8. It seems that part of his problems might have come about because he was at his parish for 30 years. Over time, it became “his” church rather than a Catholic church. This is a sad testament supporting the policy of moving priests every 5-7 years.

  9. At this point I think that our most serious concern should be how many Catholics Pfleger takes out of the Church with him. Like Mike Andrews says, he is taking a path quite normal for protestants, and how many people at St. Sabina’s will have the experiences to know that this is NOT Catholicism?

    Like Maureen says, head of St. Leo’s should have been a really good match for his talents and experiences. He would have been preaching to a group (young men, 14-18) who are actively making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. In a community where such young men are imminently in danger of making complete catastrophes of their choices. He would have been “in residence” at a nearby parish, where people at St. Sabina’s could have easily come to hear him preach, and new people would have been graced with his ministry.

    Unless your parish is attached to a monastery where the priests stay in one place from novitiate to death, this is what Catholicism looks like. Priests come and go in any particular place, and a vital role that the laity have is to make sure that the community still functions now matter how quickly or unexpectedly the revolving door in the rectory spins. (In the last 14 years my parish has had four pastors, seven assistants and 4-1/2 years where the pastor had no assistant. If nothing else, we know that our parish’s identity is not the identity of any particular priest.)

  10. This story is sad but even sadder are the proud Truly True Catholics gleefully showing Fr. Pfleger, and others like him, the door when what we all should be doing is praying for his return to communion with the Church.

  11. I noted the story neglected to mention that Fr. Pfleger past controversy’s included threatening to kill John Riggio and using a Catholic church pulpit to host guest speakers to give pro-abortion speeches.

    From 2007 – Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, stated, “publicly delivering a threat against anyone’s life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest. It is first of all up to the civil authorities to determine what threat might have been contained in the remarks attributed to Fr. Michael Pfleger.

  12. Elmo, The priest is showing himself the door out of the Church. He is to blame and no one else.

  13. Rudy: No, it is the Devil who is showing Fr. Pfleger the door. The Truly Trues (including some Internet pastors) are happily kicking him over the threshold.

  14. What a respectful tone these respondents have demonstrated!

    I am not surprised by Fr. Pfleger– he has shown himself to be an egoist outside the teaching of the Church for years. It is a disappointment, however, that he could not be transformed by the power of the Gospel.

    Also disappointing is the priest who was sent to replace Fr. Pfleger, and who immediately spoke in his favor–criticizing the Cardinal for the action he had taken. I know there will be fallout and some members of the parish will leave– but keeping them “in the flock” should not be at the expense of sound Catholic teaching.

  15. Well said, elmo.

    There is no excuse for Fr. Pfleger’s behavior, but it is tragic that he is behaving in this way. Jesus wants to draw all people to himself, not to kick them out of his Church. Anybody who says, “Good riddance,” as someone leaves does not have the mind and heart of Jesus.

  16. I keep thinking this is a man who was once madly in love with the Church, enough to espouse himself to Her for all eternity. It is tragic how sin is destroying Fr. Pfleger’s vocation and taking down so many other souls along with his own.

  17. Its easy to blame the devil, its harder to come down from our cloud and start obeying in humility.

  18. Pride is the greatest of all sins. If Fr. is willing to put himself before the Church then I don’t see how there is any place for him there and he should go. The example that Christ and many of our saints gave of not fighting back when condemned or misunderstood by others seems to be lost on Fr.

    Perhaps the Vatican and our bishops would do better to act more promptly in discipline. The Church moves so slowly sometimes that I think it leads to allowing problems to grow much larger than they need to be.

  19. Just read the Huffington Post article and it was pretty much an uninformed piece of out-and-out Catholic bashing/Pfleger pumping propaganda. Surely there are some slightly more informed sources you could cite backing Pfleger. (Not that I do – I am always frustrated at some of the passive-aggressive tones or actions I have seen by some priests. Pfleger takes the cake, of course, but it’s out there in all kinds of degrees.) Sorry, but usually I gain at least some kind of information or perspective from your links, but this lady was pretty much obnoxious. I have conservative and liberal friends – Catholics, Evangelicals, main-lines, and atheists – and I wouldn’t converse with them long if they were anything like this woman.

  20. I guess Cardinal George has let this farce go on so long because he’s afraid of losing the St. Sabina property. When Pfleger officially goes he’ll take most of the parish with him.

  21. The author of the Huffington Post article clearly dislikes the Catholic Church and views it as insensitive and oppressive, but the same article mentions that Leo High School is a Catholic school serving low-income African Americans. I wonder how she squares the horrible Cardinal George and the oppressive Catholic Church with the Catholic Church that supports a framework of schools, social services and health care services? She seems to want people to turn against the Church. I wonder what the social cost would be if the Church were to abandon its various ministries to the poor in Chicago?

  22. It is truly the sadest of times when a priests puts his self-interests above the needs of the community. Fr. Pfleger, as already stated here, is an ego-maniac whose self-absorbed, self-appreciating personality has caused him to over-value his stake in this situation.

    Cardinal George did the proper thing this time and should have acted this way on the previous ocassions when Fr. Pfleger got out of line (more like out of bounds) – but the Cardinal cared for the man more than the Cardinal’s own self-image. The Cardinal did what he thought was pastorally correct. The bad part of that is that Fr. Pfleger took advantage of that as well.

    The people that suffer are the flock/the people of St. Sabina. They get caught up in a situation that will be frought with pain and suffering all due to Fr. Pfleger’s poor attitude and egotism. The greatest sin one can commit is to cause someone to loose their faith. May God have mercy on Fr. Pfleger’s soul.

  23. Elmo says:

    I keep thinking this is a man who was once madly in love with the Church, enough to espouse himself to Her for all eternity.

    I respond – um, not really. If you knew of Pflegger’s shenanigans from his time in seminary (when he rented his own apartment and refused to live on campus with the other seminarians) up until today, you might not conclude that he was so madly in love with the Church.

    He has a narcissitic personality disorder (you can look it up) and loves no one more than himself. That said, he has found it very beneficial to himself to work very hard to build a loyal following to stroke his ego, and with the grace of God he’s accomplished much good in a very sad place. He deserves credit for the good he’s done, and he deserves blame for the terrible wrongs he has done.

    I’ve known several of his parishioners who have been praying for the day when he would take his turn to leave, like every other priest has to do. He’s played the race card very successfully over the years, and I am sure he’ll continue for as long as it serves his interests. But love of the Church is not what motivates him, in my experience. On his church’s website, there used to be a photo showing his face super-imposed over the face of Christ on the Cross. That tells you all you need to know.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean we should rejoice over his difficulties. Mental illness is a terrible tragedy, and I sincerely believe he needs professional help. Unfortunately, there really is no treatment for a personality disorder – it’s simply an ingrained part of one’s personality. However, no one should be bullied into submission, and people should be held accountable. Plus, it’s rather understandable for people to be fed up with Fr. Pflegger. He is unbelievably irritating in his self righteousness and bullying.

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