Chicago Francis Cardinal George has temporarily removed Father Michael Pfleger from his position as pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church on Chicago’s South Side. The decision follows his racially insensitive remarks at Sen. Barack Obama’s former church.
As discussed earlier, Father Pfleger made an apology about his remarks after the controversial tape was made public. The problem, however, is not simply the racially insensitive character but also the obvious endorsement of a candidate in the remarks. As a non-for-profit, the church is not allowed to support a political candidate — a rule that seems in the past honored only in the breach by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, click here.
The decision of Cardinal George, therefore, is not surprising or unjustified.
However, the rebuke was pretty light. George simply stated “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.”
The use of the church to support a candidate is a very serious business. This comes on the heels of an outrageous decision of another priest to deny communion to conservative law professor Doug Kmiec due to his endorsement of Obama. Click here.
“Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time,” the Cardinal’s statement continued. “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.”
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