Or sorry that he got caught?
Fr. Michael Pfleger’s fiery sermon in Trinity church in Chicago last
week was consistent with his usual style, but this time it had specific
political content forbidden by the Catholic Church in endorsing a
political candidate (and making vile comments about another). Which is
why Cardinal Francis George stepped in and gave Pfleger some time off
“to put recent events in some perspective”.
This has played often and prominently in the media, of course, since
it was the final event at Trinity that caused Sen. Barack Obama to
resign from the church after a lot of other controversy there didn’t.
But something I heard briefly reported has disappeared from newer
accounts. It was a comment Pfleger reportedly made after his apology
for the tirade.
A couple of days ago, one of the cable news shows put up a block
quote on the screen that was allegedly said by Pfleger, stating that
when he gave that sermon at Trinity he thought the video cameras were
‘down’ and that he would only be heard by those present. He didn’t
realize they were working again.
Which makes you wonder then about the regret. Only he knows.
The Chicago Tribune reported today that Fr. Pfleger’s parishioners
at St. Sabina’s would get the meeting they wanted with Cardinal George,
but the article needs a little perspective.
It quotes some of those parishioners.
“I do not believe Cardinal George fully considered the
impact of his decision,” said Amanda Breedlove, a prospective bride who
for months has envisioned Pfleger presiding at her wedding. “It’s a
feeling of being robbed. One day your family member is there. One day
But who’s responsible for that? Fr. Pfleger chose to go into Trinity
church and delivery a scathing speech. Actions have consequences, he
knows that, which is why he’s an activist in the first place.
Deacon Michael Threet said Wednesday that his No. 1
concern is Pfleger’s absence from the building and fear that he will
“There will no future as we know it at St. Sabina,” Threet said. “We
believe God called Michael Pfleger to this church to be an earthly
shepherd at this time. . . . Whether it was appropriate or not, the
punishment was extreme and [George is] hurting the faith community.”
Rev. Michael Pfleger hurt the faith community by his words and
actions. Cardinal George is the shepherd of Pfleger’s archdiocese, and
responsible for all the parishes and pastors and how the Gospel is
preached. He has already tolerated Pfleger’s refusal to be reassigned
to another parish as all pastors are, and Pfleger has enjoyed about 30
years at St. Sabina’s generating the very activism the parish is now showing in trying to get him back.
Throughout his pastorate Rev. Pfleger has involved
himself on the one hand in aggressive ministry efforts to tackle
head-on prostitution, drug-dealing, gun-violence, and other urban woes
that included challenging TV and radio personalities Jerry Springer and
Howard Stern. On the other hand, he has also advocated black liberation
theology with its racial vitriol, engaged in intimidating protests, and
endorsed and invited pro-abortion activists and politicians to speak at
his parish, including the Rev. Al Sharpton.
He has been closely associated with Sen. Barack Obama for many
years. Obama did what he had to do in denouncing Pfleger’s words and
actions, saying they didn’t reflect what he stands for or believes.
All of which begs the question of why the Revs. Jeremiah Wright and
Michael Pfleger don’t seem to see that Obama embodies the
accomplishment of everything they would want for an African-American
today. He is highly successfully, greatly admired, and on the verge of
becoming president. He’s known as the candidate of unity and hope and
change. They are now known as the preachers of anger and resentment
and static oppression.
Why the disconnect?