The embattled pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church told radio show hosts Tavis Smiley and Cornel West this weekend that he would look outside the Catholic Church if offered no other choice but to work at a Catholic high school.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger also said on the “Smiley & West” public radio program that he had been banned from speaking at events in the archdiocese and blamed pressure from conservative Catholics and the National Rifle Association for his most recent clash with Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George.
“I want to try to stay in the Catholic Church,” Pfleger said. “If they say ‘You either take this principalship of [Leo High School] or pastorship there or leave,’ then I’ll have to look outside the church. I believe my calling is to be a pastor. I believe my calling is to be a voice for justice. I believe my calling is to preach the Gospel. In or out of the church, I’m going to continue to do that.”
In an interview with the Tribune, Pfleger clarified that he feels called to preach and push for social justice in a Catholic context. He said he loves the Catholic Church and prefers to stay there. But going to Leo full-time would not happen, Pfleger said.
“I’ve always said I could not do something that I don’t feel called or equipped to do,” he told the Tribune. “A full-time position at Leo is not something I’m equipped to do. I think Leo has made it clear they don’t see any need for me to come there. For both sides this would be a lose-lose. [source]
Well I would agree with half of that lose-lose.
I seem to be under some misunderstanding. I thought bishops directed where their priest went. Diocesan priests don’t make vows, they make promises to their bishop and one of those promises is obedience. Obedient priests don’t go on television questioning where there bishop is going to send them and they especially don’t talk about going outside the Church if they don’t get their way. Fr. Pfleger had developed a cult of personality over at St Sabina and his past antics have not served that congregation well.
In diocese with a bishop of a more liberal-bent they have no problem with priests faithful to the magisterium. They can ship them off to small country parishes knowing they will not complain in the least and I can think of circumstances where this has happened. Priests like Fr. Pfleger though seem to think it is all about them and there abilities and obedience only comes into play if they agree with what the bishop wants.
Earlier when I had read of Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George considering a new job assignment for Fr. Pfleger I thought this rather odd. Sending up seeming trial-ballons is out-of-place. The Cardinal should simply have made the assignment and while I can understand his pastoral approach with Fr. Pfleger considering his record, he must also consider the damage this priest does.