I went to the press conference being held on behalf of Father Michael Pfleger, the respected Catholic Priest on the Southside of Chicago. In case you don’t know, Father Pfleger’s church, St. Sabina, is a predominantly black church and his members love him. He has served the South Side of Chicago with the kind of courage only shown by a true spiritual soldier. He has stood strong with mothers as their sons have died and has put himself in the middle of nearly every kind of devastation that plagues inner cities across America.
But as most of us know, a true soldier and man of God is going to eventually be undermined by the establishment. Father Pfleger was recently suspended by the Catholic Church for refusing to leave the members of St. Sabina and going to another church. The parishioners were further disrespected by Cardinal Francis George when he (according to an email I received today from community activist Mark Allen) sent another priest to replace Father Pfleger, allegedly without giving any notice to the staff.
Whether the note from Allen can be confirmed or not is not the issue for me. The fact is that with every decision being made by Cardinal George, I am losing more and more respect for Catholic Church leadership in Chicago – it seems that their mission has nothing to do with God and everything to do with egos. Here are thoughts on the situation with Father Pfleger that come to mind:
1) The members of St. Sabina should leave their church and find another way to connect with God. There is almost nothing holy about the behavior of Cardinal George, for he is representing the very worst that the Catholic Church has to offer. Bullies in the pulpit must be confronted, even if they claim to be ordained by God.
2) The behavior of the church is clearly racist. One has to wonder if St. Sabina would be served with such disrespect if it were not predominantly black. Also, one can’t help but wonder if Father Pfleger is being punished (actually being treated like a n*gger lover) for spending too much time around black folks and caring about the issues in our community. If he were doing half as much work for white kids in the suburbs, his church would hail him as a hero.
3) Hypocrisy abounds in this situation. I find it astonishing that the very same church that had no problem covering up for pastors who’ve had sex with little children would punish the pastor who has done as much for the children of Chicago as any leader in the last 30 years. They should be ashamed for their behavior.