Sanity check courtesy of a Chicago Sun-Times editorial

by Tom Gallagher

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Watching from afar the public bickering between an aging cardinal, Francis George of Chicago, and a stubborn, popular priest, Michael Pfleger, one wonders why these two, and their close advisors, cannot work it out and identify an optimal pathway forward that is respectful of all concerned.

The underlying bad blood between Cardinal George and Father Pfleger is laid bare for all to witness and to grimace. With the dismal state of affairs in many parishes and in many Catholic elementary and secondary schools around the country, finding a new structure that appropriately deploys Father Pfleger's talents other than a binary "take it or leave" proposition that appears to be the current framework, should be a good problem to have, and solvable. Otherwise, these two ought to consider a new reality TV series called the "Michigan Shore."

Here's what the Chicago Sun-Times editorial had to offer:

When Cardinal Francis George suspended the Rev. Michael Pfleger two weeks ago, the cardinal said he was particularly troubled by the priest’s threat -- made on a national radio program -- that he just might leave the Roman Catholic Church.

"If that is truly your attitude," George told Pfleger in a curt letter, "you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish."

That struck us then and now as an unfortunate overreaction by the cardinal. Can't a guy speculate about quitting a job rather than accept a transfer without getting hammered by the boss? Pfleger is reluctant to leave St. Sabina Parish, where he is the phenomenally successful pastor, to become president of Leo High School.

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