Chicago Cardinal silences priest who mocked Clinton

By KEVIN ECKSTROM, Religion News Service

The Chicago priest who mocked Hillary Clinton by saying she cried on the campaign trail because "there's a black man stealing my show" has been told by Cardinal Francis George not to speak about politics.

Fr. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina's Catholic Church on the city's South Side apologized after a May 25 appearance at Sen. Barack Obama's former church in which he said Clinton thought she was "entitled" to become president because she's white.

"I apologize for anyone who was offended and who thought it to be mockery," Pfleger, who is white, said in a statement June 1. "That was not my intent, nor my heart."

Regardless, George, who has tangled with Pfleger's controversial statements in the past, called Pfleger's words "both partisan and ... a personal attack" and ordered him to keep quiet.

We say: Charlottesville reveals the weeping wound of racism. What do we, the American Catholic faith community, do next? Read the editorial.

"To avoid months of turmoil in the church, Fr. Pfleger has promised me that he will not enter into campaigning, will not publicly mention any candidate by name and will abide by the discipline common to all Catholic priests," George said May 30.

The controversy over Pfleger's remarks at Trinity United Church of Christ prompted Obama to end his 20-year church membership. He said the media attention on his membership was a distraction for both his campaign and other parishioners.

Obama had worked with Pfleger on community development and called his remarks about Clinton "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric."

Last year, George chastised Pfleger for vowing to "snuff out" the owner of a local gun store. According to the Chicago Tribune, he has also wrestled with Pfleger over his long-time tenure at St. Sabina's and rules that traditionally rotate clergy ever 12 years.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.