I first covered Rev. Michael Pfleger’s outrageous antics almost three years ago.
Since then his antics have continued, and – through his Facebook page – I’ve had the displeasure of being exposed to his misbehavior week by week. All of which led me to conclude that Fr. Pfleger is one of the most flagrantly-disobedient priests in the nation.
Today things finally came to a head (as Matt Bowman has already observed on these pages) when Fr. Pfleger publicly expressed his openness to leaving the Church if his most current spat with his Archbishop, Cardinal George of Chicago, didn’t go his way.
Cardinal George, who for his part has shown incredible patience and mercy towards Fr. Pfleger, immediately suspended Fr. Pfleger’s sacramental faculties as a priest and issued a letter to him and his parish which said in part – remarking on his attempts to reconcile Fr. Pfleger with the church:
This is the heart of the matter: priests owe their bishops obedience. Or more accurately, priests owe the Church – whose authority is expressed through the bishops – obedience. More from the cardinal’s letter:
Unfortunately, priests who are disobedient to their bishop encourage disobedience among their flock. Just look at this most recent posting on his Facebook page:
Judging by the language used, I’m almost positive this was not posted by Fr. Pfleger himself – but rather by one of this parish supporters. I presume this demonstration at the Cardinal’s residence is taking place now (update: about 100 showed up).
We need to pray for priests who have forgotten or ignore their vows of obedience, and we need to pray for bishops who face internal and external pressure when they attempt to charitably call their priests back to those vows.