WASHINGTON–After attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) from the pulpit of the Obama family church, Trinity United Church of Christ, Father Michael Pfleger on Friday was rebuked by Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George. Pfleger promised the Cardinal to muzzle himself when it comes to politics–and not even mention any candidate by name.
This episode–triggered by the media savvy Pfleger–comes as Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is on the verge of clinching the Democratic presidential nomination and is working to win Catholic votes. The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Saturday here to wrestle with how to seat the disputed Michigan and Florida delegates.
George wanted to avoid having the Catholic Church caught in a political dispute.
“Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged. Words can be differently interpreted, but Fr. Pflegers remarks about Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret
that deeply,” George said.
From the Chicago archdiocese….
Statement of Cardinal Francis George concerning remarks of
Fr. Michael Pfleger about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton during
an address at Trinity United Church of Christ on Sunday May 25, 2008
The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates. Consequently,
while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may
not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning.
Racial issues are both political and moral and are also highly charged.
Words can be differently interpreted, but Fr. Pflegers remarks about
Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret
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.