Friday, May 30, 2008

Obama's "Pastor Disaster," Catholic Edition

After a torrent of press coverage over an uber-political outburst attacking Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by Fr Michael Pfleger -- the longtime Chicago activist pastor -- from the pulpit of the Windy City's Trinity United Church of Christ (Barack Obama's church) last weekend, the city's archbishop (and USCCB president) Cardinal Francis George has released a statement within the hour saying that "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.

"The Catholic Church does not endorse political candidates," George said. "Consequently, while a priest must speak to political issues that are also moral, he may not endorse candidates nor engage in partisan campaigning." The cardinal added that while "words can be differently interpreted, Fr. Pfleger’s remarks about Senator Clinton are both partisan and amount to a personal attack. I regret that deeply."

No stranger to controversial comments -- at a neighborhood rally this time last year, Pfleger pledged to cheers that his community would "snuff out" a gun store owner and legislators who opposed gun control measures -- Obama said late yesterday he was "deeply disappointed" by the priest's "divisive, backward-looking rhetoric."

A close friend of the likely Democratic nominee's former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and of the Illinois senator, Pfleger was reported to have resigned from a campaign-backed "Catholics for Obama" committee earlier this month.

SVILUPPO: From the archives, a visit to Pfleger's church (with Mass) by Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan...