love and hate
Do you remember Father Michael Pfleger? In 2007 the radical Chicago priest issued a public threat to a gun-store owner, saying that: "We're going to find you and snuff you out." That earned him a rebuke from the chancery.
In 2008 he was at it again, with some over-the-top mockery of Hillary Clinton, imputing racist attitudes to the woman who was then opposing Pfleger's preferred presidential candidate, Barack Obama. This time he was actually required to take a leave of absence.
But now all is forgiven. Cardinal Francis George joined in a ceremony honoring Father Pfleger, and explained:
Fr. Pfleger has been a controversialist; and controversy is easier to report on than is love. Fr. Plfeger has spoken in anger, sometimes unjustly or uncharitably; and anger is easier to capture on the camera than is love. But Fr. Pfleger is a Catholic priest and a pastor, and in that capacity, like all good priests and pastors, he acts out of love. Ask his people.
Tom Roeser is also a controversialist: a prominent Chicago layman, newspaper columnist, radio personality, loquacious blogger, and chairman of the board of Catholic Citizens of Illinois. Is Roeser motivated by love, too?
Not at all, according to Cardinal George. The cardinal wrote to board members of Catholic Citizens of Illinois last month, asking them to "put an end to the hate literature" produced by their chairman.
"Hate literature." Those are strong words. Fighting words. Is Roeser guilty? Visit his blog and judge for yourself. There's no lack of evidence; he's certainly free with his opinions. But if you don't find "hate literature" there, ask yourself why Cardinal George wants to silence an outspoken layman, and honor an irresponsible priest.
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