Card. George gives Fr. Pfleger a well-deserved vacation

I have stayed out of this fray, pretty much at least… though I commented on the very very troubling nature of the preposterous and dangerous "Black Liberation Theology".

This is worthy of note.

Here is the text of a statement from the Archbishop of Chicago, His Eminence Francis Card. George:

 STATEMENT OF FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, O.M.I.,
ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO
June 3, 2008

To put recent events in some perspective, I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today. Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.

I hope also that the life of St. Sabina’s parish may continue in uninterrupted fashion. Fr. William Vanecko, Pastor of St. Kilian’s parish, will be temporary administrator of St. Sabina’s and will assure the full complement of ministerial services during this period. I ask the members of St. Sabina’s parish to cooperate with him and to keep him and Fr. Pfleger in their prayers. They are in mine.

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103 Responses to Card. George gives Fr. Pfleger a well-deserved vacation

  1. Fr. Andrew says:

    Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, pray for him!

  2. caleb1x says:

    Father Pfleger is harmless in the long run. His individual performances aren’t the main battleground. I’d call him a well-intentioned, but misguided symptom of the newfangled teaching that God has willed man for its own sake. Many of the instances of our re-orientation from God to man, rest on this doctrinal novelty.

  3. Stu says:

    I don’t think he is harmless one bit. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Mass at his(?) parish is replete with all sorts of novelties such as liturgical dance. Personally, I think there is more to this story than meets the eye. However, I echo Father Andrew’s sentiments strongly. Father Pfleger needs our prayers.

  4. fortradition says:

    I agree with Stu. How can a Catholic priest set foot in a place which spews such venom and hate along with the most vile bigotry. Fr. Pfleger also cursed in that place. A good priest demonstrates humility, piety, and holiness. I praise Cardinal George for issuing the statement and for sending Fr. Pfleger away for a time. The priest owes his bishop obedience and this was his vow on the day of his ordination. May the saints in heaven along with the Holy Mother of God join us in praying for Fr. Pfleger.

  5. Vianney33 says:

    Fr. Pfleger is not that different from many priests currently out there. In my archdoicese of St. Paul and Minneapolis we have quite a few like him and if you also count the ones from my alma mater of St. John’s University, you have a substancial number. They seem to be out of the same mold; activists for all sorts of liberal causes and herterodox dissenters from Church teaching. The Mass is about them and their performance and constant interaction with the parishoners, the band/choir, and a severe lack of reverence. They have no time for those old Catholic practices like Eucharistic Adoration, Corpus Christi processions, TLM or anything else that smacks of a pre-Vatican II mentality. They do like U-2 Masses, Labrynth walking, Yoga, Enneagram typing and anything else that involves New Age or other wierd inovations they can come up with. I know, and I think most others who read this blog, that this will come to an end some day in the near future but I worry about my fellow Catholics who have been misled by priests, nuns and lay people similar to Fr. Pfleger. We need more Bishops like Finn, Bruskewitz, Burke and our new archbishop, Neinstedt. True shepherds that use their shepherd’s staff to not only bring back wayward sheep, but to beat the wolves over the head with it. Real men, not whimps who are afraid to upset some people.
    I say, good ridance Fr. Pfleger and I hope 2 weeks turns into a lifetime.

  6. walter says:

    Father Pfleger is dangerous in that he is endangering souls by teaching and endorsing actions counter to what the Church teaches. I am glad the Cardinal has taken this action and pray for Fr. Pfleger.

  7. Central Valley Catholic says:

    A Bishop doing his job, will his fellow bishops follow the lead?

  8. Paule says:

    Vianney33,
    I love this image that you put here, lol:
    “True shepherds that use their shepherd’s staff to not only bring back wayward sheep, but to beat the wolves over the head with it”

  9. “Father Pfleger does not believe this is the right step to take at this time”

    Does that mean we can expect that Father will not do as his Ordinary told him too? It wouldn’t surprise me.

    Father Pfleger has been spewing venom and confusing the faithful on the South Side for years. It’s long past time someone stepped in.

    I can’t WAIT to read Tom Roeser’s take on this.

  10. sacerdosinaeternum says:

    While we need to and must pray for Fr. Pfleger, he is by no means harmless. It is well known that he has refused for many years to leave the parish when reassigned by the Cardinal. Blatant disobedience always brings with it many other vices. The Sacred Liturgy was abused and who knows what else with it. Oremus, Kyrie, eleison!!!

  11. Matt of South Kent says:

    Is this more of Pope Benedict’s great Marshall Plan for the 21st century?

    It is nice to see more traditional Bishops and Cardinals demanding disciple and obedience from the modernist. We are all aware of modernist Bishops and Cardinals demanding the obedience of the traditionalist and punishing those who do not heed his call.

    Amen!

    Matt of South Kent

  12. Tom says:

    The first thing I thought of when I heard that Cardinal George suspended Fr. Pfleger was Yogi Berra. Is this deja vu all over again? You have a priest who has been acting inappropriately for years and his bishop doing nothing to correct him until he makes national news. Now, all of a sudden he’s a problem? You think the bishops would have learned after the sex abuse scandal. When you have a problem – deal with it. Don’t wait for it to hit the papers…

  13. Geoffrey says:

    Has anyone checked out the website for his parish? I have seen some pretty strange stuff before, but looking at the website I really had to say to myself “is this a Catholic parish or what?!” I didn’t see the word “Mass” anywhere! I think his “speech” was the least of his problems.

  14. Brian2 says:

    Well, even if his performance was quite base and beneath the dignity of holy orders, he is the first priest in a while to be in the news for the content of his preaching, rather than the sex scandals. Lets not be too hard on Fr. Pfleger…

  15. Jon says:

    There is much truth in what Fr. Pfleger said. Hillary Clinton has a sense of entitlement, both as a Clinton and as a white. More, Fr. Pfleger’s antics occurred not during a Mass, or even in a Catholic Church. Frankly, I thought his show was hysterical. What saddens me is that Cardinal George did not consider Fr. Pfleger’s public and persistent support of a grotesquely pro-abortion politician (Obama) as cause to remove him; rather, the “cause” appears to be that Fr. Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton, the darling of the USCCB.

  16. david andrew says:

    Vianney33,

    The only very small point I’ll quibble about is the spiritual exercise of walking a labrynth. It’s unfortunate that the mantra-humming new age hippie types have hijacked this ancient practice and claimed it as their own.

    One of the oldest and most famous labrynths is found worked in the floor of Chartres Cathedral. Labrynths were used as a tool for prayer and walking them was closely connected with spiritual exercises of repentance.

    Other than that, you’re spot-on.

    BTW, I’m in the Twin Cities area, and know some of the young men in both the minor and major sem. Good men, all. They are in my prayers.

  17. Jordanes says:

    It seems Father Pfleger and his foolish antics appear in the news every four years. He has been brazenly politicking for the Democrats (and imitating a stereotypical black evangelical Protestant preacher) for years, but I have impression that Cardinal George has not been eager to confront him, since he is immensely popular in his parish. It’s understandable that a bishop would not want to alienate any parishioners, but really, there comes a time when you have to say enough is enough.

  18. Bailey Walker says:

    I found the following in the “vision statement” on St. Sabina’s Web site: “The time is over for church as usual. God is calling St. Sabina to be a Third Day Church.”

    A brief Google search of “Third Day Church” brought up some very strange stuff (http://www.thirddaychurches.com/). I’d never heard this phrase before. Can anyone help me understand the significance of this and what, if any, relevance, it might have to the current situation.

    Many thanks.

  19. Matt Q says:

    Jon wrote:

    “There is much truth in what Fr. Pfleger said. Hillary Clinton has a sense of entitlement, both as a Clinton and as a white. More, Fr. Pfleger’s antics occurred not during a Mass, or even in a Catholic Church. Frankly, I thought his show was hysterical. What saddens me is that Cardinal George did not consider Fr. Pfleger’s public and persistent support of a grotesquely pro-abortion politician (Obama) as cause to remove him; rather, the “cause” appears to be that Fr. Pfleger mocked Hillary Clinton, the darling of the USCCB.”

    Vianney33 wrote:

    “Fr. Pfleger is not that different from many priests currently out there. In my archdoicese of St. Paul and Minneapolis we have quite a few like him and if you also count the ones from my alma mater of St. John’s University, you have a substancial number. They seem to be out of the same mold; activists for all sorts of liberal causes and herterodox dissenters from Church teaching.

    The Mass is about them and their performance and constant interaction with the parishoners, the band/choir, and a severe lack of reverence. They have no time for those old Catholic practices like Eucharistic Adoration, Corpus Christi processions, TLM or anything else that smacks of a pre-Vatican II mentality. They do like U-2 Masses, Labrynth walking, Yoga, Enneagram typing and anything else that involves New Age or other wierd inovations they can come up with. I know, and I think most others who read this blog, that this will come to an end some day in the near future but I worry about my fellow Catholics who have been misled by priests, nuns and lay people similar to Fr. Pfleger. We need more Bishops like Finn, Bruskewitz, Burke and our new archbishop, Neinstedt. True shepherds that use their shepherd’s staff to not only bring back wayward sheep, but to beat the wolves over the head with it. Real men, not whimps who are afraid to upset some people.

    I say, good riddance Fr. Pfleger and I hope 2 weeks turns into a lifetime.”

    )(

    Two good, different takes on the same arguement. Yes, why admonishment for something contrary to political correctness but not against the Church’s teachings, especially on supporting a pro-abort candidate? Very curious, but nonetheless great Cardinal George took immediate action regarless of the motivations.

    For Tradition wrote:

    “I agree with Stu. How can a Catholic priest set foot in a place which spews such venom and hate along with the most vile bigotry. Fr. Pfleger also cursed in that place. A good priest demonstrates humility, piety, and holiness.

    I praise Cardinal George for issuing the statement and for sending Fr. Pfleger away for a time. The priest owes his bishop obedience and this was his vow on the day of his ordination. May the saints in heaven along with the Holy Mother of God join us in praying for Fr. Pfleger.

    )(

    Yes, we pray for him and all such ilk!

    BTW, unless no one has heard, Obama is self-proclaiming he is presumptive Democratic nominee! If he wins, he will do to the nation what the false interpretations of Vatican II did to the Church. My opinion.

  20. Jerry says:

    Long overdue given the antics of this “performer” over the years. Rather than teach substantively he says what he knows will get a positive audience reaction. That is not what a Priest should be doing. He is more a social worker, of the extreme liberal persuasion, than he is a Pastor. The removal from the parish needs to be permanent. Perhaps that, along with a slowly increasing exercise of “spine” by Bishops, will send the message not only to this Priest, but others, that social activism is way down the list of appropriate priestly priorities.

  21. Adam Schwend says:

    I would like to issue a public thank-you to Barak Obama for doing what faithful Catholics have been unable to do for over two decades…get Father Pfleger removed from public ministry.

  22. Jordanes says:

    Bailey asked about the phrase “Third Day Church.” I hadn’t heard that phrase before, but I suspect it is more or less equivalent to “We are an Easter People,” meaning everything is new and different and we don’t have to bother with things like, oh, the deposit of faith, tradition, the commandments, church law, liturgical law . . . Hermeneutic of discontinuity.

  23. Tom says:

    I found this about Third Day Churches from something called the Christian Apologetics and Resource Ministry (www.carm.org):

    Third Day theology is a prophetic movement within Christianity that focuses on biblical scriptures that mention the phrase “third day” and seeks to apply what it sees are the benefits and promises of those scriptures for our time. Adherents claim that the third day is now, the third thousand years of Christ’s reign. Sequentially, the third day follows the first and second days. The first day is where we leave the old ways behind. The second day is the process of holding onto the promises of God that have not yet been fulfilled. Day three is the victory and receiving of the promises of God with an emphasis on personal development and spiritual improvement. Therefore, a third day church is a church that is looking for new ways to “do church” by leaving the old ways and moving onto the new ones that will be revealed, allegedly, by the Holy Spirit unto greater spiritual growth and prosperity. Generally, Third Day Churches are charismatic, pentecostal, emphasize present day apostles, prophets, prophetic utterances, and approve of women pastors.

  24. I praise Cardinal George for effectively giving him a “time out” and I pray that he will heed the graces of the Holy Spirit and use it well.

  25. Bailey Walker says:

    Thanks, Jordanes. However, checking out the link (http://www.thirddaychurches.com/)makes me think it’s a little more organized (and sinister, in my opinion).

    This entire situation is very serious and difficult. We must pray for all concerned, especially for the “temporary administrator.”

  26. Vianney33 says:

    david andrew
    Thank you for your humble disagreement about my thoughts on the labrynth. The nut jobs from the 60′s and 70′s have certainly hijacked many things in our Church. I have not seen or heard of the labrynth being used by anyone you would consider even remotely orthodox. Typically it is encountered at convents of the non-habit wearing persuasion nuns or wacky retreat centers. I have read on Catholic web sites that if the labrynth is such a “Catholic” symbol why was it found in only one ancient cathedral. Could it not have been an early and isolated example of New Age infiltrating the Church? Perhaps I am wrong and it is similar to centering prayer which can be done faithfully but has been disfigured by priests who have bitten the New Age apple. If you can point me to some faithful Catholic site that deals favorably with this topic I would appreciate it.

  27. Jon, Matt Q:

    Here’s my guess as to why Cardinal George made it about Pfleger’s anti-Hilary comments, instead of his support of a pro-abortion candidate:

    That would seem to make sense, but it doesn’t.

    Had he done the latter, Fr. Pfleger would have been made a “martyr,” because there are significant forces who would be eager to rally to him over his “right” and “courage”. But far less so over his attack on Hilary.

    Also, the reason to make it about abortion is to make a point about abortion; but in that case, don’t make Pfleger the issue, do as the bishop in Kansas did, take issue with a pro-abortion Catholic candidate, since the cooperation with evil is clearly greater on the part of a candidate supporting abortion, than someone endorsing said candidate for non-abortion positions.

    If the Cardinal was going to take issue with Pfleger, it makes sense to do it where Pfleger has less going for him, and that’s what his eminence seems to have done.

  28. Vianney:

    I dunno, maybe someone just thought the design looked nice on the floor of the great cathedral. And maybe someone thought walking the labyrinth would be a neat idea and nothing more.

    Before Hitler, the swastika was often used as a design element, I know of a church in Cincinnati that has it all over its beautiful floor. I really doubt it was an early manifestation of anything sinister.

  29. Padre Steve says:

    What a mess all of this is. Thankfully the Cardinal stepped in when he did. How a Presidential candidate could be associated with ideas like these is beyond me! Where have all the real leaders gone!? I really wish there was more to get excited about for the November election, but sadly we will be stuck for 4 years no matter what. Let’s pray that the voters are wise when it comes time to cast their votes! God bless! Padre Steve

  30. Certainly not sinister! Labyrinths of course have an origin in classical myth, but were a feature of many gothic cathedrals in the middle ages and symbolised the hard path to God at the centre. You did them accompanied by prayers as a kind of substitute pilgrimage, sometimes on one’s knees.

    The fact taht they have been hijacked by new age types shouldn’t cause us to reject something perfectly traditional!

  31. TNCath says:

    That was just about the most nuanced suspension of a pastor I have ever read or heard about. Very nicely put, although it leaves no doubt as to what Cardinal George meant. My favorite line is “Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time.” I bet!

  32. Shin says:

    ‘Pray for bishops’ the anti-spam word of the day. Appropriate, because this man needs to be disciplined and re-educated if that is even possible, and it should’ve been done awhile ago.

    The bishop’s response strikes me as a reluctant soft touch to placate the public, not a real action to make a change — nothing really different than the old responses to sexual abuse, a ‘time out’ as if that will make it better.

    I’ll be impressed when he does something real.

  33. Gerard says:

    It’s good to see the Cardinal do something finally. I believe Pfleger is shown in some of his gyrations in the film, “What We Have Lost…and the road to restoration” from several years back.

    Now, is the Cardinal going to let things die away slowly or take this opportunity to actually do some first class shepherding?

    1) Did he only act because of scandal in the non-Catholic segment of society? If yes, that’s sad, but he can still make some good come of it.

    2) Is he going to publicly denounce and condemn the errors and imprudences of Fr.Pfleger since they were and are public scandals?
    This is absolutely necessary.

    3) What sort of plan is the Cardinal going to introduce into St. Sabina’s to bring it out of it’s heterodox position? He needs to pastorally repair the damage and make the necessary doctrinal corrections.

    My suggestions would be that the Cardinal should actually say Mass there on a few Sundays and invite the parish to a “Town Hall meeting” which will actually be a Catechism Class in which he can ask questions about what Fr. Pfleger has taught them of the faith and he can assess the damage and either correct it or fill in the gaps.

    I wonder if they actually know any formal prayers in that parish.

    Does anyone think they say the St. Michael Prayer or the Hail Holy Queen?

  34. Patrick says:

    Thank God for Cardinal George!

    I find it odd that he is being “removed” for a period of two weeks and replaced by a temporary administrator. Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to take a two or three week vacation? It seems odd (and good!) that a temporary administrator is being named.

    I think there is a good chance Fr. Pfleger may be gone forever from St. Sabina’s.

  35. Malta says:

    oh, but Plefeger is in his angle of repose in the post-vatican II world sans the media attention. What a joke! George is singling this dissident priest out (among a sea of dissident priests) because of the media

  36. Matt Q says:

    Fr Fox wrote:

    Jon, Matt Q:

    Here’s my guess as to why Cardinal George made it about Pfleger’s anti-Hilary comments, instead of his support of a pro-abortion candidate:

    That would seem to make sense, but it doesn’t.

    Had he done the latter, Fr. Pfleger would have been made a “martyr,” because there are significant forces who would be eager to rally to him over his “right” and “courage.” But far less so over his attack on Hilary.

    Also, the reason to make it about abortion is to make a point about abortion; but in that case, don’t make Pfleger the issue, do as the bishop in Kansas did, take issue with a pro-abortion Catholic candidate, since the cooperation with evil is clearly greater on the part of a candidate supporting abortion, than someone endorsing said candidate for non-abortion positions.

    If the Cardinal was going to take issue with Pfleger, it makes sense to do it where Pfleger has less going for him, and that’s what his eminence seems to have done.”

    )(

    Very strategic, Father. Interesting.

    Gerard wrote:

    “It’s good to see the Cardinal do something finally…

    Now, is the Cardinal going to let things die away slowly or take this opportunity to actually do some first class shepherding?

    [[ We'll just have to wait and see. ]]

    1) Did he only act because of scandal in the non-Catholic segment of society? If yes, that’s sad, but he can still make some good come of it.

    [[ As Father Fox explained the possible reasons, but as for the Cardinal's real reasons, we'll never know unless he comes out and says why. ]]

    2) Is he going to publicly denounce and condemn the errors and imprudences of Fr.Pfleger since they were and are public scandals?
    This is absolutely necessary.

    [[ I think the Cardinal's letter being make public is a public denouncement as it is. As to the degree one may wish, that's the Cardinal's prerogative. ]]

    3) What sort of plan is the Cardinal going to introduce into St. Sabina’s to bring it out of it’s heterodox position? He needs to pastorally repair the damage and make the necessary doctrinal corrections.

    My suggestions would be that the Cardinal should actually say Mass there on a few Sundays and invite the parish to a “Town Hall meeting” which will actually be a Catechism Class in which he can ask questions about what Fr. Pfleger has taught them of the faith and he can assess the damage and either correct it or fill in the gaps.

    [[ He could, but that seems a bit beyond personally what he would do pastorally. A trusted staff member to express the Cardinal's concerns and hold that town meeting, fine. ]]

    I wonder if they actually know any formal prayers in that parish.

    Does anyone think they say the St. Michael Prayer or the Hail Holy Queen?”

    [[ Does any given parish know or say any of the formal prayers or say the mentioned prayers? ]]

  37. Michael says:

    …… and many TLM promoters believe, naively I think, that it can be fitted in the context of this mentality. Fr. Pfleger is only a tip of the iceberg, different from others in that he is less cunning.

  38. Patrick says:

    Michael,

    While there are certainly other wacky priests in Chicago, Fr. Pfleger is their poster child. And there are many, many, more good faithful priests. There are not many out there as far as Fr. Pfleger.

    Interesting how many of the posters here are jumping all over Cardinal George, questioning his motivation, etc. It kind of reminds me of #5 on Rules of Engagement.

  39. Warren Anderson says:

    Yes, Fr. Pfleger needs a time out. This is really a no brainer. Priests make a promise, just as a man and a woman in marriage make a promise before God and Church. Any priest should well understand that when his bishop says “do it”, that same priest should comply. For that matter, any one of us lay folk who does not comply with the legitimate authority Christ has placed over us risks putting one’s soul in danger. The “extreme” cases we are seeing nowadays are nothing new. Yes, it’s taken awhile for our shepherds to take a tougher stand. Our shepherds, for various reasons, are beginning to say enough-is-enough. I wager that our bishops are beginning to see that by taking a soft approach toward some of the more obstinate sinners that their behavior is becoming interpreted as the norm – “One can still be a good Catholic and dissent, etc.” The hypocrisy of that kind of petulant behavior is wearing thin. No one honestly in their heart of hearts wants to see someone censured or excommunicated. However, without some serious fraternal correction of the offending parties, a lot of good people might be corrupted and lose their souls because they have been led astray by the disastrous behavior of a few willful, unrepentant sinners. And, let’s not forget, the Lord Himself warned us to stay awake.

  40. elizabeth mckernan says:

    australia incognita is right about labyrinths being a substitute pilgrimage for the faithful. Those who were not able to go on a far distant pilgrimage would prayerfully follow the paths of the labyrinths in their cathedrals, often on their knees.

    Chartres is well known as it has been well preserved but it was by no means the only one. However others have been erased over the years through ‘wear and tear’.

    Visitors to Chartres are quite rightly overwhelmed by the magnificent stained glass windows in the Cathedral and the labyrinth can be overlooked as being in the nave it is usually covered in chairs but if you know where to look it can be easily found.

    It is sad that this ancient Christian devotion is thought by many today as being ‘New Age.’

  41. kradcliffe says:

    Did anybody else read his Apology? Contrasted to the tone of the Cardinal’s statement, which was very tactful, something about the tone of it struck me as strange, and not very professional/pastoral.

    From what I hear, Fr. Pfleger has sincerely worked hard and done good in his community in regards to certain issues. I hope that he is able to use his time off to reflect, and that he won’t be disobedient in the future.

    As for that “Third Day Church” stuff on the parish web site… I am seriously freaked out by that. Surely there can be a parish for that neighborhood that relates to their specific cultural, immediate needs without compromising the Doctrines of the Church.

  42. John says:

    Why would the Bishops’ conference not take similar action against liturgical abusers? If they would, it would certainly let the offenders know it is time to shape up and the Holy Father to see that his Marshall plan is on track in our country. Disobedience, at all levels, is the universal solvent of faith and Catholic identity.

  43. Chironomo says:

    I think every Diocese has a Priest or two (or ten) like Fr. Pfleger… those heterodox, rogue Priests that cannot be “touched” by the Bishop because of their immense popularity with the heterodox, rogue catholics. They can have “Masses” that are just a chorus line short of a Broadway Show, they can rub elbows with the political bigshots, whether pro-abortion, pro-capital punishment or in support of whatever cause-du-jour, they can give “Concerts” and sell their own CD’s to their parishioners with no accounting for where that money goes, and yet when questioned about them, the Bishop’s reply is “Well, he can sure raise money for that new building…” and so it is OK! Is a Priests life really so uneventful and absent of meaning that they have to carry on a full-time career in politics or entertainment at the same time?

  44. Jon says:

    Fr. Martin Fox,

    Thank you for responding.

    You write that, had Cardinal George made it about Fr. Pfleger’s support of a pro-abortion candidate (Obama) instead of his anti-Hillary comments,

    “Fr. Pfleger would have been made a ‘martyr’ because there are significant forces who would be eager to rally to him over his ‘right’ and ‘courage’. But far less so over his attack on Hilary.”

    True, but these are political calculations, not the sort of moral calculations worthy of a Successor to the Apostles.

    You also write that,

    “the reason to make it about abortion is to make a point about abortion; but in that case, don’t make Pfleger the issue, do as the bishop in Kansas did, take issue with a pro-abortion Catholic candidate, since the cooperation with evil is clearly greater on the part of a candidate supporting abortion, than someone endorsing said candidate for non-abortion positions.”

    But isn’t Fr. Pfleger’s public and persistent support of pro-abortion Obama a “clearly greater cooperation with evil” than Fr. Pfleger’s comical personal attack on Hillary Clinton? Of course it is. And so, by choosing to remove Fr. Pfleger for his personal attack on Hillary Clinton and not for his public and persistent support of pro-abortion Obama, Cardinal George missed a golden teaching opportunity and, worse, sent the implicit message that Hillary is more sacred than innocent babies.

    It is time for Bishops to act more like Successors to the Apostles and less like Successors to Machiavelli.

  45. Crusader says:

    Thank God for You Tube and the publicity it gives to what is going on in our Church! If it weren’t for the rapid dissemination of shocking images made possible by You Tube, we would not be getting such rapid response from our bishops. Keep those videos coming! In another case, I have to believe that the videos of the infamous “Barney Mass” helped convince the Pope that it was time to act to allow the Traditional Mass again…

  46. Scott W. says:

    “Now, is the Cardinal going to let things die away slowly or take this opportunity to actually do some first class shepherding?”

    I’ll bet money on the latter. Risky yes, but I’m banking on the fact that many bishops have been buying on credit the liberal death wish of tolerating the intolerant. Now the bill has come due and we are seeing the belligerent fruits (C’mon–TWO instances of calling damnation on America, and people apparently are STILL ready to vote for it?). Bishops who have not gone to the dark side need to start flexing.

  47. Lurker says:

    I doubt that this will change things much.
    I know lots of you would love to see the Cardinal “smack down” on Pflager, but it’s not happening.
    Come on..2 weeks? In the summer? That’s not a punishment. That’s a vacation.
    But, if Fr. Z can break away from this birds and Amazon list, maybe St. Sab’s can get a couple weeks of REAL liturgy in Fr. P’s absence!

  48. Jordanes says:

    Therefore, a third day church is a church that is looking for new ways to “do church” by leaving the old ways and moving onto the new ones that will be revealed, allegedly, by the Holy Spirit unto greater spiritual growth and prosperity. Generally, Third Day Churches are charismatic, pentecostal, emphasize present day apostles, prophets, prophetic utterances, and approve of women pastors.

    Ah, so they want to “Sing a New Church” into being? That sounds about like Fr. Pfleger and St. Sabina’s.

  49. John: Why would the Bishops’ conference not take similar action against liturgical abusers?

    You don’t think the real reason for Card. George’s action was Fr. Pfleger’s liturgical abuse and mistreatment of his parishioners? That the recent political incident was just a pretext for disciplining him?

  50. CK says:

    I think the first reply by the Cardinal (getting the promise of Fr. Pfleger to stay our of politics) had to do with the urgent necessity of speaking to the worldwide advertising (YouTube, etc.) that the Church may need scrutiny for its tax free status due to this one loud example.

    I think this second movement (removal)by the Cardinal probably is a reflection of the many outraged Faithful writing to him about this scandal.

  51. Scott W., how much money will you bet? I’d like a piece of that action.

  52. CK says:

    P.S. Does anyone know anything about the replacement, Fr. William Vanecko?

  53. Patrick says:

    Lurker,

    I thought it was a vacation too, but then I read the part about the temporary administrator. If it was just time off, there would be no need of an administrator. I think there is more at work here. I am doubtful that we will see Pfleger back at St. Sabina’s in 2 weeks.

  54. Jon:

    As I read about the popes, all the way back to Gregory the Great and Leo the Great, they’ve had to deal in the world of politics, as do parish priests.

    I used to work in politics, before I became a priest and I can tell you, the politics of a parish are…unbelievable.

    It depends on what you want: if you want Cardinal George to take some action against Pfleger, he has done so. If you want him to successfully navigate the perilous waters, he needs to think about the “politics.” And they are perilous. Cardinal George is, I am certain, concerned not only about Father Pfleger, and the impact on the larger community, he is also concerned about Saint Sabina Parish. He surely does not want them to go into schism–as Father Z points out frequently, the Fathers of Church, back to Ignatius of Antioch, have a “horror” of that. So his eminence is, I imagine, trying to avoid that as best he can.

    To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then the following would likely ensue: lots of discussion about how Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife (fill in lots of argument), lots of discussion about all the good Pfleger and his parish have done that should count as “prolife” (fill in lots of argument), lots of protest about how unfair the accusation is, lots of discussion about Obama, lots of discussion about not understanding the black community, etc., etc., and who knows what else…and the central issue would quickly be lost, and a martyr would be born.

    But Cardinal George has, instead, zeroed in on an issue that is still legitimate, but avoids, as much as possible, all that stuff. It’s still going to be dicey, but I think the Cardinal is wise to make this an issue about a priest keeping his focus, and saving a battle over abortion for another day. There is no need to fight every good battle all at once, and good reason not to.

  55. Bishop Lover says:

    A quick Google search reveals that Cardinal George has tried to remove Fr. Phleger before and the Padre refused to be transferred. See here for example. I don’t know the circumstances under which Card. George felt he had to back down and leave him be, but I think this situation is almost a godsend for the Cardinal –it gives him some political capital to deal with a previously “untouchable” pastor.

  56. RBrown says:

    “We want African-American culture to be embraced completely on equal grounds, and not just tolerated,” said Fr Pfleger.

    He sounds right in line with Abp Marini’s approach

  57. John:

    Bishops conferences lack jurisdiction to deal with disciplinary matters, and that’s how it ought to be. Our Lord endowed the Apostles with authority to govern the church, and he created one college of them, headed by Peter; he did not create “conferences.”

    Priests who misbehave are disciplined by their bishops and sometimes by the bishop of Rome; the bishops should be corrected by one another, again, often by the successor of Peter.

    It’s a system that all sorts of problems, but it’s the one we have been given. The history of human endeavors to create better governing models is a trail of tears.

  58. Fr. Fox: Cardinal George is, I am certain, concerned not only about Father Pfleger, and the impact on the larger community, he is also concerned about Saint Sabina Parish. He surely does not want them to go into schism

    Without suggesting that would be a good idea, I can’t help wondering idly whether — if the members of St. Sabina parish would not accept a new pastor with more acceptable beliefs and practices — then the Cardinal as “corporation sole” would have the power to simply padlock the church and invite its parishioners to worship more appropriately at one of the nearby Catholic churches.

  59. magdalen says:

    Yes, the Cardinal-at long last- was really forced to act. The public
    outcry on this man finally put him over the edge. The sort of man
    that this priest is does NOT respond to gentle persuation! And it
    also took a public outcry in Texas for a priest who was an open
    homosexual to not be given a prize assignment. At some point in
    time the faithful must say–we cannot have this disobedient and
    dissenting man for our shepherd. Enough is enough!

    Only last week as I attended a ‘peace and justice’ meeting on how
    to vote one of our retired priests-again- was justifying abortion. Oh, a poor woman with 6 children who cannot afford another baby and
    so on. This priest has also gone on TV in favor of gay ‘marriage’.
    Letters to the bishop have never made one bit of difference except
    when this priest writes his liberal letters to the local paper, he
    no longer puts ‘father’ before his name. No, it takes big public
    outcry to bring these heterodox dissenters to a place where a
    bishop takes action—unless the shepherd is one of the caliber of
    a, say, Archbishop Burke who will not allow scandal to go on when
    he hears of it.

    It is a sad thing when it does take being on national TV on a number
    of shows and who knows how many letters to the Cardinal to bring
    this man to at least a ‘time out’. And sometimes when such a ones
    are disciplined, they leave the church and start their own and whatnot–I think of the founder of ‘lifeteen’ for example and that
    archbishop Milingo for another. I wonder if this priest will do
    the same; obedience does not seem to be his forte.

  60. Scott W. says:

    “Scott W., how much money will you bet? I’d like a piece of that action.”

    1 million Eve Online ISK. :)

  61. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    The bishops have been “saving [the] battle over abortion for another day” for, oh, 35 years now.

    If this controversy in the national spotlight is not, in your judgment, the right “day” to go to battle over abortion, then what precisely will bring that day?

    Why is there always a “political” reason not to proclaim moral truth? Is this not precisely what the Evil One wants?

    For decades after Humanae Vitae and Roe v. Wade, the bishops remained collectively silent on contraception and abortion. And, so, today contraception and abortion are irrevocably part of our culture and law. Lately, the bishops have been collectively silent on the insidious march of sodomy into our culture and law. Soon, too, sodomy will be as much a part of America as contraception and abortion. Contraception, abortion, sodomy . . . taking over our culture and law while too many bishops fiddled.

    Finally, you suggest Fr. Pfleger can be personally opposed to abortion and yet support a politician (Obama) and party (Democrats) whose defining issue is unhindered access to abortion. My understanding of Catholic teaching – from Rome as opposed to the USCCB – is that such is not the case; especially when there are alternative anti-abortion, or certainly less pro-abortion, choices.

  62. ThomasB says:

    From the priest who promised at his ordination to be obedient and reverent to his bishop:

    “You are going to have to have the balls to fire me,” Pfleger said, sending a message to church leaders. “If you want to fire me, fire me.” http://www.jillstanek.com/archives/2008/05/pfleger_to_arch.html

    After such a scandalous public statement, how could his bishop have taken any action short of what he did (which I believe was not nearly enough, given the statement above).

  63. ThomasB says:

    I should have pointed out that this is a quote from 6 years ago.

  64. When I was in the theologate I had the opportunity to go to Mass at St. Sabina’s. Given what I experienced I was surprised to hear that Fr. Pflager is still there. I truly expected he and St. Sabina’s would have gone the way of George Stallings.

    I think it’s important to note that Cardinal George has not formally suspended Fr. Pflager though it seems he certainly has reason to do so. I’ve been thinking about this, especially in light of last Friday’s Solemnity of the Sacred Heart and World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. Vianny 33 hit on something important when he wrote: “The Mass is about them and their performance and constant interaction with the parishoners, the band/choir, and a severe lack of reverence.” It seems to me that this flows from a lack of solid spiritual formation in the Catholic Tradition. Without a deep and intimate relationship with Christ priests, indeed all people, have a huge vacuum in their lives that will be filled, if not with Christ, then with something else. Many people try to fill it with themselves. I say this from personal experience. Christ alone can fill this vacuum. Nothing else truly works…at least not that I have found or heard of. I hope His Eminence will use this opportunity to address this issue with Fr. Pflager. Maybe he hasn’t taken a harsher or more punitive stance because he recognizes that there is a better way to handle Fr. Pflager. We can’t know. Of course, he will also have to deal with the parish of St. Sabina and the damage that has been done. I’m glad I’m not now and never will be in such a position.

    Please, despite what he has done or how you may feel, pray for Fr. Pflager that God’s will for him be accomplished and for his salvation. That prayer will be heard. Pray for all of us priests. We are as fallen as the next guy and we do need your prayers. And pray for the people of St. Sabina’s. They most likely are entering a turbulant time.

  65. Jon:

    I’m not interested in expanding this into an argument about the bishops in general; and it’s a bit much to expect Cardinal George, in dealing with Father Pfleger, to deal with all the unfinished business that concerned Catholics like you and me care about. Cardinal George has to deal with Father Pfleger, and it looks like he is. Let us pray he deals with him in the best way possible, and all concerned respond to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

    This may shock you, but it happens to be true: while is certainly and gravely wrong for anyone to support a pro-abortion candidate because of his pro-abortion stance, it is not necessarily wrong to support a pro-abortion candidate for other, legitimate reasons.

    Now, that last statement is a compact, carefully phrased statement. Please note what it does, and does not, say. I did not say Pfleger made the right judgment in this case, or that this situation fits the circumstances in which someone can support a pro-abortion candidate despite his being pro-abortion.

    But I’m attempting to correct the erroneous notion that supporting a candidate who has a position that is gravely wrong–such as being pro-abortion, is in and of itself, the same level of cooperation with evil as that of the candidate who is pro-abortion. That is simply not what the Church says.

    Archbishop Chaput, who is hardly wimpy about pro-abortion politicians put it this way (from memory): yes, a Catholic can back a pro-abortion candidate, despite (never because) of his pro-abortion stance, if the Catholic voter has a sufficiently good reason. And Chaput suggested the test for such a sufficiently strong reason as being, you can explain it to the unborn children when you meet them after this life.

    I am not in a position, and I choose not to attempt, to evaluate Pfleger’s decision to back Obama, as to whether it passes the test. I will simply say I will not do as he did.

    But, the Church always, in all its moral teaching, recognizes the role of making subjective judgments in specific circumstances, and this is an excellent example of that. I.e., if the Cardinal chose to go the route you wish, he may feel he cannot make a firm judgment about Pfleger’s culpability in cooperating with the evil of abortion. He would do better, as I said, to make that point vis-a-vis a Catholic office-holder, as the bishop in Kansas did regarding the Governor there.

    But with Pfleger, to assess his cooperation with the evil of abortion is less firm ground, than the issue Cardinal George did pursue: Pfleger is getting too political and straying from his central mission.

  66. Michael J says:

    Father Fox,
    Would you mind giving a concrete example of a situation in which a Catholic could support a pro-abortion candidate despite their pro-abortion stance? The only case I can think of where this may be permissible is if all candidates are equally pro-abortion. It is my best understanding that the Church teaches that it is improperto give the same weight to all immoral actions so it would be unacceptabe to vote for a pro-abortion candidate because he was anti-pornography if there were an anti-abortion candidate who was pro (or neutral) pornography.

  67. Vianney33 says:

    This statement that Fr. Pfleger said, is actually the pure truth and gets right to the point: “You are going to have to have the balls to fire me,”. Exactly what many of out bishops are lacking. Cardinal George had many years to nip this stuff in the bud and didn’t. As an earlier post said, we need more bishops like Burke who don’t fiddle while Rome burns ore in this case, while the archdiocese burns. Because of the hesitation, the problem at St. Sabina’s has grown to the point where it is almost impossible to do anything about without causing many casualties.
    As far as the abortion issue, if us Catholics stopped looking for excuses to vote for Democrats and did what we have been called to do, which is not vote for abortion supporters, we would quickly change the Democrat party into a more pro-life party because they would never win another election again until they changed their platform. How could this be accomplished? Our bishops would need to take a stronger role in educating the laity and priests for that matter. Make it clear to Catholics that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is never allowed unless they are running against another pro-abortion candidate. But again, this takes us back to the first part of this post about the lack of anatomy on some bishops. While they fuss and quibble about upsetting some people, millions of innocent lives are lost, offered to Molech in the abortuaries of this country.

  68. Michael:

    One example would be where both candidates are unacceptably pro-abortion.

    Now, you may think, if one is slightly better, one is obliged to support that person; I’d hold back from saying “obliged,” but I would say it’s morally defensible. But that is one example where, as a Catholic, you’d still be supporting a, quote, “pro abortion” candidate. Say, Guiliani over Obama.

    I agree with you that all issues having a moral dimension are not the same in gravity, there are many issues that are morally disqualifying, of which support for abortion is one. I think we could develop quite a list if we wanted, such as euthanasia, re-defining marriage, etc.

    If one candidate were pro-abortion and the other were pro-”gay marriage,” I’d hate to have to make that choice; but both candidates would, on their merits, have disqualified themselves, and it becomes a prudential choice–meaning, I don’t think one can speak absolutely about one must go with one or the other. The circumstances might be that the voter judged the “pro gay marriage” candidate was in a position to do greater actual harm than the pro-abortion candidate, or vice-versa, based on the powers of the office to which one is being elected, legislative v. executive, federal v. state, and the counter-weight of the other branches, being judged more or less likely to frustrate the evil agenda.

    Another example would be, what if the candidate who takes an anti-abortion position is also clearly a crook, grossly incompetent or grossly immoral: what if Sen. Larry Craig ran again? I’m not saying one couldn’t vote for him, but I have a hard time saying one is morally obliged to vote for him.

    And so it goes: the Church does not provide a simple calculus for evaluating all the various stances and attributes of a candidate, and comparing and contrasting. What is clear are the principles concerning cooperation with evil.

  69. David Kubiak says:

    What I have never understood is why African American Catholics put up with Fr. Pfleger’s
    impersonation of a southern Baptist preacher. I find him acutely embarrassing
    in the way I would someone who was performing in blackface, and would still do if
    he were as orthodox as the Pope.

  70. Ben says:

    I find it interesting that whenever a prolife discussion happens we focus upon abortion. That is not the only prolife topic! Niether the Democrats or the Republicans understand what prolife really is. It is about the preservation of ALL life from contraception to death. This also includes not having catpital punishment. We should not join our friendly Evangicals and focus solely on this one button topic. We are Catholic. Also I am not worried about Obama. President Bush alread placed 2 Supreme Court justices in. Also Obama is not going to want to upset the conservative Black community that is completely agianst abortion.

    Just some thoughts…

  71. Michael J says:

    Ben,
    Being “pro-life” does not mean, according to Catholic teaching, that one must be against the justly applied death penalty. In a somewhat counter-intuitive way, justly executing a duly convicted criminal is more respectful of the sanctity of life than life long imprisonment.

  72. Patrick says:

    Ben,

    Even though a good case can be made that the death penalty is not prudent in our time, it is not an intrinsically evil act, like abortion, homosexual acts, etc.

  73. caleb1x says:

    Ben, I understand your concern, but life should not be over-valued. Life isn’t to be valued over, for example, faith or justice. It’s not a supreme, all-encompassing touchstone by which all other concerns ought to be judged.

  74. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    You write, “One example would be where both candidates are unacceptably pro-abortion”.

    Obama and McCain is not one such example (I am not a McCain supporter).

    You also write, “There are many issues that are morally disqualifying, of which support for abortion is one”.

    True, but if support of abortion is “morally disqualifying”, how can you morally qualify Fr. Pfleger’s support of Obama? Abortion cannot be “morally disqualifying” and morally qualified at the same time.

    All these other issues being bandied about – homosexual marriage, Larry Craig – pale in comparison to the intrinsic evil that is the murder of innocent children in the womb. None of these other issues – none – can justify support for a pro-abortion fanatic like Obama.

    As Father Stephen F. Torraco, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology at Assumption College, writes in “A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters”:

    “If a political candidate supported abortion, or any other moral evil, such as assisted suicide and euthanasia, for that matter, it would not be morally permissible for you to vote for that person. This is because, in voting for such a person, you would become an accomplice in the moral evil at issue. For this reason, moral evils such as abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide are examples of a ‘disqualifying issue.’ A disqualifying issue is one which is of such gravity and importance that it allows for no political maneuvering. It is an issue that strikes at the heart of the human person and is non-negotiable. A disqualifying issue is one of such enormity that by itself renders a candidate for office unacceptable regardless of his position on other matters. You must sacrifice your feelings on other issues because you know that you cannot participate in any way in an approval of a violent and evil violation of basic human rights. A candidate for office who supports abortion rights or any other moral evil has disqualified himself as a person that you can vote for. You do not have to vote for a person because he is pro-life. But you may not vote for any candidate who supports abortion rights.”

    Finally, regarding your reliance on Archbishop Chaput, last time I looked he was not on the short list of American bishops bold enough to prohibit pro-abortion politicians from receiving communion.

  75. Jon:

    You are mistaken about McCain. He supports the destruction of embryonic children for the sake of “research.” That disqualifies him, it seems to me, as that is intrinsically evil.

    Regarding comparison between a politician who directly supports abortion (by his votes and policy decisions) and Pfleger, who supports a politician who supports abortion, you are confusing different degrees of cooperation with evil, and muddling “formal” and “material” cooperation. Are you unfamiliar with the Church’s principles on degrees of cooperation of evil, the distinction between formal and material cooperation, etc.? If you apply those long-established principles, the real difference between Obama and Pfleger, in that regard, is very clear. Or do you have a basis for asserting that Pfleger formally cooperates with abortion? If so, will you share that evidence?

    I did not “morally qualify” Pfleger, and I don’t appreciate the imputation of a view or position to me that is not present in what I said. I wrote it carefully, and asked (go check it) that it should be read carefully.

    Regarding homosexual marriage and Larry Craig, I never said they were the moral equivalent of abortion, and in fact — go read what I wrote — I acknowledged that different issues have different gravity. Again, I don’t appreciate you giving the suggestion I said something that I did not say, which is what you suggest when you seemingly respond to me, but respond to an argument I did not, in fact, make.

    But I will assert that “gay marriage” and being a crook are morally significant and therefore, cannot be ignored. I was asked to give an example of a dilemma, and I gave one: Larry Craig vs an otherwise upstanding, but pro-abortion candidate. And I say again, I have a hard time asserting that one is, quote, “morally obliged” to vote for Craig. Do you assert the opposite–that one would be, quote, “morally obliged” to vote for Craig in that instance?

    If I understand your argument, or your understanding of Torraco, one can never vote for a pro-abortion candidate, even if every candidate in the race is pro-abortion–in such an instance, you simply cannot vote for any of them.

    I actually tend to agree with that, and that’s how I vote, but I cannot say that is the only Catholic position. Catholic moral theology has allowed for alternate methods of reasoning in muddled areas, as this surely is. The U.S. bishops have not said that. You may think what you like of the bishops, but they are bishops and by that very fact, their authority to teach on this subject exceeds yours, mine, or Torraco’s. Can you cite any higher authority that says what Torraco says? Granted the quality of Torraco’s argument, that does not settle the matter.

    That said, by your argument, however, both Obama and McCain are disqualified, one cannot vote for either, under any circumstances–that is, unless you would hold that destroying babies via “research” is less evil than destroying them in abortion, which I very much doubt you do.

  76. Paul says:

    Well argued, Fr. Fox.

    To make an additional observation, I would assert that we must also distinguish between judging a candidate’s morality and making an estimation of his likely decisions. Cooperation with evil is cooperation with an evil *act*, not an evil person. You are perfectly free to “eat with sinners” – you just aren’t allowed to sin with them.

    So from my perspective, I don’t consider abortion to be much of an issue in most elections, simply because all candidates are equally pro-choice by the only standard that matters: abortion is 100% legal in this country, and no one who has run for any office in the past 40 years has done or intended to do a single thing to get it down even to 99% legal (and no, toothless parental consent laws don’t count), and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    So to take a hypothetical case of candidate A who mouths all the of pro-life bull we’ve heard again and again, but supports sodomite “marriage”, and candidate B who bathes in the blood of aborted babies every morning and (somehow credibly) intends to defend the sacrament of matrimony, I’ll take candidate B, thanks.

  77. Vianney33 says:

    Paul
    There have been significant gains made under the Bush administration in regards to life. Supreme Court justices, partial birth abortion bans, and the parental consent laws you mentioned. Of course, judicial activists have done their best to destroy these gains but this just shows judicial appointments by pro-life presidents to be even more important. In this election there is no need to look at these two issues hypothetically. Of the two main candidates, one is both pro-abortion and pro-gay marriage and the other is not. In fact, there can’t be too many politicians out there who fit your hypothetical mold.
    I do share your frustration though. It has been 35 years since the supreme court legalized human sacrifice in this country and the fight against this travesty has been long and arduous. But if we keep getting more and more bishops who are true shepherds and aren’t afraid to upset cafeteria Catholics with the truth, this will come to an end. It will take the unabashed truth, much prayer and our Lady’s intercession to end this. Pray, pray, pray.

  78. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I am not mistaken about McCain.

    McCain is far more pro-life than Obama; hence Fr. Pfleger is not morally justified in supporting Obama; hence it is not true that, as you wrote, “Father Pfleger is and always has been pro-life”.

    Yes, I have read (and studied) Church teaching on this matter, and the only way Fr. Pfleger or anyone else could morally support Obama over McCain were if Obama and McCain held identical positions on abortion. They don’t. McCain is far more pro-life.

    As Pope John Paul II wrote in Evangelium Vitae in relation to elected officials:

    “When it is not possible to overturn or completely abrogate a pro-abortion law, an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and morality. This does not in fact represent an illicit cooperation with an unjust law, but rather a legitimate and proper attempt to limit its evil aspects”.

    Applying this principle of Evangelium Vitae to a voter presented with the choice of Obama or McCain, one is morally obligated to “limit the harm done” and “limit [the] evil”. This means not supporting the more pro-abortion candidate; this means not supporting Obama over McCain; this means supporting Obama over McCain, as Fr. Pfleger has done, is not “pro-life”.

    Further, I am not “muddling” the distinction between formal cooperation in evil and material cooperation in evil. With all due respect, it is you who has raised this issue. I have focused only on the morality vel non of Fr. Pfleger’s – and any other voter’s – support of Obama. And, given the availability of far more pro-life candidates than Obama, for Fr. Pfleger or anyone lese to support Obama is morally indefensible.

    Finally, you write, “If I understand your argument, or your understanding of [Fr.] Torraco, one can never vote for a pro-abortion candidate, even if every candidate in the race is pro-abortion – in such an instance, you simply cannot vote for any of them”.

    Actually, Fr. Torraco, applying the teaching of Evangelium Vitae on elected officials to voters, writes that a voter, faced with candidates none of whom are completely pro-life, is to “vote for that candidate who will most likely limit the evils of abortion”. In other words, just as an elected official unable to completely abrogate abortion is morally obligated to limit the evils of abortion (Evangelium Vitae), so too is the voter, unable to completely abrogate abortion, morally obligated to limit the evils of abortion.

    In this regard, given their well know divergent positions on abortion, it is inconceivable that Obama is more likely to limit the evils of abortion than McCain. Hence, again, this means Fr. Pfleger’s – and anyone else’s – support of Obama is morally indefensible.

    Finally, as for the U.S. bishops, of course the bishops, individually, have teaching authority. However the USCCB itself is a mere association that has no ecclesiastic authority. Documents issued by the USCCB have force only if and to the extent adopted and implemented by a bishop in his particular diocese or if and to the extent approved by Rome. As Bishop Vasa of Oregon famously said when asked by a reporter whether he would comply with a document from the USCCB: “I answer to the Holy See, I don’t answer to the USCCB”. Likewise, I’ll take Evangelium Vitae from the Holy See over the recent gobbledygook voting guide issued by the USCCB, which is “nuanced” just so to appease everyone.

  79. Jrbrown says:

    Regarding the debates going on here between Fr. Fox and others, it is perhaps best done elsewhere, i.e., out of public view. There is a certain amount of imprecise language being used which seems to imply a rather simplistic approach to ‘bad candidates’ opposing each other in an election, where each has bad positions. THe Church’s moral teaching, and the common teaching of reilable moral theologians, without a doubt says there is a moral obligation to support good candidates over bad one’s, based on their positions on issues of great importance. In the last 40 years, there is no single greater issue than the life of unborn children, and candidates who support abortion on demand and a constitutional mandate to stop ANY limitations on abortion are about as bad as it gets. That is, of course, unless another candidate in the race, equally or almost equally pro abortion, is also pro gay marriage, or antagonistic towards the Church, etc. But to suggest, in any way, that an openly and dogmatic pro abortion candidate is no ‘bad’, requiring Catholics to oppose him unless the other candidate’s collective positions are even worse is absolutely against the tradition of moral teaching. Not just Torraco, a modern moral theologian, but without question the majority of ‘approved authors’. I would commend readers to look at Colin Donovan’s (who holds an STL from Gregorian University) commentary on voting that is found on the EWTN website. As Cardinal Ratzinger noted in his letter on denying Communion to bad politicians, the rght to life of innocent persons is sacred, and attacks thereon are NOT to be made morally equivalent (for purposes of evaluating politicians) with death penalty, taxes, environment, or other issues (I would add gay marriage, though he didn’t mention it).

  80. JrBrown:

    The origin of this “debate” may be obscure at this point, including to those involved. My purpose was to make careful distinctions about moral culpability on the part of someone who materially–but not formally–cooperates with evil, i.e., votes for a candidate who endorses intrinsic evil, such as legal abortion. I don’t agree with people doing that–i.e., Father Pfleger–but there have been some sweeping statements about his culpability in that matter that I think do not adequately reflect distinctions clearly and traditionally made in Catholic moral reasoning.

    Catholic teaching is crystal clear about the evil of abortion and that we as Catholics must act to change laws in this regard, and that we are bound to avoid cooperation, certainly formal and also material, with it, when we can. But sometimes material cooperation with evil cannot be easily avoided, and Catholic moral reasoning understands that.

    Thus, I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, so outweighs all other considerations that one is bound to vote for Candidate B, no matter how badly flawed, simply because he is better than Candidate A on the abortion issue. Exampel: if Larry Craig runs again, and is opposed by a pro-abortion candidate, I might vote for him (were I in Idaho), but I have a hard time insisting that Catholic moral reasoning says people have committed a sin who voted for the other guy, not because they agree with him on abortion, but because they have a legitimate concern about the other, grave problems of reelecting someone like Craig.

    Jon:

    I really don’t understand why you insist in attributing quotes to me that I did not utter. You quote me as saying, “Father Pfleger is and always has been pro-life.”

    I did not recall asserting that — because while I hope that is so, I do not, in fact, know it to be so. So I used the search feature to look for that phrase in the thread. I only found it in your latter comment. Once again, you are attributing views to me, so you can knock them down. Isn’t there a name for that form of argumentation? In any case, not appropriate.

  81. John F. says:

    The female “pastoral associate” today claims they don’t need a priest to administer the parish since they can celebrate Mass WITHOUT a priest.
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/falsani/989240,CST-NWS-fals05.article

  82. Matthew W. I. Dunn says:

    Fr. Pfleger’s parish has started a “Reinstate Our Pastor” campaign. They provide a link in order to contact the Cardinal-Archbishop of Chicago with support for Fr. Pfleger (see below).

    *NOT* too sure His Eminence will be pleased that they’re giving out his *private* office phone number. But, as the members of St. Sabina’s say below, it’s important to let Card. George know how we feel. So, let’s all call and FAX him to say: “Thanks!”

    Here’s what they say on St. Sabina’s website (http://a.saintsabina.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=80):

    *Call the Cardinal’s office as well as the office for the Archdiocese of Chicago to voice your support of Pastor Pfleger remaining here at Saint Sabina and your dissatisfaction with the Cardinal’s decision to temporarily remove the Pastor*. . . .

    *312-751-8230 – Cardinal’s Office Phone*
    *312-337-6379 – Cardinal’s Office Fax*
    *312-751-8200 – Archdiocese Office Phone*
    *vocations@archchicago.org*

    *It is important to let the Cardinal and Archdiocese know how we feel about this.*”

  83. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I did not attribute a false quote to you. On 4 June 2008 @ 8:26 you wrote that if Cardinal George had made the issue Fr. Pfleger’s support of pro-abortion Obama rather than Fr. Pfleger’s mocking of Hillary, there would be “lots of discussion about how Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife”.

  84. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I did not attribute a false quote to you. On 4 June 2008 @ 8:26 you wrote that if Cardinal George had made the issue Fr. Pfleger’s support of pro-abortion Obama rather than Fr. Pfleger’s mocking of Hillary, there would be “lots of discussion about how Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife”.

    As for your comment that “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, . . . outweighs all other considerations”, I heartily disagree. Catholic moral teaching is clear that the butchering of innocent children in the womb is, along with murder and euthanasia, a moral evil of the highest gravity that cannot be compromised to other issues. What you (and others such as Paul) seem to be advocating is the thoroughly discredited, heterodox “Seamless Garment” view of morality, which places the grave evil of abortion on the same level as other societal ills, such as war, poverty, racism, and even the death penalty. If so, well, that’s the philosophy that gets people like Kerry, Kennedy, and Giuliani up in the morning to receive Communion.

  85. Jon:

    Oh yes you did!

    Here is what I said:

    ‘To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then the following would likely ensue: lots of discussion about how Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife (fill in lots of argument), lots of discussion about all the good Pfleger and his parish have done that should count as “prolife” (fill in lots of argument), lots of protest about how unfair the accusation is, lots of discussion about Obama, lots of discussion about not understanding the black community, etc., etc., and who knows what else…and the central issue would quickly be lost, and a martyr would be born.’

    To anyone other than you, it is clear that what I am saying is (Jon, please read the next few words very slowly) what other people would say. I was saying that Pfleger’s advocates would say, “Pfleger is and always has been prolife.”

    That is entirely different from me, Father Martin Fox, resident of Piqua, Ohio, saying, for myself, representing my views, that “Pfleger is and always has been prolife.”

    When you quoted me, you omitted the qualifying content that makes that clear, and you did not provide any context. You certainly gave the impression that I had simply asserted, “Pfleger is and always has been prolife.”

    Now that is plainly dishonest.

    It’s quite clear to me that you are one of those people who seem to take sick pleasure in trying to play games of gotcha online, especially with clergy. Because you just love sniffing out and accusing them of being, as you suggest about me, “heterodox.”

    You are plainly not interested in what I am saying, you are intensely interested in playing your little game. No thanks. Consider this my last interaction with you online. We’re done.

  86. Readers:

    You might note that Jon’s post at 7:42 misquotes me, regarding what I said about Father Pfleger being prolife, at 8:02, this dishonest quoting of me is repeated, along with an additional quote, with very noteworthy omissions. I invite you to compare what Jon quoted there, with the post of mine, at 7:58 am. Very substantial content was conveniently left out by Jon, very much changing the meaning of what I actually said.

    Interesting…distort people’s statements in order to show they are, quote, “heterodox.”

  87. Readers:

    To be crystal clear–and you judge for yourselves–here is how I was quoted, followed by what I said, with the omitted words in bold. You decide for yourself if you think the statement after the editing means the same:

    “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, . . . outweighs all other considerations”

    Thus, I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, so outweighs all other considerations that one is bound to vote for Candidate B, no matter how badly flawed, simply because he is better than Candidate A on the abortion issue. Exampel: if Larry Craig runs again, and is opposed by a pro-abortion candidate, I might vote for him (were I in Idaho), but I have a hard time insisting that Catholic moral reasoning says people have committed a sin who voted for the other guy, not because they agree with him on abortion, but because they have a legitimate concern about the other, grave problems of reelecting someone like Craig.

  88. Jon says:

    Fr. Fox,

    First, I have been respectfully giving you (and still give you) the benefit of the doubt that you are indeed a “Fr.” On the Internet I don’t generally assume every “Fr.” is a “Fr.”, any more than I assume every Ph.D. is a Ph.D.

    Second, I stand by what I wrote. I have not been dishonest, and at no time did I misrepresent you. Sorry, but your statement, reproduced below, certainly does read – at least to me – as if you are saying Fr. Pfleger is pro-life:

    “To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then THE FOLLOWING WOULD LIKELY ENSUE: LOTS OF DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW FATHER PFLEGER IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN PROLIFE (fill in lots of argument), …”

    If you meant that Fr. Pfleger is NOT prolife, or that you don’t know whether Fr. Pfleger is prolife, then I just don’t see how I was supposed to discern that in your words.

    Third, it was for grammatical reasons that I omitted “so” from your statement, “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, so outweighs all other considerations”; were I trying to misrepresent you, as you accuse me, I would not have replace “so” with an ellipsis (“. . .”).

    Moreover, I see no material difference between “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, so outweighs all other considerations”, and “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, . . . outweighs all other considerations”. Both are wrong and, intended or not, at least appear to tread toward the “Seamless Garment” philosophy and away from the Church teaching that abortion outweighs all other considerations, “so” or otherwise.

  89. Patrick says:

    Jon,

    Clearly, you are wrong that abortion automatically outweighs all other issues. In the current political climate this is usually true as it is the fundamental issue of the day, but it may not always be so. A Catholic could support a pro-abortion candidate over a pro-life candidate if there was an additional (proportionately greater) issue at play.

    Also, if you are wondering about who Fr. Fox is, you could always click on the hyperlink on his name and check out his blog and his bio.

  90. Jordanes says:

    Fr. Fox said: if Larry Craig runs again, and is opposed by a pro-abortion candidate, I might vote for him (were I in Idaho), but I have a hard time insisting that Catholic moral reasoning says people have committed a sin who voted for the other guy

    Not disagreeing, but just to say that in that kind of a situation, I’d probably just stay home rather than try to make a choice between the evil of two lessers.

  91. Antiquarian says:

    Jon,

    Your quoted version is indeed a severe misrepresentation. Fr. Fox was justified in pointing that out.

  92. Jordanes:

    Thanks — I was asked for an example, and Craig seemed a pretty realistic one. And I agree with you, I doubt I would vote for the other candidate; but as I said, “I have a hard time insisting that Catholic moral reasoning says people have committed a sin who voted for the other guy.”

    Some label that “heterodox” in their game of “gotcha.”

  93. lurker says:

    Fr. Fox is a good priest and talented writer.
    It’s refreshing to see him take a bullet for the social teaching of the Church rather than the “vote anti-abortion” at all costs. This is a guy who’s unafraid to celebrate Mass ad orientem and seems to wear a collar frequently.
    Sort of hard to call that “wishy washy”.

    Our faith isn’t just inter-utero, it’s universal.

  94. Jbrown says:

    It is fairly obvious to objective observers that abortion, being the killing of innocent human life, is of paramount importance to all who believe in natural law, let alone Church doctrine on this issue. As Cardinal Ratzinger noted, a proportionately grave reason must be legitimately cited to support either a candidate or a law which supports the legal murder of babies. Thus, such proportionately grave reasons must at least equal if not outweigh the evil of abortion, and this is extremely difficult to cite in today’s context. I see very little acknowledgement of this so far in this ‘debate’, namely, the relative difficulty of finding a set of issues that outweigh abortion in their gravity. War in Iraq? Well, abortion has killed 50 million innocent American babies, the Iraq war has killed 4,000 US soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis. Welfare reform? That is not even a serious claim. Minimum wage? Environmental protection? Perhaps if you found EVERY single point of social teaching of the Church, other than abortion, opposed by one candidate, while the other was supportive except in abortion, an argument can be made. The pro-life candidate would have to be SO antagonistic towards social teachings that a vote for him would at least equal the evil of having a pro abortion candidate take office. Again, I see no acknowledgement of this in the discussion above. All I have seen is an ‘out’ for Fr. Pfleger and others to support radically pro abortion candidates who refer to babies as ‘punishment’ for unwed mothers, a sickening comment that is mindful of the worst that eugenics had to offer. So, maybe a bit of perspective here would be helpful? If a candidate’s position on abortion is so abhorrent that he is effectively excommunicated (per Cardinal Ratzinger) and is opposed by a candidate who CAN receive Communion, but has questionable other views, it would have to be a GRAVE reason to support the excommunicated, pro legal murder of babies candidate.

  95. Little Gal says:

    It was just reported that Fr. Pfleger will return to St. Sabina on 6/16 “with no restrictions.” As a Chicago Catholic,I have already expressed my concerns re: both Fr. Pfleger and the “parish” to Archbishop Perry and Cardinal George and would like to move higher. Can someone advise me who would be the next contact above the Cardinal? I would also appreciate an address and email. Thanks

  96. Patrick says:

    Little Gal,

    You could write to the Pope, but I don’t think you’d get anywhere. Write a nice non-complaining letter to Cardinal George, and pray for him. He knows what he’s doing.

  97. Jon says:

    ANTIQUARIAN,

    It is easy for you to SAY I misrepresented, but you fail to EXPLAIN how I did so.

    Once again I ask, how is the following NOT a representation that Fr. Pfleger is pro-life?

    Fr. Fox: “To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then the following would likely ensue: LOTS OF DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW FATHER PFLEGER IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN PROLIFE”.

    The meaning of that sentence is clear: If Cardinal George had made the issue Fr. Pfleger’s support of pro-abortion Obama, people would point out that Fr. Pfleger “is and always has been prolife”. That’s at least an implicit, if not explicit, representation that Fr. Pfleger is prolife; to suggest otherwise is Kafkaesque.

    PATRICK,

    It is you who “clearly” is wrong.

    Faced with two viable candidates with markedly different opinions on abortion, a Catholic is morally obligated to vote (if at all) for the candidate who will “limit the harm done” and “limit [the] evil” of abortion (cf. Evangelium Vitae).

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil, and as such the Catholic voter cannot vote for the more-pro-abortion candidate by citing issues that are not intrinsically evil, such as war, capital punishment, welfare, tax rates, etc.

    Further, your reach for “proportionate reasons” is entirely moot, as neither you nor anyone else here has been able to identify even one “proportionate reason” for supporting Obama.

    Indeed, what issue is there in the current political race that is “proportionate” to the butchering of 1,300,000 innocent babies in the womb each year in the U.S? None. That’s why you and others can give no more than lip service to “proportionate reasons”.

    As has been said: “What kind of reason would be needed to vote for a pro-abortion candidate for president? Something unimaginably huge”.

    LURKER wrote: “Our faith isn’t just inter-utero, it’s universal”.

    Don’t keep that slogan all to yourself, LURKER; the Democratic Party surely will pay you good money for it.

    Finally, JBROWN has it entirely right when he writes:

    “As Cardinal Ratzinger noted, a PROPORTIONATELY GRAVE REASON must be LEGITIMATELY CITED to SUPPORT EITHER A CANDIDATE OR A LAW WHICH SUPPORTS THE LEGAL MURDER OF BABIES. Thus, such proportionately grave reasons MUST AT LEAST EQUAL IF NOT OUTWEIGH THE EVIL OF ABORTION, and this is extremely difficult to cite in today’s context. I see very little acknowledgment of this so far in this ‘debate’, namely, the relative difficulty of finding a set of issues that outweigh abortion in their gravity.”

    Well said, JBROWN. Well said.

    As I noted, no one here has cited a single proportionate reason for supporting Obama and his baby killing party, much less a proportionate reason that outweighs the evil of 1,300,000 cut up babies per year.

    Alas, looking over these responses, one might get the feeling that some are more concerned with liturgy, which is a discipline, than with abortion, which is an intrinsic evil. Sad.

  98. Jon says:

    “Rev. Michael Pfleger is set to return June 16 . . . St. Sabina official says” [http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-pfleger-leave-09-jun09,0,5133808.story]

    Moral of the story: Support all the pro-baby-killing politicians you want, but don’t you dare say anything nasty about a Clinton.

  99. Patrick says:

    Jon wrote:

    “It is you who “clearly” is wrong.

    Faced with two viable candidates with markedly different opinions on abortion, a Catholic is morally obligated to vote (if at all) for the candidate who will “limit the harm done” and “limit [the] evil” of abortion (cf. Evangelium Vitae).

    Abortion is an intrinsic evil, and as such the Catholic voter cannot vote for the more-pro-abortion candidate by citing issues that are not intrinsically evil, such as war, capital punishment, welfare, tax rates, etc.

    Further, your reach for “proportionate reasons” is entirely moot, as neither you nor anyone else here has been able to identify even one “proportionate reason” for supporting Obama.

    Indeed, what issue is there in the current political race that is “proportionate” to the butchering of 1,300,000 innocent babies in the womb each year in the U.S? None. That’s why you and others can give no more than lip service to “proportionate reasons”.

    As has been said: “What kind of reason would be needed to vote for a pro-abortion candidate for president? Something unimaginably huge”.”

    Calm down, cowboy…nothing that I wrote disagrees with what you stated here. Go back and read what I said. I didn’t say that a proportionate reason existed for voting for Obama (because there isn’t one). And I never made a case for supporting Obama, so don’t say that I give “lip service” to the pro-life issue. You don’t know anything about me or how much I work for the pro-life movement.

    But it is incorrect to say that abortion outweighs everything at all times. In the current political climate, that is correct. However, in the future there could be other intrinsically evil acts that could overshadow abortion. For instance, what if there are two candidates one opposes abortion, one does not. However, the candidate who opposes abortion also believes that all people above the age of 65 should be euthanized, the pro-abortion candidate opposes this law. In that circumstance, one could morally vote for the pro-abortion candidate because a case could be made that a proportionate reason exists in the intrinsically evil position of euthanasia.

    Next time respond to what I write, and not what you imagine me to be saying.

  100. Jon says:

    Patrick,

    You wrote: “it is incorrect to say that abortion outweighs everything at all times. In the current political climate, that is correct.”

    Well, cowboy, I AM writing in “the current political climate”; so I am “correct”.

    Now, is it conceivable that circumstances could exist that would justify supporting a pro-abortion candidate over an opposing less-pro-abortion candidate? Yes, theoretically, if the opposing candidate had a policy that would result in equal or more deaths than abortion. You would then have a “proportionate reason” to support the pro-abortion candidate.

    But such a situation has never presented itself in the history of American presidential elections. Indeed, for it to present itself would require that a Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot run for the White House (or, as you say, someone who wants all people over 65 to be euthanized), for only guys in that league would be “proportionate” to the 10.4 million babies killed by abortion during an 8-year presidency.

    But not having ever presented itself, and not being present now, such situation really is not germane to the present election.

  101. Antiquarian says:

    Jon, Fr Fox himself has amply pointed out that your elliptical quotes are dishonest representations of his staements. You seemingly do not have the capability of understanding the difference between–

    “To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then the following would likely ensue: lots of discussion about how Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife (fill in lots of argument), lots of discussion about all the good Pfleger and his parish have done that should count as “prolife” (fill in lots of argument), lots of protest about how unfair the accusation is, lots of discussion about Obama, lots of discussion about not understanding the black community, etc., etc., and who knows what else…and the central issue would quickly be lost, and a martyr would be born.

    But Cardinal George has, instead, zeroed in on an issue that is still legitimate, but avoids, as much as possible, all that stuff.”

    – which is what Father Fox wrote, and–

    “Father Pfleger is and always has been prolife”

    – which is how you quoted him. Nor are you seemingly capable of recognizing the difference between–

    “Thus, I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, so outweighs all other considerations that one is bound to vote for Candidate B, no matter how badly flawed, simply because he is better than Candidate A on the abortion issue.”

    – which is what Father Fox said, and–

    “I do not think Catholic moral reasoning actually holds that the abortion issue, per se, . . . outweighs all other considerations”

    – which is how you egregiously misrepresented his statement.

  102. Jon says:

    Antiquarian,

    It is yo and the others here who are dishonest. You can quote Fr. Fox’s entire sentence, entire paragraph, and everytging

  103. Jon says:

    Antiquarian,

    It is you and others here who are being dishonest.

    You can quote Fr. Fox’s entire sentence, you can quote all of his posts, and you can even quote everything Fr. Fox has written on the Internet. But it does nothing to dispel the fact that the comment by Fr. Fox, intended or not by Fr. Fox, reads as a representation that Fr. Pfleger is prolife.

    I will indulge you and quote Fr. Fox’s entire sentence (now pay attention to the words in BOLD):

    “To make it about abortion would, in my judgment, be a mistake, because then THE FOLLOWING WOULD LIKELY ENSUE: LOTS OF DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW FATHER PFLEGER IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN PROLIFE (fill in lots of argument), lots of discussion about all the good Pfleger and his parish have done that should count as “prolife” (fill in lots of argument), LOTS OF PROTEST ABOUT HOW UNFAIR THE ACCUSATION IS, lots of discussion about Obama, lots of discussion about not understanding the black community, etc., etc., and who knows what else…and the central issue would quickly be lost, and a martyr would be born.”

    Clearly, quoting the remainder of the sentence after the first bolded “prolife” language does nothing to change the meaning of that first bolded “prolife” language. On the contrary, in further writing that there would be “LOTS OF PROTEST ABOUT HOW UNFAIR THE ACCUSATION IS”, Fr. Fox actually appears to REAFFIRM his earlier point that there will be “LOTS OF DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW FATHER PFLEGER IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN PROLIFE”.

    Indeed, that you and others here obstinately refuse to acknowledge that even a POSSIBLE reading of Fr. Fox’s sentence is that Fr. Pfleger is prolife betrays your dishonest intentions – for every person I have shown this quote to has interpreted it to mean that Fr. Pfleger is prolife.

    Alas, I do regret not quoting Fr. Fox’s sentence in full the first time. Not because the additional language changes the meaning of the “prolife” language I did quote (as demonstrated above the additional language actually reaffirms the “prolife” language), but because it has served to give quibblers a red herring with which to create a distraction from the point of discussion.

    Jon