Cupich denounces pastor’s decision to host Nation of Islam leader

Chicago, Ill., May 11, 2019 / 02:20 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago is distancing himself from the decision of a pastor who invited controversial preacher Louis Farrakhan to speak at his parish, saying that he was not consulted before Farrakhan’s talk.

“Antisemitic rhetoric — discriminatory invective of any kind — has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church,” Cupich said in a May 10 statement.

Farrakhan, 86, is the founder of the Chicago-based group Nation of Islam and has a history of anti-Semitic preaching.

“I’m here to separate the good Jews from the satanic Jews,” Farrakhan said at one point during the talk.

“I have not said one word of hate. I do not hate Jewish people. Not one that is with me has ever committed a crime against the Jewish people, black people, white people. As long as you don’t attack us, we won’t bother you.”

Fr. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, invited Farrakhan in response to Facebook’s decision May 2 to ban him from its platforms, due to Farrakhan’s violations of the site’s policies regarding “hate speech.” St. Sabina is a predominantly African American parish in Chicago’s South Side.

The Archdiocese had released a statement May 9 reiterating that the event was not sponsored by the archdiocese.

“Minister Farrakhan could have taken the opportunity to deliver a unifying message of God’s love for all his children. Instead, he repeatedly smeared the Jewish people, using a combination of thinly veiled discriminatory rhetoric and outright slander,” Cupich said.

“He referred to Jewish people as ‘satanic,’ asserting that he was sent by God to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘satanic Jews,’” Cupich noted.

”Such statements shock the conscience. People of faith are called to live as signs of God’s love for the whole human family, not to demonize any of its members…I apologize to my Jewish brothers and sisters, whose friendship I treasure, from whom I learn so much, and whose covenant with God remains eternal.”

The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center has reportedly extended an invitation to Pfleger to meet with their leadership and dialogue with survivors. Cupich encouraged the priest to accept the invitation.

This is reportedly not the first time Plfeger has hosted Farrakhan to speak at his parish, and also not the first time the archdiocese has had to walk back controversial comments by the priest. In 2008, the late Cardinal Francis George had to publicly respond to comments Pfleger made deriding Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton and advocating the candidacy of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

In addition, George suspended Pfleger from his ministry at St. Sabina in 2011 and barred him from celebrating the sacraments because of public statements Pfleger had made, the Chicago Sun Times reports. Pfleger reportedly threatened to leave the priesthood unless George relented.

“He said there were good Jews and there are bad Jews, true. There are good Catholics and bad Catholics,” Pfleger told ABC7 news regarding Farrakhan’s talk.

“I’m doing what I believe the Gospel calls me to do and continue to try and bring people together and try to speak truth.”

Pfleger said he has known Farrakhan for 30 years and embraced him after the talk. Pfleger has said that Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam are respected locally for their anti-violence and anti-drug campaigns, CNN reports.

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  1. For once, Cardinal Cupich is right. Farrakhan is a racist and an antisemite and allowing to speak in a house of Our Lord is sacrilege. If he had been a white racist and antisemite nobody would give him the opportunity to speak to anyone (and rightly so). So why the double standard.

    As for Pfleger, he should leave the priesthood as he allegedly threatened to do years ago.

  2. “Pfleger reportedly threatened to leave the priesthood unless George relented.”

    That would have been small loss.

  3. Standing back from the current issue, questions also has been raised in the past about participation and topics in the USCCB dialogue with Islamic organizations.

    Possibly out of date today (?), in 2014 Robert Reilly produced the monograph, “The Prospects and Perils of Catholic-Muslim Dialogue,” where he thoroughly documented the case that “Catholic-Muslim dialogue in the United States requires a major reevaluation in terms of the organizations involved, the personnel participating, and the substance addressed.”

    He argued, in part, that the dialogue had thusfar leaned too much toward the most activist and even problematic Muslim groups who make themselves available(Participants in the 2000-2011 Dialogue were listed in an Addendum.)

    At the time I noted this key point, and offered a broad review of several dialogue points also very capably raised in the monograph:

  4. Pfleger is on his very non-Catholic mission. He got a slap on the wrist from his Cardinal. So what? Pfleger’s loyalty is absolutely with the far left. He is unconcerned with what any bishop says. He is in a protected class. Bet on it.

  5. It’s difficult to comprehend the spiritual darkness present in the heart of an ordained priest who associates with and gives speaking platforms to career bigots, racists, and anti-semites like Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Hussein & Michelle Obama. “By their fruits you will know them.” Pfleger represents the worst elements of baby boomer priests who came of age in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and never left those decades in the dustbin of history where they belong. Hiding behind a veneer of Catholicism, these Marxist-inspired false shepherds exchanged redemption for social revolution and rejected the interior castle in hopes of ushering in a materialistic, ego-driven utopia. They abandoned bridge building in order to sow discord and division. And worst of all, they have forsaken the clear, uncompromising declaration of truth in favor of manipulative lies and progressive platitudes. May God, in His mercy, save His Church from “the church.”

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