Chicago priest: “Snuff” gun shop owner

Chicago priest: “Snuff” gun shop owner

A couple of days ago, I noted that a a Chicago Catholic church had hosted an appearance by hatemonger Louis Farrakhan, including some laudatory words by the pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger.

Now Pfleger finds himself in the news again with his public comments advocating that a gun shop owner and some legislators be “snuffed” out.

During a Rainbow/PUSH Coalition protest at Chuck’s Gun Shop & Range on Saturday, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina’s Church, threatened to “snuff” shop owner John Riggio.


Pfleger then turns his attention to Riggio. “He’s the owner of Chuck’s. John Riggio. R-i-g-g-i-o. We’re going to find you and snuff you out … you know you’re going to hide like a rat. You’re going to hide but like a rat we’re going to catch you and pull you out. We are not going to allow you to continue to hide when we’re here …”

“We’re going to keep coming back, and like Reverend Jackson says, it takes civil disobedience, if it takes whatever it takes … we’re going to snuff out John Riggio, we’re going to snuff out legislators that are voting … and we are coming for you because we are not going to sit idly. Keep on fighting, people. Keep on fighting, keep on fighting.”

On the face of it, the bald meaning of the word “snuff” is to kill. Was Pfleger calling for the murder of Riggio or state legislators? Probably not. But would every person at the rally, including every potentially unstable person, know that? Al Sharpton and the victims of the Freddy’s Fashion Mart killings know how inflammatory (no pun intended) language can have unintended consequences.

So assuming that Plfeger used some inadvisable speech, he’s still guilty of imprudence and of inciting others to acts of violence. The fact that he’s associating with known race-baiters, hoaxers, extortionists, and hatemongers should be a red flag. That he’s a Catholic priest and pastor in apparent good standing in Chicago is a scandal to all the faithful. I hope Cardinal George takes this seriously.

Technorati Tags: | | | |

  • Pfleger has long associated himself with the race-baiter types. I have no doubt that the man has a good heart, but somewhere along the line he missed the point: priests aren’t social activists. Their primary mission is the care of souls.

    Having met him on more than one occasion, I know Cardinal George takes this sort of thing seriously. But what a bind the great cardinal must be in: Pfleger is a Chicago media darling, a champion of the good fight (which is indeed a good fight, if not sorely and terribly misdirected), and he gets a pass on things like this just as Al Sharpton gets a pass on his stupidities.

    Sad, but true.

  • The sad thing is that Cardinal George seems powerless to do anything about it. Fr. Pfleger needs to be silenced, reassinged and St. Sabina’s needs to be thoroughly cleansed because judging from the parish site it’s not really Catholic anymore.

  • There is (or should be) a limit to this sort of behaviour.  Cardinal George should consider how many more embarrassments he will have to endure from this priest and others. St Sabina’s needs a holy, orthodox African-American priest, and Fr Pfleger needs a time-out.

  • Come on!  Context, my friends.
      Father Pfleger, for all his faults, is a pastor in an inner city, African-American neighborhood plagued by gun violence.  Undoubtedly, judging by the bars on the gun shop he alluded to, it’s a center for those who like to “snuff out” his parishioners.
      Perhaps there are a few mentally unstable types who might take the priest’s use of the same phrase literally.  But there are also a few nut cases who believe that God has called them to kill doctors who perform abortions.
      I wonder an abortion clinic moved into the neighborhood, whether Josh Miller would say, “priests aren’t social activists. Their primary mission is the care of souls.
      I too pastor in a city where guns deaths probably outnumber abortions on certain nights.
      Should I stay in my rectory until I can find more respectable coalition partners to get guns off the street?

  • Fr. Pfleger has been giving scandal for years, primarily by extolling pro-abortion public figures and letting them speak from the pulpit.

    If I’m not mistaken, he once threatened to leave the Church if the cardinal transferred him to another parish.

    Still, Fr. Pfleger can do and say what he pleases, or so it seems.

    Yet there have been cases in which orthodox priests have been exiled for highly dubious reasons.

    It’s a shame.

  • “Undoubtedly, judging by the bars on the gun shop he alluded to, it’s a center for those who like to “snuff out” his parishioners.”

    Sorry Father, but… what?  Don’t know how much experience you have with the sort of folks who actively go out and shoot other people, either pour le sport or to rob/rape/murder their victim, but these folk do not buy their toys from federally licensed dealers.  They buy them from their buddy on the corner who just took a Browning high-power in trade for $20 worth of crack.

    If he is mad at the gun dealer for any reason, it might be for “straw purchases,” where a “legal” buyer comes in and buys a gun, then gives it to the guy who gave him the money to buy it.  That is illegal.  But the gun store isn’t going to know about it, unless the buyer is a total idiot, and I have seen a few straw buys get nixed because the store owner caught on.

    This is a race-baiting skit from the word go, with a gun store the target.  An easy target, in this day and age.  Take away the guns, and everything will be all better.  Everyone will live happily ever after.  Whatever.

  • I called the Chicago archdiocese today and spoke with their PR man.
    The Cardinal was made aware of it “after the fact”,(indeed).
    No partiular interest in the incident was expressed and he was not certain a statement would be made by the CardinalArchBishop. 
    This priest is a shameless disgrace, someone with way too much time on his hands.  His embarrassments to the Cardinal and Church are not over yet, not by a long shot.  But the Diocese and Cardinal George have not the spine to confront this guy.  Pathetic.

  • “…but these folk do not buy their toys from federally licensed dealers.”

    To the point exactly.  Father Pfleger is a grandstanding perpetuator of cheap and easy racism and a pal of Farrakhan and Sharpton.  He uses Christianity like Jesse Jackson—as a hook to hang his own hat upon.  And Saint Sabina’s is his own little castle.

    These guys have really set back the inner city communities for decades now, and are all part and parcel of the Democratic Party machine that functions like Brezhnev did in the 1970s Moscow or Mussolini in 1938 Rome.  They have crafted a myth that 1967 lives on forever if not for their great courage at manipulating the very willing and tepid Chicago media.

    What Pfleger did (again) is reprehensible.  The gun dealer operates legally and within the provisions of the US Constitution.  It’s no secret that Mayor Daley has been on a nearly hysteric rampage against 2nd Amendment provisions while keeping the City of Chicago on his own tight leash—that brooks no opposition of any strength.

    It’s time for the Cardinal to act.  In only one month, we now have an announcement upcoming gay fest at DePaul University (Catholic home of queer studies), a Mercy Home luncheon appearance by the Abortion supporter, Senator Clinton, and now another dangerous outburst by Fr. Pfleger.  And the chancery is quiet as usual.

  • Fr. Bill,

    “Should I stay in my rectory until I can find more respectable coalition partners to get guns off the street?”

    Yes, the ends do not justify the means. It is one of the foundations of the Catechism. 

    Catholicism must trump political campaigning if we are to thrive as a Church, rather than an adjunct of a political party.