Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich is on clean-up duty after one of his priests, Fr. Michael Pfleger, invited infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan to speak from the pulpit of St. Sabina Church.
Earlier this month, when Facebook banned controversial figures like right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Farrakhan, Pfleger took to Twitter to express support for “my brother,” referring to the Nation of Islam leader.
He then rebuked those who have described Farrakhan, a serial anti-Semite, a misogynist, and a racist, as a “hater.”
During his speech last Thursday, according to a report from CNN, Farrakhan suggested Judaism has promoted pedophilia, claimed Jewish people don’t like him because he “exposes their hatred of Jesus,” and revealed he’s on a holy mission to “separate the good Jews from the Satanic Jews.”
Here are photos and a video from the speech at the Catholic church:
Despite being a minister of a religion — Christianity — whose savior, Jesus, is a Jew and whose chosen people are Jewish, Pfleger apparently saw no issue with the invitation he extended to Farrakhan.
The Catholic priest even described himself as “a defender of free speech.”
What’s the response?
Cupich said late Friday that Pfleger invited Farrakhan “without consulting me.” The cardinal said Farrakhan’s comments “shock the conscience,” adding, “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.”
“Anti-Semitic rhetoric — discriminatory invective of any kind — has no place in American public life, let alone in a Catholic church,” Cupich said. “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.”
And the Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on the Archdiocese of Chicago to remove Pfleger.
“No leader in the Catholic church, not in Chicago, not in the Vatican can be surprised that Louis Farrakhan has been a leading purveyor of Jew hatred. How is it that he was invited to use a prominent Catholic church to denounce ‘satanic Jews’ from the pulpit?” asked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the center.