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Cardinal: Priest to stay out of politics

May 30, 2008 at 5:12 PM
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CHICAGO, May 30 (UPI) -- Chicago's cardinal Friday said the priest and Barack Obama supporter who derided Sen. Hillary Clinton won't "mention any candidate by name" from now on.

In a statement, Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis George said the Rev. Michael Pfleger "has promised me that he will not enter into campaigning. (He) will not publicly mention any candidate by name," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Speaking Sunday as a guest minister at Trinity United Church of Christ, of which the U.S. senator is a member, Pfleger mocked Obama's competitor for the Democratic presidential nomination. His remarks were posted on the YouTube Internet Web site.

George said Pfleger's remarks about Clinton "are both partisan and amount to a personal attack."

For a second time, Obama had to distance himself from remarks made in the pulpit of his church. He earlier denounced racially charged remarks made by the church's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see ... ," Obama said in a statement.

Pfleger, a friend of Obama's and Wright's, apologized for his remarks in a statement.

Clinton's campaign condemned Pfleger's remarks.

"Divisive and hateful language like that is totally counterproductive in our efforts to bring our party together and have no place at the pulpit or in our politics," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told the Tribune Pfleger "went overboard" in his comments and that his remarks did not promote constructive dialogue on race.

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