What does it mean to be a voice of conscience?
November 11, 2010

What does it mean to be a voice of conscience?

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Joanne Gurion : January 05, 2013 08:04 pm
Just watched the video. Grew up on the NW side of Chicago in the sixties, went to Catholic grammar school and HS, educated by the good Franciscan and Benedictine women. Was confused by the mixed messages I heard. The teachings of Jesus did not coincide with the attitude of the Church. I was involved in a small community group who used to help out at Precious Blood Parish. I felt guilty because I felt so much more comfortable there than I did in my own parish. I loved the joyful services and the welcoming attitude. The happiness I felt in those days came from Mass but so much more so from the interaction I had with the people I was fortunate enough to serve. Eventually life changed. I married a wonderful Jewish man. (Have always been a rebel) We had 4 kids. We moved to the NW burbs because the schools were so much better. I struggled with my faith. As a woman I felt beaten down and disrespected by the hierarchy of the Church. They wanted to control my body and my mind. That was not acceptable. The hopeful changes of the Eccumenical Council vanished and it seemed to me a very dark period of time. The people I met in my faith community said all the right things. There were many good people but I could not understand how they could blindly accept the archaic, controlling attitude of the Church hierarchy in regards to very important issues. As I learned more about the history of the Church since the time of Christ, I felt like it had grown so far away from the way Jesus lived his life, his message to us on how to live. Many of the rules and regulations seemed to come about from political and monetary gain and the need to control. It seemed to me that the most direct message from Christ, to love God and to love our neighbor, was being overshadowed by them. I began to feel like a hypocrite being Catholic. I felt alone and unworthy. I tried to abandon my faith and sought out other more simple ways like Zen. Something kept calling me however whenever I tried to completely separate myself from the Church I loved. I tried REALLY hard not to listen but the spirit was always there, in spite of myself. During that period of time I began paying particular attention to Fr. Pfleger. He stood up for many things I felt passionate about. I'd admired him before, but began to really be inspired watching him speak his mind to the Cardinal! I loved seeing him living his faith! He said Mass and gave a great homily but he adopted children! He did things no one else would dare do. I began to look further into his ministry. His courage and refusal to back down renewed my own faith. I was reminded that I must follow my own conscience. I must live what I believe. I'd always seen my stubbornness as a negative. I had to rethink that one. I was reminded that it wasn't going to Church that made me happiest. It was my interaction with the people of the Church, the living Church. I mean no disrespect to those that stress the importance of the mass but I LOVE the analogy of the huddle. I agree that it's what happens later that counts. We have to take the message and live it. That was overwhelming to me at first. I still struggle with feelings of unworthiness. I must continually remind myself to find a quiet place and listen to what's coming from within. To me it's my conscience, the voice of God, allowing me to listen or to choose not to. It takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Sometimes it's still overwhelming. I am a shy person. When I listen though, somehow I find ways of doing things I hadn't thought about. I guess that's what faith is. Going full circle, I feel more of the hopefulness and trust in God that I felt as a child, not over thinking, just doing. Fr. Phleger is indeed a good "errand boy" but in addition to that, a good human being. His powerful prescence sometimes makes me ask myself, how could I do anything even close to that? But I have learned to listen to that feeling inside and trust that I will find my own way and it is working. I am grateful.
Jos : June 25, 2012 12:14 pm
The unique gift God has bestowed on man and woman is to follow the conscience and lead a life worthy of His Parenthood.
Ricardo Bailey : May 19, 2012 01:49 am
This man, this priest, this father, this activist, this apostle, this Christian has hit the nail on the head on every issue. Many people and clergy don't like him because they are afraid to say and do what he says and does. Discipleship costs! Plain & simple! Thank you Father for all you have done, but most importantly, what you have empowered your companions on the journey to do as well!
Kevin : February 09, 2011 07:35 pm
It's interesting that he almost discredits going to church because he basically states that what we do outside of church is so much more important, I wonder if the church would ever change to a point where going to mass lost its importance.
ROSARIO C.TOTENGCO : January 18, 2011 07:29 am
I believe it is doing what you want to do knowing in your heart and mind that is what the Almighty expect us to do ,without fear of the what the repercussions "will be"because the Holy Spirit is guiding us all the way.I usually pray a lot before i do anything, wait a while for the Holy Spirit to whisper to me the "GO" signal a give me signs of approval from the "HIGHEST", the GOD.
Deborah McCoy : January 04, 2011 06:54 am
I used to explain that I don't go to church to "escape," I go to be "fortified for the struggle." Your analogy of "the huddle" is absolutely perfect. Thank you for your commitment and perseverance. Though I am not Catholic I love visiting your church.
Kait : December 22, 2010 09:46 am
Thank you Father. I've felt abandoned by Rome for at least forty years now, and sometimes even sitting in church I feel that my neighbors wouldn't want to shake my hand in peace if they knew who I really am--the big mouth who is compelled to speak out. I don't have a lot of resources, but I do have a voice and a conscience, and the echo of all those nuns telling me that I have a backbone too. I'm fortunate that my parents always not only believed in me, but insisted that I remain true to my convictions. My friends may shake their heads, but even they still haven't given up on me. You're working on entitlement, my next task is to take on "elite." It's a word just about done to death, thank God, except that the real elite, like the real treasure of the church, are all of us in the huddle, then sent out to schools and offices, and hospitals and wars and parenthood . . . Thanks for teaching us.
Fr. Michal : December 20, 2010 07:48 am
Fr. Pfleger does a great job in Chicago. We need more ministers/priests like this guy. He is not afraid, this is what is great and attractive in him.
Rev. Gamez : December 17, 2010 06:46 am
"Christ gave us the best model for ministry in the world." Amen Rev. Father Pfleger. Receive the bread of Life in the Holy Mass and then go out to the world to feed others.
Kim Youn : November 30, 2010 07:37 pm
I cannot view the video...but so true about the banner...
Carollina Song : November 14, 2010 09:53 pm
Michael Pfleger is a moral giant. I love that shot of the banner that says, "Discipleship costs."
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