good for the Cardinal
I’m not Catholic but do Cardinals do this sorta thing with Vatican approval?
He’s the Archbishop of Chicago, so he has a lot of autonomy with regards to the priests in his archdiocese.
wardaddy, I would not be surprised if this came directly from B16.
Short, general answer: no.
Archbishop George of Chicago is a cardinal — a distinction that identifies him as a key priest of the diocese of Rome — because he has received that personal distinction from the Pope. As cardinal his chief right under canon law is to serve as an elector at papal conclaves that elect popes (till he reaches the age of 80). This is all distinct from his authority as Archbishop of Chicago, which places all of that diocese’s clergy and property under his power. As Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George rules his local church, including Fr. Pfleger (in theory, anyway). Every diocesan priest makes a promise of obediance to his bishop and his successors at the time of his ordination.
They can do it without Vatican approval or knowledge.
The rights and duties of bishops and priests are set out in Canon Law, so bishops can't act in an absolutely dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, all the Diocesan priests are answerable directly to the Bishop, and if Cardinal George wants to forbid Pfleger to preach or publish, if he wants to require him to keep silent, if he wants to reassign him to St. Dilbert's in Mudflats, IL, or leave him without assignment altogether, it's perfectly within his power to do so.
There's no canonical pretext for the Pope to get involved, nor should he. He's the Bishop of Rome, not Chicago.
This is called the Ratzinger effect. The pope’s visit to the USA was a triumph, and he revealed himself to the public as the opposite of the Panzenkardinal , that the cardinals are doing what they declined to do: Listen to Josef Ratzinger, the anti-liberal.
Do note that the pope does not just snap his fingers and the clergy jumps. It has taken him years to make clear what he wants, what he will tolerate and what he will not. The liberals hated the fact of his election; they hoped that he would died, since he has a history of ill-health. But, God be praised. Benedict XVI is spryer than Ratzinger was ten years ago. He is a gentle, soft-spoken, retiring scholar, and he asked several times to leave Rome so he could write books. But he saw how his friend John Paul II was struggling and decided that he could not desert him. He was positively inspited by John Paul. I was amazed how fiery he was at John Paul’s funeral. The man we saw on TV was that man. He likes being pope, and I think that if you had asked him ten years ago if he wanted the job, he would have said no,no,no,never. Thank God for men who do not want power but yield to God’s call. Amen.