Father Michael Pfleger is said to be “shocked” by the news that he was suspended from his ministry at St. Sabina Catholic Church by Cardinal Francis George on Wednesday. Pfleger has been the pastor at St. Sabina Church on Chicago’s South Side for more than 30 years.
He recently rejected the Catholic Church’s offer to head Leo High School in the same neighborhood as his parish.
On Wednesday, Cardinal George wrote a letter to Pfleger that was also released to the media, stating that Pfleger’s public remarks that he would leave the Catholic Church rather than accept an assignment outside of St. Sabina led to his decision.
“If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” George wrote.
On Thursday, St. Sabina parishioners boarded buses and headed north to protest the removal of their pastor, in front of Cardinal George’s Lincoln Park mansion, 1555 N. State Pkwy.
St. Sabina Parish Council leader Isadore Glover Jr. read a statement at a news conference outside the mansion.
“The leadership of St. Sabina is very upset and deeply concerned about the suspension of Father Pfleger and is requesting that his suspension be lifted immediately,” read Glover.
When asked how Pfleger is reacting to the news, Glover told reporters, “He is not feeling well at this time, I can tell you that.”
Robert McClory, Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University and author of a biography about Father Pfleger called Radical Disciple, will join us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm, along with Barbara Blaine from Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and Mary Anne Hackett, President & CEO of Catholic Citizens of Illinois.
Cardinal George has not made additional comments since issuing his letter to Pfleger. He was set to fly to Rome Thursday afternoon for celebrations and ceremonies surrounding the beatification of Pope John Paul II this weekend.
To read transcripts of Father Pfleger’s public remarks on the Smiley & West radio show, click here.
To see a timeline of Father Pfleger’s tenure at St. Sabina Church, click here.
What are your thoughts on Father Pfleger’s suspension and Pope John Paul II’s beatification? Post your comments below or sound off on our discussion board!