Pfleger Confirms Cardinal Wants Him To Move To Leo H.S.

Updated 3/18/2011 at 4:45 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Rev. Michael Pfleger, the outspoken and controversial pastor of St. Sabina church, confirmed Friday that Cardinal Francis George wants him to leave his parish after nearly 30 years to head up nearby Leo High School.

“It’s obvious at this point that I have been asked to move,” Pfleger said at an anti-violence rally at the Daley Center on Friday.

“All I can say is that I’ve written a response on what the cardinal’s requests were and I’m turning it over to him and I leave it up to the cardinal at this point,” Pfleger added, saying he’s still waiting to hear back from the Archdiocese.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports

Sources had told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine earlier this week that Pfleger had been asked to make the move, but until Friday, Pfleger had declined to confirm or deny anything.

Several Howard University students organized Friday’s rally at the Daley Center with Pfleger. The group has been staying at St. Sabina during their spring break.

The event was intended to be a student demonstration about controlling assault weapons — a key issue for activist Pfleger — but it became a show of support for the priest they called their mentor.  Rally coordinator Melech Thomas said he and the other Howard University students are deeply saddened that Pfleger might be moved.

“Here’s a man that has sought to do justice, to love mercy and walk humbly with God,” Thomas said.

Pfleger has been at St. Sabina since 1981, which is far longer than priests are normally permitted to stay in one parish. Sources close to Pfleger say he may have suggested a compromise — taking over the presidency of Leo High School as the Cardinal requested but remaining at St. Sabina, Levine reports. There is no indication the cardinal would accept that compromise.

Members of St. Sabina have protested the possible move for Pfleger.

“He’s a wonderful pastor,” St. Sabina parishoner Marguerite Dawson said Thursday. “He’s really changed my life since he’s been here. I don’t want to get emotional. I just can’t imagine St. Sabina without him.”

In a statement released Thursday, the leaders of the St. Sabina Faith Community said they realize Pfleger will not serve as pastor of the church forever, but they still think it’s a bad move to take him away right now.

“Considering the current state of the economy, we believe that removing him at this time would be devastating to both our parish and the Auburn-Gresham community,” the statement said. “We also know that it is Father Pfleger’s desire to remain as pastor of Saint Sabina. Further, we feel that as leadership we should be granted the respect of being involved in any process of succession planning for the future of our parish.”

The superintendent of Catholic Schools has said that the cardinal does not comment on private discussions with priests, but said Pfleger “would bring much to the ministry of Leo High School” if he joined the staff there.

  • Chana

    I think that this is a major injustice for Fr. Pfleger to be moved from St. Sabina’s. Who does Cardinal George think he is? This is about a shepherd caring for his sheep and the congregants of St. Sabina’s are being served. When was Cardinal George last ministering in a parish? Fr. Pfleger should stay where he is and Cardinal George should just keep quiet in his golden palace.

    • gee-reg

      Chana you are a GOOF !!!!! The Cardinal knows he is the Cardinal. If he says one of the priests that work for him it’s time to move on then you move on. Look beyong your ghetta mind and look at thw way life is. Everyone in his parish always cries and complains when a white person kills a black but they always ignore the hundreds of times each year that balcks kill blacks,

      • Ed. Erhart

        Hi,I am a white man , who grew up in St. Sabina and the ajoining Leo parish!! I graduated from St.Sabina and Leo high school,and then went on to college as did my friends! Some had athletic scholastic schlorships! St.Sabinas had dances for young people on Sundays,many church functions you probably don’t have! They were well organized,because the parents cared about the children they brought into the world! My,experiences in these parishes was in the 40’s,50’s and 60’s! People could walk freely at all hours of the night! If,some eightball did something wrong everyone ew about it and where to find the person! In,other words there was a community that was cared for by the occupents and other people should respect it! I don’t know,where Fr.Pfleger came from or who his clout is in the church or in Chicago, but he has found a home and he wants to keep it! All,diosean are suppose to rotate every 3-4 yrs! Why, he hasn’t is the a question that should have been addressed 10 times since he has been there! The city does’t want him to go because of the unrest that will begin when he is gone! The catholic churches opinion is , are we taking in money while he is there! It, comes down to politics in the city and church! Someone, should have told the previous Pope and Fr.Pflerger would have been transferred to do missionary work somewhere! Priests,canbecome corrupt as any othe individual,if given the right crcunstances! Get him off the pedestle and run a backup check on him from a pre-seminary entrance to the present! Take an evaluation of what this man has done and failed to do for the parish,then as a parish community let the cardinal know before he retires at age 75(which will be in a year) Thanks, In God We Trust!!!

    • Philip J. Wayne

      Don’t agree with you….obedience and humility should be characteristics of a follower of Christ and a Pastor. Thirty years is too long. Pfleger has cult status at St. Sabina’s and that is dangerous.

  • Is that you Jim Jones?

    Drink the kool-aid.

  • Annie

    Oh this is great. We love father Fhleger to come to our school. We are so sure he will gives insight into what really means to help people who are disadvantaged and iignored by the rest of society.
    God bless this wonderful pastor. We are so sure God is leading his way to help students of all sorts of life right here iat Leo.
    All things work together for good…. say the Bible. If you follow Gods will everything will be OK

  • Mike Fangman

    I didn’t know Leo High School was still open.

    • Brian Earner

      That shows your ignorance. Leo is alive and well with the support of a dedicated and generous alumni who care deeply about their school. Rumors have swirled for thirty years that Leo was closing and Leo consistently proved them to be false. Leo is doing just fine without Father Pfleger. He would do more harm than good. Dan McGrath, the current president, is leading the school in the right direction and should be given the chance to prove himself. The Cardinal is out of touch and doesn’t have a clue as to what goes on at Leo.

  • Tommy

    Pfleger is like the anti-Christ. Anyway, what do assault weapons have to do with the homicides in Chicago or anywhere in the United States? Just where do you see anyone walking around with an “assault weapon”? Hahahaha, what a bunch of lost, ignorant sheep…the number of homicides due to assault weapons in the United States is probably less than 100 per year, unless you live on the Mexican border where the drug runners are located and at war! People, an assault weapon, is typically a rifle, which looks like an AK47, M16 or M4, and fires ONE shot at a time. Handguns are the weapon of choice in the ghetto, where 99% of all of the homicides take place.

    • Grace

      Clearly you are unaware of what truly plagues the city… AK47’s are ALL over the streets of Chicago. The worst part about it is that most of the owners of these weapons are between the ages of 15 and 28. Do research before you comment on the ‘ghetto’ and how things operate there.

    • Mr. Justice

      I agree with you Tommy. This priest just wants attention. He also stated that having Conceal Carry in Illinois would cause more children to be killed. What An Idiot! The people that would have a CCW, would have had been checked out by the FBI. I have a Utah non resident CCW, and guess what, I have not shot anyone. The man needs to go away. His Verbal Vomit is very very tiring.


    Of this media w h o r e !!!!!! All Pfleger wants to do is lay blame anywhere & everywhere EXCEPT with it really belongs…………………….squarely on the shoulders of the black community!!!

  • Philip J. Wayne

    I think Father Pfleger needs to follow the rules of every pastor in this city….Pastors serve a limited term and move on….thirty years is too long and St. Sabina’s will survive without him. I have been to this parish many times and his position in this Church borders on moving into a cult status. Christ is to be the center not Michael Pfleger and obedience to the head of the Church here needs to be followed. Pfleger knows very little about humility and obedience…his license plate is PFLEGER…that tells you who he is…..time to go.

  • Mim Rose

    Father Pfleger leads not just a church but a ministry to end violence in a part of the nation where violence levels exceed some third world countries. He has been successful in evangelizing the message in that the media attention on this travesty has increased–though there still is not enough attention on it to resolve the underlying problems. We hear more about Darfur than we hear about Chicago, and there should be media attention on Darfur, but also on Chicago, Detroit, LA and other urban areas in crisis. Only celebrities get heard in our culture, and therefore he has wisely capitalized upon a certain amount of news notoriety in order to get the mission of ending the violence accomplished. This is not about Father Pfleger promoting himself, it is about name recognition to get a mission accomplished. If moving him to another parish gets him more news notoriety, then perhaps it will help him accomplish the mission. However, I feel that it is an unwise move on the part of the Diocese to place him in a ministry that is a school only–and it makes the statement that he is valued as an educator but not as a priest. He is a great priest and I feel he should be honored and recognized as such. If the diocese fails to recognize this, his own community will not fail to recognize what he has to offer as a spiritual counselor and leader of worship and prayer.

  • Catholics Reflect On Cardinal George’s Potential Retirement « CBS Chicago

    […] (CBS) – Father Michael Pfleger says he’s been asked to move by Francis Cardinal George. But now it’s Cardinal George’s future that may be in […]

  • MzPATM

    Father Pfleger I pray will remain at St. Sabina. We want him, We need him above all WE LOVE HIM.

  • Linda Miller

    Think about it for a minute. Michael Pfleger can be on TV every night now from Leo High School. Since he has such a huge following he can have all of the students who went to St. Sabina attend Leo. He can have Leo changed from an all boys school to a co-ed school and enrollment will increase.

    The bottom line is Michael Pfleger when your boss asks you to do something you do it. It doesn’t mean when your boss asks you do to something you cry and ask your friends to throw a temper tantrum so you can get your way.

    As was stated by a member of St. Sabina last week…St Sabina is an African-American parish and we all come together as one. That is right and the African American parish will have an African -American pastor very soon.

    Others stated they don’t know how they will go on without Fr. Pfleger. Well if Fr. Pfleger died what would you do ? You need to grow up and move on with your life and so does Michael Pfleger.

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