Walter’s Perspective: Let Father Pfleger Stay Put

CHICAGO (CBS) — Father Pfleger ought not to be up in the air, I don’t think.

St. Sabina doesn’t think so, either. Nor do Father Pfleger’s parishioners or his neighbors or the owners of the shops on 79th Street — or the police or the public schools.

In fact, it seems that a big part of the South Side of Chicago doesn’t think Father Pfleger ought to be up in the air, not until he’s assigned to a perfect parish in heaven.

Most everybody who’s ever had anything to do with Pfleger thinks he ought to be right where he is, in St. Sabina, forever, to continue what he’s been doing for a quarter of a century: looking out for the largest African-American parish in the city, likely the only African-American parish that doesn’t need to be subsidized by the Archdiocese.

We reporters know him for leading his flock against gangbanger-violence and cigarette billboards near the schools, and against the merchants who sell liquor to children.

So why does Cardinal George want him out of St. Sabina? I called the Archdiocese to ask, and was told just one thing: no comment.

I say Cardinal George ought to ask Father Pfleger to please stay at St. Sabina — and then kneel and pray that he does.

  • Vivian


    • Lady Patricia Butler


      Fr. has been and is a catalyst in the lives of people not only in Chicago but around the country. He feeds the spirit, soul, and mind. He is a man’s man filled with the Holy Spirit. He is not a wimp and neither was Jesus. Why is the diocese bent on moving someone who has made a positive impact in the lives of so many people in the city, the state and indeed the world? Let him be… You don’t remove a father for the home when he provides the tools needed to create the environment needed and necessary to have a wholesome and healthy family. We support his remaining in the parish
      In His Love and mine
      Lady Patricia Butler

  • Conroy

    To interfere in an organisations customs and rules is just awful. I would never tell a Jewish Rabbi or a protestant monister how to run his chuch. The problems you and channel 2 are causing is very uosetting to us catholics. Priests take a vow of obedience to their superiors. This rule applies to every priest. Pfleger is the only one to think that he had every right to do what he wants. My parish is about to loose our priest who has served us honorably, selflessly, and with great dedication as Father Pfleger has his parish. The only difference being is that we accept the rules of our church. If all the priests accted like Father Pfleger the Archdiocese would be in chaos. Why do we move our priests? So that they don’t get too attached to their parish and act the way Father Pfleger is now doing. He should be on his knees saying “Thenk you God for giving me 35 years in this parish. Now it is time to move on”. AMEN

    • SAC

      Customs and rules that make sense should be honored, but rules for the sake of rules and traditions that are out-dated,punitive and hypocritical is the very reason there are so many empty pews and dead churches. St. Sabina is full of life because of Father Mike’s compassion and passion for God’s work and God’s people. It’s taken YEARS and a lot of hard work to resurrect what was once a lifeless church. If the dioceses had followed tradition and Father Mike “obeyed” man, clearly he would have “disobeyed” God for if it was not God’s will he would have been reassigned 20 years ago. The WORKS that must accompany faith takes years to build and a change of leadership in most instances creates disruption and loss of valuable momentum. “Why do we move priests?’ Be honest, it’s not to all about preventing a healthy, spititual bond or “attachment”, it rose out of a history of scandalous behavior and a need to escape and avoid prosecution. If your priest has served you as you say he has why should he leave? If your church family values him, why should you not have a say. If “all priests acted like Father Mike”, we wouldn’t have to spend millions on campaigns begging catholics to “Come Home”. A little “chaos” is exactly what our Archdiocese needs-the lack of compassion and involvement in addressing the real issues facing ALL of Chicago’s parishoners is too “business as usual” and staid. As for “superiors”, we all, leity and priests alike, answer only to God-not man nor principalities. You can call Father Mike radical, crazy or worse but if you examine his work and his life he honors God. Neither petty jealousy, senseless power struggles nor out-dated church doctrine will prevail-God’s Will Be Done once again. AMEN!

    • Chelsea

      I agree with you. I have had the sad loss and then pleasure of meeting new pastors in my parish, over thirty years. It makes sense, the neighborhood changes and the congregation also changes. There will always be the base congregation, and we will accept our chosen pastor.

    • Chelsea

      My reply was misappropriated … it was to you :(

    • Attorney Wu-Wong-Reynolds-Johnson-

      TEam legal eagles angels law network alliance agrees( Let REV Pfleger)
      remain for his true ethical stand and progressing education and family values
      no illegal drugs/gangs or organized crime is a must for any community to stand.
      We stand nationwide and agree, corrupt leaders in wealth places with
      bankrupt morals should remain silent..2011

      GO Forth

    • Demetria


      Of course a jerk would say that to something they have never witness before from Father Mike. I have witnessed all that he does for 32 years of my life and some longer. Yes, there is a term. But I would agree to moving a priest out of the catholic church to somewhere else if they are not doing anything positive. I guess that’s why your priest is moving then. Fathe Mike does what most catholic preist wouldn’t do for there community and that’s caring. Do not make comments to something you know nothing about

  • Sheila

    Why every time “the church” wants to get their way or shame someone into doing what they want them to do, they use some old church law about priests not staying at one church for extended times. St Sabina is the only parish i know of in the area that’s still around. Where is St Kilians, St Brendens Mercy high school. all CLOSED. He has done so much good why does Cardinal George want it to stop. find someone else for Leo high school, YOU CAN’T HAVE FATHER PFLEGER.

    • MZEVY

      You need much prayer! as you have a very hateful view of something you know nothing about. I believe you have had no responses to your tirade because the things you wrote are so preposterous that most people are just ignoring you. People who are so hateful are the ones who end up in the type of situation you prescribe for St Sabina. God is Love, not hate.

      Dear Lord, please bless “Throw them out”. Touch his/her heart so that the he is healed of the horrible hatred and darkness that can end up destroying his life. I pray that his life be filled with love, peace joy and happiness. In Jesus name. Amen

      • MZEVY

        My email was in response to “throw them out” which has been removed. It spewed hate and death to St Sabina. For those who did not see it, I’m happy, as it made me feel sick and gave me a desire to pray for the individual who wrote it.

  • SWC

    AMEN, Walter Jacobson. Thank you for having the courage to speak the truth.

  • Bob Rodgers

    I agree with Curley. I wonder how Walter would feel about everyone telling the Rabbi what to do. Butt out Walter. Time to crawl back to retirement.

  • Sgt Friday been drinking and driving…i’ll get you another DUI pal, ….your old, beat down, and out of touch …go back to retirerment and boozing all day….
    Just the Facts…

  • CWill

    The tenure that priests are supposed to follow, I believe it’s no more than 12 years at one parish, is outdated. That rule hasn’t been around forever. It was born out of a time when the priests and those entering seminary were numerous, and there were older priests not leaving the prosperous churches which the younger priests wanted to go to. The Archdiocese is struggling, especially in the African American community. Here you have a parish that is striving and flourishing under Father Pfleger. While I understand you some may not like Fr. Mike, you cannot deny what he has done in Auburn Gresham and the city. Most who criticize him do so ignorantly, not having been to the church or witnessed first hand what Fr. Pfleger and Saint Sabina are about. You only get your information from the sound bites in the media.
    Is Saint Sabina and Father Pfleger different from most Catholic Churches, yes. But different does not equal wrong.

  • Julia Elaine Bledsoe

    Fr Pfleger is a true Disciple of Christ. If more men of the cloth were like him, the Catholic Church would thrive. Stuck on stupid is not going to get you to smart. Change is a good thing, but in this case the PEOPLE OF ST. SABINA don’t want change. I’m all for rules, but when they don’t make sense it’s time to sit down and talk about them. Francis Cardinal George, listen to the people of St. Sabina. It’s not about you or your rules, it’s about the people. Fr Pfleger has served his people better than most. You didn’t listen to your Review Board when they told you that Daniel McCormack should be removed from St. Agatha. He is a pedophile. He is in prison now for molesting our children. You are the boss, the man in charge, we all know that. It’s time for you to listen to the people of St. Sabina. Walter has a great perspective, but the people of St. Sabina, they are who you should be listening to now. Please your Eminence, don’t make a decision that could ruin a church, just because you and a few haters want you to clamp down on Fr Pfleger. If they stepped up their game, they wouldn’t have time to hate. Francis Cardinal George you hurt St. Agatha when you didn’t listen to your Review Board. As my mother use to say, “It’s time for you to put on your listening ears, before you get in trouble young lady.” Trouble will be on your doorstep if you don’t take the time to listen.
    Julia Elaine Bledsoe
    Member of St. Agatha Catholic Church / dba The Voice From St. Agatha

  • Wheres Waldo He Is On Two

    Try the praise of God, not the praise of a man of God. Sounds like the peoples faith is indeed weak at best. Keep filling that basket on Sunday, the man of God has a cable bill due.

  • Brenda

    At the rate it’s going and if God’s will is done the Roman Catholic Church will be shut down in abot 50 – 100 years anyway. The Roman Catholic church is a tragedy and not at all what Jesus Christ intended………..beginning with praying to Mary and the saints, I left a long time ago. I do attend St Sabina from time to time and all I see going on is enthusiastic praise and worship to the Most High God, you can keep your dead churches with it’s pedophiles. Pastor Pfleger has done a lot of good for the Black community and I think that’s what the haters can’t stand. Either the Roman Catholic church changes their evil ways or they will be kaput……….and not soon enough. The so-called Holy Father is not his holiness,,,,,,,,,GOD IS.

  • Irene E Abrons

    I was a member of St Sabina for many, many years. I must say to know Father Mike is to love him. I hope he continue his work at St sabina

  • Barbara

    let Fr. Mike be he is where he should be at St. Sabina

  • Mim Rose

    Are comments to this filtered? Submitted one before; it didn’t print.

    • Anonymous Reader

      @Mim Rose, a lot of websites, inxluding this one I’m pretty sure, use an automatic comment filtering system. They are usually minimally monitored by people and designed to block things such as swears or something that could be spam.

      • Mim Rose

        Hmmm. Spam must be commenting that the diocese needs to change their policy, they have done so in other cases throughout 2000 years, the President of the U.S. doesn’t change even if their term is up in the middle of a war, and there is a real war happening on the streets of Chicago. Thanks to Walter’s perspective, one that I believe is shared among most if not all who have actually worked in the community and seen the difficulties this congregation faces in taking on the drug and gun runners. Jesus didn’t come into the world to add “limit the tenure of priests to 12 years” as an 11th commandment. This policy was created to fix one problem but then creates another. I pray and believe the diocese, and more importantly, the Magisterium, will consider this case, and then change their policies to address a more complex world than they have been prepared in the past to deal with.

  • Etisme B

    Thanks Walter, and thanks to the SunTimes for their support of Fr. Pfleger’s activities. Bledsoe’s comments are right on the money! Rules are important, but rules must be examined, challenged and adjusted to fit the times. We’d truly be in a different place if laws had never been challenged or changed!
    I don’t understand why there are so many Pfleger haters out there – they obviously do not know the man Pfleger nor do they have a full understanding or appreciation for the lives he’s positively impacted, and all the work he has done to improve the parish, neighborhood and entire community. I have every confidence that he could remain Sabina’s pastor AND nurture the Leo youth. Our youth need all the love, support, spiritual guidance and direction that Mike Pfleger could/would provide.
    Before continuing to condemn, get to know the man Pfleger and pray for him. He needs all our prayers and needs to feel love from community beyond St. Sabina and the south side. Pfleger continues to have my support and I will continue to pray for him, the St. Sabina community, and our Cardinal George.

  • Consetta

    Walter your comments are well received. Ever since you retired things have changed a lot. So Father Pfleger too needs to retire. But who will take over his church? That is a good question. We do not know. Only God knows our future and the end of our lives is at the door. May be Bill Curtiss will give you some insight into what makes the life turn in a Catholic priest. Since he is a devoted Catholic may be he will give you some lessons on how to say the Hail Mary too.
    We love all Jews, Christians and Jehovahs Witnesses too. We are the human family and have feelings. If this Catholic priest leaves his post….lots of people will leave the church .. That is for sure.

  • Welton

    Why don’t the people of Chicago and St. Sabina petition the Vatican to remove or teransfer the Archbishop?

    The Archbishop is actually re-trying Jesus Christ all over again because the ministries of Father Pfleger can be compared to the ministries of Jesus in terms of personal ministry, forgiveness of sins, forgiveness of your brothers and sisters of whatever wrongs and then reaching down to pick them up.

    plain and simple, I think the Archbishop is jealous of Fr. Pfleger because Fr. Pfleger is more appreciated and revered than is the Archbishop, and because Fr. Pfleger acts more in a true Christ-like manner. Jelously is, I believe, the culprit here.

    Just my two cents worth of thought.

  • Jean

    Please do not remove Father Pfleger. He is a rare and special human being who truly loves and cares for all. After all, isn’t this what the love of Jesus is all about? Putting love into action? That is my take on Father Pfleger.

    Though I live in Texas, his online sermons have blessed my life now for several years. I have genuine respect and love for him in Jesus. I have gone through some very rough times lately — losing my mother in February after an illness, upheaval with family members, job upheaval, and other things. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to his sermons during the middle of the night…and that, and prayer to Lord Jesus, inspiration to keep “fighting the fight”…well, it got me through. He truly inspires people to have faith, to keep on putting one foot in front of the other. I can surely attest to that.

    Prior to learning of Father Pfleger and Saint Sabina, I was basically without hope that a church could ever meet my spiritual needs. What I require in a church is that the love of Jesus be overtly, consistently manifested for ALL, rich or poor. That action be taken in this world against the powers of evil. Father Pfleger does just that. Father Pfleger is a truly kind and caring individual. You know that he goes above and beyond his call to help others. He fights against the darkness of this world daily, minute by minute. He inspires and empowers so many of us to take a stand in an otherwise apathetic world. He truly LOVES his fellow wayfarers in life. He has been gifted in so many ways and reaches so very many with messages that are inspired by the Holy Spirit. You have an extraordinary human being in Father Pfleger, at Saint Sabina. In my eyes, he is a true servant of God.

    How many lives has he impacted for the better? Countless. I know that many, many souls have been won for God’s kingdom due to his love and caring for his fellow man. He backs that up in overt action. How many clergy have done that, really and truly done that? Father Pfleger is the “real deal.” And we all know it.

    He is loved. He is cared for, not only by Saint Sabina members in Chicago and the community, but those of us who watch him weekly online. There are those who are inside prison walls. Around the world. What a loss it would be if he wasn’t there every Sunday, every day loving all, calling on us all to be our best, to truly care for our fellow humans.

    There are those who can’t be in Chicago to attend services like myself. I can assure you that if I lived in Chicago, I would be in Saint Sabina each Sunday because Father Pfleger walks his talk. He puts his life on the line every day for what is Godly, true, decent, and just in this world. He is a good man. Surely you must know this.

    I respectfully ask that you keep him in his station at Saint Sabina. It would be a huge, devastating loss for so many of us if you do otherwise.

    • Shawn

      Great Comment, Jean. I am at a parish but I listen to Pfleger’s homilies on-line, too. I love listening to Revelant radio and Fr. Simon. He is another great priest with super homilies as well as Fr. Bill at St. Mary’s Hospital. There are several that I have encounter that are true, decent and just are good men. Why bother Pfleger?

  • Shawn

    He should remain and let him make the decision through pray if it is time for him to move on. He may be burned out and let him come to that decision. Why can he not remain at St. Sabina and take the position, too. What is the problem? Why can’t that be done? To me it was handled wrongly by Cardinal George.I truly have respect for him but he is being wrongly advised. If I were Cardinal George, because St. Sabina is Pfleger’s baby I would had suggested the idea to him and left him to pray about it. Not tell him. When you have a baby and watch it grow it’s hard to let it go. Cardinal George needs to focus on the priest who careless about their parish and who do not work within the community where there parish is and who lacks spirituality period. Why not focus on them. Why not begin to take these priest on constant retreats so they can gain spiritual enlightenment and whatever that is needed to become a beautiful priest. Let’s focus on the priest who lacks the skills and spirituality to even get involve within their parishes. Is there a Judas around or is there jealousy within the diocese ranks? Let’s get real. I am a Catholic and love being one. But nothing is never perfect. Amen

  • Carla Keys

    Please let Father Pfleger remain at Saint Sabina so he can continue to inspire &
    uplift broken hearts & spirits.
    He is truly a man of God. Teaching & preaching the word of God
    I was lost & now i”m found . All because of …
    Actions speaks louder than words, the proof is in the puddin

  • Chanel

    Father, I love you and the work that you do, the words you said when you married us, and the way you make me feel when I leave every Sunday. Words can’t express how grateful I am to know you and to be a part of your family. Who cares if they hate you… they hated Jesus. Isn’t all of our goals to be Christ-like? Kudos to a true man of God!

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