Cardinal George Suspends Father Pfleger At St. Sabina’s

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cardinal George on Wednesday suspended Father Michael Pfleger as pastor at St. Sabina’s, expressing frustration at Pfleger’s ongoing public statements regarding his tenuous future in the Chicago Archdiocese.

CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman reports, George wrote a letter to Pfleger on Wednesday, stating “your ministry as pastor of St. Sabina and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.”

George took particular issue with Pfleger’s repeated statements in both local and national media that the cardinal was trying to remove him from St. Sabina and transfer him to Leo High School as president.

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“Our private conversation was misrepresented publicly as an attempt to ‘remove’ you from Saint Sabina’s. You know that priests in the Archdiocese are ‘removed’ only because they have been found to have sexually abused a minor child or are guilty of financial malfeasance.”


Earlier this month, Pfleger told the public radio program “Smiley and West” that if it came to a choice to become president of Leo High School, to become pastor of another Catholic church, or to leave the church, he would look at the third option.

But he also said he wanted to stay in the Catholic Church. In his letter, George said that Pfleger had told him on several occassions that he did not want to stay at St. Sabina’s for the rest of his career.

In the letter, George said the opening at Leo High School “gave us the possibility of offering you a transfer that would keep you in the neighborhood and among the people to whom you have dedicated much of your life and also give you a position from which to continue to espouse the cause dear to you: education in the African American community.”

George went on to say that Pfleger left open the possibility of serving at Leo, but that Pleger’s public comments dictated otherwise.

“That process has now been short-circuited by your remarks .. that you will leave the Catholic Church if you are told to accept the assignment other than as pastor of St. Sabina. If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and therefore are not able to pastor a Catholic parish.”

George also said he deeply regrets that Plfeger’s “public remarks have brought you to a moment of crisis and I pray will quickly pass.”

Pfleger was not immediately available for comment.

He has served as pastor at St Sabina for nearly 30 years–far longer than the typical tenure for a pastor before being transferred to another assignment. Pastors are typically transferred between parishes several times during their ministry.

In the meantime, Father Thulani Magwaza, St. Sabina’s associate pastor, will run the parish with the assistance of Father Andrew Smith, currently at St. Ailbe Parish.

  • Larry Gapnik

    Now that he is “suspended” he can become the Rabbi of my Shul.

    • Sharon

      Everybody who has a job works for somebody. The one you work for makes the rules. Why do some people become so full of themselves that they believe the world should march to them.

    • mjpk6269

      You’re welcome to him.

    • srdib

      youre welcome to him!

  • mjpk6269

    To all the other readers: I am not “srdib”, but I agree with that person 100%

  • Michael Burgie

    He should have been removed a long time ago. He did not present himself as a priest of the Catholic church. Cardinal George has been more than patient.

  • Erinn

    Now what are we gona do without him. He is our pastor and leader of our church. We need him real bad because there are too many murders and rapes and people ripping off others that there are no evangelicals that can do anything for them. He is our leader.
    Cardinal George should considere taking him to Rome for the beatification of John Paul II because he did a wonderful job. He really saved millions of souls and brought them to salvation to many.
    We should proclaim father Fhleger a saint. All jows and christians and moslems should be behind him in procliming him a saint.
    We all love him. He is such a wonderful person.
    What church is he gona join now?
    Who will take him as a pastor?

    • srdib

      pfleger already thinks he is a saint. as anyone at st. sabina. for his next act, he will walk across the chicago river.

      • frtw

        Fr. Pfleger is not an act. He is what he beleives God wants him to be. He is a man of deep prayer and reverence for the Word of God. This is what causes the problems that many people have with him. He follows what he believes in his heart and soul. Most people only follow what is popular or convient. He is unbending and this offends people who just want him to think like they do.

    • Ryan

      Read my reply from FRTW

  • srdib

    take a look at Pfleger’s “parish”. how he crows like a rooster against gun laws. this is just for the month to date in april.

    tell me what good he does besides cause trouble, preach hate?

    • frtw

      Obviously you both speak from ignorance and have never visited St. Sabina. This is the same ignorance that made St. Sabina a “Black” Parish because people heard the stories that “those” people were going to destroy the neighborhood when they moved in. St. Sabina under Fr. Pfleger’s leadership has brought new life to the local community and a great sense of pride in how faith combined with action changes things. Most people who do the criticism do it in ignorance and have not been by 79th and Racine and seen the impact this single Catholic Church has had. It is ok to disagree with the way Fr. Pfleger does things but speak out because you have been there and don’t understand. Say a prayer for St. Sabina and the future of the church… that is if you really care.

      • Right

        It’s not the way he does things, it’s what he stands for. Blaming whites for blacks problems and preaching violence against those who disagree. He belongs in the black community.

      • eugenia

        You know, I feel exactly what you are saying. But these wicked, ignorant comments left by SOME people will continue to come. I’ve been in the Catholic faith, baptized in 1981. No, St. Sabina is not my church home but I have been there. I have always liked and believed in Father Pfleger. He’s a good man. Remember that and please don’t worry about what low lives think. They will have their day. Peace.

  • Anna D.

    Finally, the Diocese of Chicago does the right thing. Fr. Pfleger is a manipulative trouble maker. Glad to hear he’s been suspended.

  • carr

    He should be a saint. He did the job… saving souls that is what people do not understand.

    • Jdors

      so sad for you. you praise God with that mouth on Sunday don’t you?

    • Ryan

      You’re not saving souls if you are misguiding souls and in OPEN DEFIANCE of Catholic TEACHING. You Can not be a heretic and a saint at the same time come on now.


    He’s just a whitey wanting to be a Jesse or an Al,but he doesn’t know he’s the wrong color.He belongs in Libya,maybe he can help GoofyGaddafi stay in power.Once a moron always a moron.

  • T

    If it were true in any way, shape, or form, then HAD Pfleger been interested in “social justice in a Catholic context” then he would NOT have sown the seeds of hate as he did for an entire parish for so long against white and black. This man did no favors for anyone and never will. He is self serving and his soul shall roam the Earth to the end of time. Shame on the Catholic Church for empowering him and allowing him to do damage to thousands of people’s hearts and minds.

    As to Pfleger, you were never any good, and you will never be any good. Good riddance. Take off the collar!!!

    • Jdors

      So sad and confused. All of you racist people. You need a godly man like Pfleger to pray for your soul!

      • Thank you

        Please tell me you are joking. This man is self serving and only wants to be in front of the camera. He cannot show one scripture from the Bible where Jesus taught his disciples to march against the establishment, violence, etc. No, I believe Jesus said something like “love your enemies, pray for them”.

      • srdib

        no thank you, no need for a hate monger like this to:”pray” for me.

      • frtw

        If you had ever attended a march or rally led by Pfleger and St. Sabina you would see that they do pray for the perpetrators of crime and violence to have a change of heart and their ways. It is so sad to see criticism brought forward by so many that really don’t know what the man and the church is really all about. The purpose of God’s Word is to bring change to people’s hearts.

      • Ryan

        What does race have anything to do with this, race is not whats getting him in hot water. Whats getting him suspended is being DISOBEDIENT and a HERETIC.

    • srdib

      AMEN (no pun intended) not all of us are sheep waiting for slaughter.

  • Jdors

    WOW! LOOK AT ALL THE RACIST SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS. I BET YOU CALL YOURSELVES “GOOD CHRISTIANS”! Shame on you all. A good man trying to do God’s work. For all people, not just black people. If you have a problem with the color of someone’s skin, take it up with God. He made them that way. Unfortunately, he made all of you racist jerks too.

    • Right

      I heard Pfleger enough times to see that he only helped blacks and always blamed people of European descent..

    • Thank you

      YOU really need to read my statements just above your statements. By the way, racists are not made by God, it is a learned behavior.

    • eugenia

      You said it so right. It seems that some whites find any reason to spread hate and are so conceited they do it and deny it at the same time. And dare you to see it! Talk about ignorance. Hate is pure IGNORANCE. It always has to take a racial turn to some folks. To me, it’s pure fear that makes some whites not want us to be at least intelligent and confident. It’s a shame before GOD.

    • frtw

      Shame on you for your repeated reference to “Let the riots begin”. It sounds like that is what you want. Thanks God the majority of people don’t think like yourself….

  • dj

    He will never be a saint. He has done nothing but shame the Catholic Church. I don’t know why they let that go on for so long. It’s about time they have done something.

  • Farfel Narf

    Pride caused the fall in the garden; the Obedience of Christ to the Father even to the death of the cross won back salvation—–obedience is the foundation virtue of all spiritual life: Pfleger was NOT willing to obey; the Cardinal did the right thing!

  • TI

    Ok,so Fr.Phleger has been at St.Sabina’s for almost 30 yrs.So has Fr.Daniel Mallette,Pastor of St.Margaret of Scotland.He has been Pastor there since March 1977.I don’t see Cardinal George trying to move him to another church.So the 20yr rule is made up/

    • srdib

      what is wrong with you? does the cardinal of chicago have anything to do with scotland?

      TI, you are the kind of person and pfleger needs in his church, what does scotland have to do with chicago?

      • frtw

        Ignorance again… St. Margaret of Scotland Paris IS located in Chicago on the south side.

  • roomtomove

    Rascists will rarely admit or realize that they are. Blind allegiance to a dogma or a religion or a cardinal who would be pope or a mullah in defiance of reality ultimately breeds violence and hate rather than love. Ignorance is bliss in all things.

  • dizzy

    dj…”shame the Catholic Church.”…what a shame the Cardinal doesn’t take decisive action on pedofile priests….easier to transfer them or depleat the coffers by paying victims for abuse.

    • srdib

      if you read./listen to the news, the church is a closed society. what about pfleger? he never knew of any abuse? he has clean hands? just asking. but its not about that, its about pfleger preaching hate, whipping his people into a frenzy. white people have done blacks wrong, stand up and fight, but in the mean time, his parish is one of the worse in the city. he needs to go.

  • frtw

    Sounds like you are more on a personal drive against the man. Do you care at all about the peoples’ lives that he has had a positive impact on or those he has spent his 35 years of priesthood reaching out to and bringing a peaceful healing presence? What do you mean by “Let the riots begin”? It sounds like you are entertained by peoples’ suffering. It is easy to put a man or group of people down because you personally don’t like them….but do you really care about the quality of their lives???

    • Ryan

      I’d like to start off by saying that i applaud Father Pfleger for everything he has done in the community from the shootings to schools, to helping all those in need i’ll give him all his credit there where credit is due, however, as much good as he may be to the community he is a heretic from every angle you can think of. Example from the homily if you can call it that where he screamed that women should be priest and when said that we don’t need a high Priest or Pope. Now here’s what curious this is OPEN defiance of teaching of the Church, not disagreeing with how a Church teaching should best be expressed but with the very teaching itself, in fact with a number of them not only women Priest but women Bishops as well. Notice as he gets all worked up in a raving lunatic lather he’s just getting ready to say a women Pope but he stopped just short of that, his career must’ve been on his mind. First on the Issue on women Priest he back pedaled a little issuing some sort of an apology saying “I believe that women ought to be ordained… while this is my personal opinion, I do respect and follow the teaching of the Catholic Church and I’m sorry that I failed to do this.” His opinions doesn’t matter what matters is CORRECT TEACHINGS of the Church you don’t publicly disagree with what the Church Says/ teaches. Later on he said that the Pope isn’t needed, laying aside the fact that news may come to a bit of a shock to our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ who HE HIMSELF INSTITUTED the Papacy. There are many that are hurt here. First of all Father Pfleger his self for Preaching heresy, Second his congregation and the souls that he is in charge of whom have a right to authentic Catholic teaching, not the crazy histrionics of a stage performer. Father talks about justice what about the justice of the people sitting in the pews whom are deprived of Catholic truth? Also not the even get started on his bizarre liturgical practices that are most of the time anything but Catholic and more Protestant than anything else. You can just make up your own prayers during consecration it would make it invalid there for it’s very doubtful that his Parish has even received our Blessed Lord for who knows how long. This Priest is endangering the souls of all whom belong to this parish. I could go on and on about everything he has done to destroy the faith look at all the pro abortionist that he has had speaking and that he supported along side him which alone caused for scandal and we all know that we don’t need anymore scandals. What happen to his promise to obedience to his Bishop he has been disobedient for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t for all of these problems and him being a heretic he might not have been asked to move at the most priest just stay at a parish 3-6 years what makes him so special there has been plenty of Priest that I liked and some was like family but hey that’s how the church is. Some thing that the celibacy is the hard part of being ordained but I truly believe that it’s the obedience but you have to do it, if his Bishop says its time to move it then its time you knew this when you become a Priest. He needs to be moved and should have been moved long long ago, there is no excuse for misleading souls that he is in charge of and one day he’ll have to answer this to our Blessed Lord. I’ll pray for the parish and for father. God Bless

  • Jacqueliine Berger

    I am a Jew. However, above all I am a humanitarian. My husband is Christian. When I saw that Father Pfleger was removed from his position I was very upset. Father Pfleger has helped so many people overcome injustices and has fought for their humanitarian rights that it seems unconscionable to remove him from a perish where he is beloved and has done so much good. If the Catholic church would concentrate more on the good and love that Father Pfleger has accomplished in his parish and throughtout the city of Chicago and the world rather than on politics, the church would gain more respect. What a hypocrasy to take Father Pfleger out of a parish that loves him and move Priests who have commited sexual crimes to other Parishes. Let’s take the politics out of religion and start thinking about what G-d would want. It’s ridiculous.

    • frtw

      Well put… the church has a lot bigger problems than Fr. Michael Pfleger…..

  • dan

    I attend mass at my church and in the last few years we have had several priests rotate in and out, just the way it is. There were a few I really liked but who the He!! am I to tell the archdiocece what to do. I didn’t hear the priests in my church pitching a b!tch and threaten to leave the catholic church.

    He belongs in one of those mb baptist churches where they all sing and jump around kinda like in the blues brothers movie

    • Philip J. Wayne

      I am in total agreement with your comments.

  • yingduke

    whatever he does is always in the open, he doesn’t hide in the closet like all the other perverted priest, who the higher ups try to protect.
    Men of God that never get punished for ruining young men lives.
    all you haters smoke that!!!!!

    • srdibq

      how do you know that?

    • srdib

      so you are saying he is out of the closet? again, how do yo know?

  • RetiredinAz1

    About time! He was always an embarrassment….trying to “act like an African-American” with his mannerisms and speech….Good by and adios!

  • ric

    you are idots .do you have any balls…….a man of foresight …a man of courage………..the catholic church is in trouble……all the lawsuits…….when you people take notice that soon on cares……for the catholic is truly is cold ……rt

    • ric

      george get out you are to old…retire

    • srdib

      is that the definition of a rant?

  • Lyndia

    Why don’t they leave the man where he is? If they wanted to move him, he should have been moved 20 years ago. Many of you people do not like him because he has done so much for the Black community, Isn’t that right? Admit it you little racist bigots. What kind of God do you people worship? The God of hate?

  • Kevin

    I wish he leave the church all together. He is an evil man.

  • Philip J. Wayne

    I attended St. Sabina’s as a white member for eighteen months…until I figured out that Pfleger is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His position in this church was cult like and the Catholic Church is better without him.

  • KNMT

    He took a vow of obedience as a priest. I guess in Fr. Pfleger’s opinion that means obedience to the Church only in what he wants and agrees with since he thinks he is so special. Cardinal George should have done this a very long time ago. If we did this with our employers, we’d be in the unemployment line right away.

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