Pfleger: ‘My Faith And The People Are My Strength’

CHICAGO (CBS) – Father Michael Pfleger emerged in public Saturday for the first time since his suspension from St. Sabina Parish and says he’s coping with help from others.

“My faith and the people are my strength,” Pfleger told reporters during a food distribution to the poor.

Pfleger smiled and appeared relaxed as he met with community members. But the normally outspoken priest declined to talk about the disciplinary action taken by Cardinal Francis George last month.

George suspended Pfleger after the priest threatened to leave the Catholic Church if he is not allowed to remain at his longtime post at South Sabina.

The food distribution of 10-pound bags of chicken Saturday drew long lines at St. Sabina. The Hear Foundation teamed up with Pfleger and the St. Sabina community.

“It’s a real desperate situation,” Pfleger said. “The recovery, unfortunately, has not come down to 79th Street yet.”

Those in line were quick to show their appreciation. 

“He’s always trying to help the community, always trying to help people in need,” Darlene Davis said of Pfleger.  

Asked if he would clear up any misinformation in the media about his suspension, Pfleger cited a recent ad taken out by parish members in the Sun-Times. That ad lashed out at the Chicago Archdiocese for disrespecting and failing to communicate with parish members about changes at the church.

The Archdiocese sent a new priest, Andrew Smith, to help at St. Sabina after Pfleger’s suspension was announced.

  • Philip J. Wayne


    • Mike

      Yeah, more handouts for blacks. What a crock. Start taking care of yourselves instead of getting aid. It’s pathetic that we still talk about Katrina.

      • MikeB Pal

        What is pathetic is that a person like you is allowed to spew racial hatred in a public forum like this. You are a disgusting human being.

    • A Pfleger Supporter

      And on what basis do you have to say that? Let’s talk INTELLIGENTLY about the issues versus letting EMOTION drive us to sound the TRUMPET of IGNORANCE as you have just done!


    “My faith and the people are my strength”? How about God and Jesus Christ Father Phlaggy? It appears your ego is your strength. “The recovery,unfortunately has not come down to 79th Street yet”? You are in a dream world if you think any recovery has come down any ones street yet! What planet are you living on Father Phlaggy? Just give it up Father,admit you want to be a community organizer and get on TV and in the media. If there has been any “disrespecting” it has been you towards the Church. Give up the Collar Father,you don’t deserve it.


      Never mind about giving up the Collar Father Phlaggy,it appears in your news video that you have. Now I just wonder what you’re going to do about having a roof over your head if the Church no longer supports you. Maybe Jesse or his crooked son Jr. will let you sleep in their garage or basement until you are back on your feet.

    • Ton Mike

      It is what it is indeed. His faith means his faith in God, in the practical action of Jesus who will chanllenge your apathy at the end of time with the word, “I was hungry and you did not feed me.” I was oppressed, you did not care about my freedom. Mike was simply a practical face of Jesus in the Arch (Ash) Diocese of Chicago.
      Jesus did not come to safe institution but people. Some Catholics just dont get it.

      • Philip J. Wayne

        Most Christians, are that in name only. Most Christians…of all denominations don’t get it…Many are called few chosen.

  • Jim

    Go AWAY you fraud. You are as much a publicity hound as your competitors, Jesse Jackson and Mayor Daley. Your anti-gun crusade has insured that only law-abiding citizens will be killed and insures the gangs will be unfettered in their control of the streets. If you really cared about “your people” , you self-hating White man, you’d fight for them to DEFEND their lives instead of surrendering to the control and slavery of gangsters. Get lost. It’s long over due. ANYONE can be a hero by handing out freebies. YOU handed out slavery.

    • Ton Mike

      It is all about race for you Jim.

  • justme

    I was in the bakery last week and he walked in with two body guards wearing his I snitch shirt, I never personally seen another father have to walk around with two big ass body guards! kinda makes you think theres alot more going on than him just not wanting to leave that area!!!!

  • c

    they are all a bunch of crooks sending the cash back to emperor palpatine in rome

  • D Wade

    Francis and Michael – a pair of fellow dolts. Nuke them both.

  • Billy
    • Teresa

      This was a shameful display of “white hatred”. Discrimination at its finest.

  • MikeBq

    Wow… a bunch of Catholic haters on here. Or is it just that a white priest has chosen to lead an African-American congregation? Yes, Father Pfleger is outspoken, but I’d rather see someone in the Catholic Church opening their mouth about gun violence, hunger. homelessness and other social issues than condoning pedophilia and other abuses that priests are involved in all the time. Who are we to judge this priest? It’s obvious that the people of St. Sabina cherish his leadership; if you have never had any direct involvement with him or his parish, criticizing him based on his public persona is shallow and hypocritical. Cardinal George abandoned the people of St. Sabina by taking away the pastor they have known for 30 years, who, by their own words, has built a strong faith community there. To the person who wrote the comment ‘“My faith and the people are my strength”? It’s a shame that people have to show themselves as such religious bigots here by hiding behind anonymous names. Father Pfleger has done nothing whatsoever to harm the Catholic Church; in fact. he is doing more to act like Jesus did than most priests I know who meekly sit around and do nothing to affect the human conditions surrounding them. Cardinal George is pursuing a personal agenda against Father Pfleger. an agenda that totally ignores the people of St. Sabina.

    • Right

      blacks are there own problems.

    • Philip J. Wayne

      I knew him personally……Pfleger is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.

    • Altumdreams

      I oppose racism by anyone, including Pfleger and the Catholic church. The Catholic church should have gotten rid of him a very long time ago.

  • agad

    JESUS WAS IN PUBLIC MINISTRY FOR WHAT? THREE YEARS MOST? Get out of there already with your ordination promise of obedience. The church doesn’t need your bad example.

    • agad

      There are nasty rumors about why you are really staying…you can dispel them by accepting your new assignment with grace before they ALL become public

    • Agnes

      Why accept a new assignment that he is not qualified for and people do not want him there.. May I ask how many of you ever went into a terrible neighborhood and made a difference? At the time, he became priest that neigborhood was in ruins and no hope. I am not from Chicago but now have been living here for 21 years and when I moved here the southside was one area that I refused to move to. Now, I can visit there and have seen so much involvement and especially at St. Sabina church in changin their neighborhood as well as converting people to Catholicism. Please let us look at the good.

      • darrell jackson

        We can look at the good but the issue here is Pfleger is not followinghis orders. He knew he would have to followorders when he was ordained. This is not something new. It is time to move on. Let him make a difference at a high school that truly needs help. He would be able to bring back a school from the brink of closing permanently.

    • A Pfleger Supporter

      You need to read your Bible agad. Jesus’ assignment as MESSIAH mandated that His earthly ministry end. The implication cannot be drawn, however, that this is the justification for feeling that YOU can be God and tell someone else to end theirs. Please be seated and let the Lord speak to your heart. You should feel convicted!

      • darrell jackson

        @A Pfleger Supporter
        I don’t understand why you are saying to read the bible again. This is not an issue with the bible. When a priest is ordained he makes several promises and commitments i.e. Chastity, obedience, ect. Priests know that they will be moved every 6-12 years. You should consider yourself blessed to have had Pfleger for 30 years. Why will you not let him continue his mission in another area? It’s not like he is moving to a different state. He will be a few minutes away. Look at the bigger picture and stop trying to keep him for yourself. Greed and selfishness are sins.

    • A Pfleger Supporter

      You need to read your Bible agad. Jesus’ assignment as MESSIAH mandated that His earthly ministry end. The implication cannot be drawn, however, that this is the justification for feeling that YOU can be God and tell someone else to end theirs. Please be seated and let the Lord speak to your heart. You should feel convicted!

  • Raymond Prudente

    Our political leaders and government are morally corrupt, their love for power and money, hundreds of innocent children are dying in the streets of Chicago because of drugs, gun violence…with no political will to fight and solve the perennial problems.

    In 2004, 4,450 Roman Catholic Clergy have been accused of molesting minors and when the abuser is a clergy who is expected to act at the highest spiritual and moral level the public becomes particularly distressed. Such abuse represents a gross violation of trust and a massive misuse of human sexuality by a perpetrator who is supposed to be among the most trustworthy. Sexual abuse of children and youth are generally considered the most heinous. In August 2008, Chicago Catholic Archdiocese announced it would pay $12.7 million to settle 16 claims of sexual abuse involving 10 former priests and a school principal. The Chicago church has settled more than 100 cases. Its something that should never happened, especially to little kids its a shame but there are lot of good ones out there like Fr. Mike. And thousands of victims across the country are still reporting the abuse.

    What is over is the denial that this problem exist, and what is over is the reluctance of the Catholic church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem. In fairness Fr. George is silent about the matter and the choice was very clear, between protecting children and church they made a wrong choice-they sacrificed and suffered children for many, many years. Fr. George has the moral obligation to monitor, investigate, suspend and punish abusive priests.

    Under Fr. Mike leadership, the community of St. Sabina able to shutdown the Auburn Gresham drug paraphernalia and in September 1997, the Chicago City Council voted 44-1 to remove the billboards. He describe the decision as “A TREMENDOUS VICTORY FOR THE CHILDREN” of Chicago, for our neighbors, especially black and Hispanic neighbors. But Fr. Pfleger received hundreds of threatening calls from drug business.

    Your 30 years mission at St. Sabina not only your unfinished task but the always unfinished task of serving the people in the community and articulating Christ’s Gospel. It is you who planted the seed of unity, it is the Lord himself who tell you to love and protect the people are practical ways, and it’s your best evangelistic tool. God is with you Fr. Mike.

    • Philip J. Wayne

      By Grace are you saved, through Faith and not by works so that no one can boast. All the good works in the world don’t matter if the living Christ is not working inside of someone. This guy is a Wolf…the center of the Christian life is Jesus not Michael Pfleger. How do you justify Fleger’s relationship with the Nation of Islam which is a hateful cult?

      • A Pfleger Supporter

        @Phillip J. Wayne: You quote the Bible but are selective in your hearing of it and its interpretation. The same Bible says in Matthew 7:1 “judge not.” How can you honestly say with ASSURANCE that the living God is not working inside of someone? You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. The center of Christian life is Jesus Christ Himself, but can I tell you that He uses people! That is how He sends His message to the world and what He commanded us to do with the Great Commission.

  • The Undertaker

    This pompous Arse is finally getting his comeuppance…

  • DTOM

    Can his militant arse!

  • mar mar

    Did anyone find out the job the Mayor gave to fr pfieger, all these years.

  • altumdreams

    Where are your racist brethren, Rev. Wright & Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan? Its horrible that the Catholic church has allowed Pfleger to remain a priest or employee for this long.

  • darrell jackson

    Phleger needs to keep his mouth shut. If he wants to leave then leave. It would be best for everyone. There are plenty of African American priests that could do better than Phleger so don’t play the race card. No priest in the counrty makes the headlines more than Phleger and majority of those headlines are unfortunately negative. There are priests that don’t want to transfer but you don’t see them throwing a temper tantrum because they don’t get their way. Be a faithful follower and accept your orders. You knew the terms when you became a priest.

    • justme

      amen!!!! his job is to help all not just in a certain area he knew the rules when he joined I don’t know why he is acting so surprised now!

    • A Pfleger Supporter

      @Darrell: This is an attack on the PROPHETIC! And the terms when he became priest, I’m sure were not to be muzzled and foster oppression. It’s one thing to be moved with PURE MOTIVE. It’s another to be moved out of HATRED or for POLITICS. The Cardinal is not in his sacred position to POLITIC. He’s there to represent God! If you can say this represents God in YOUR SOUL then so be it. Peace be unto you.

  • Sy Abelman

    Father, us Jews need you as a Rabbi. Come on over, It’s not that bad. They have anesthetic for the operation. We need a leader who will fight for social justice like you…not leaders who we currently have just fund raising for Israel. We need a leader who leader who will take us back to our roots of Unionism, Garment workers and Civil Rights.

  • Rainey's Daughter

    Father Mike is Our Brother and he lives among us. All of You Negative whiners
    have done nothing exceptional or memorable for anyone other than yourselves.
    Selfishness and greed runs rampant among your thinking patterns. Father Mike has spent his life helping others. You should be ashamed to try and demean his character. We need more people just like him and humanity would be better for it.

    • darrell jackson

      The only whiner is you. We are stating the facts and the only one being selfish is you. What gives St. Sybina the right to keep Fr. Mike? Stop telling other people to not be selfish and greedy when you are an example.

  • Yahdirah

    We are sol glad this has settled down and now it time for business to go on. Life is very short to be entangled in unpopular themes. God is in control and his faith has strengtened and people of fatith too are praying.. Please do not demean his character or his personality. If you saved souls like he did in his 30 years of service then you can throw the first stone. Just think where are you gona be 100 years from now? What is gona become of your money, your house, your investments? Surely you will not take to eternity. So, start working for God in some way and you for sure will be very happy in spite of controversies.

  • Wayne Brasler

    If the Catholic Church is dependent on Priests who keep their place, keep their tongue, are low high profile, are always subservient, are always meek and mediocre, it is in bad shape indeed. Jesus Himself was a rebel, a trouble-maker, independent and rebellious and an activist. I think this whole scenario boils down to Father Pfleger repeatedly baiting the Church higher-ups and them repeatedly taking bait. None of the reasons given for suspending Pfleger have anything to do with the welfare of St. Sabina Parish, inner city communities or the needs of the African American community. The notion of Father Pfleger becoming principal of Leo makes no sense given the fact he has no background for such a position and an is a concept which disrespects the people keeping Leo alive. We expect Church leaders to be more mature, thoughtful and wise.

    • A Pfleger Supporter

      @Wayne Brasler: Amen!

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