Pfleger Says He’ll Preach Elsewhere If He’s Not Reinstated

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. Michael Pfleger says if he cannot preach at St. Sabina Church, he will start preaching elsewhere.

Pfleger has been suspended from his post at the Roman Catholic church in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood where he has preached for 30 years.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Conway reports

He now says if he is not reinstated by next weekend, he will begin preaching at other churches.

He says he has already received offers from all around the country.

But the Chicago Tribune reported Pfleger still does not want to leave St. Sabina, and will only leave if he is expelled, or if he believes God wants him to go elsewhere. He choked back tears as he called the situation “very painful,” the Tribune reported.

St Sabina issued the following statement on Wednesday morning: “Last night a Chicago Tribune reporter chose to disrespect the closed meeting of St. Sabina Church parishioners with their pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, obviously with an agenda. No one knew the reporter was present.

“A report was then put out as if Fr. Pfleger gave some kind of ultimatum that if the suspension continued beyond this weekend he would preach at other churches. That is completely false.

“The truth is that while responding to a question from a parishioner as to whether he would be speaking or preaching anywhere; Fr. Pfleger responded that he missed preaching and had received a number of invitations to preach at other churches and would probably begin to accept some if unable to preach at this time at St. Sabina.”

Francis Cardinal George suspended Pfleger from his pastoral duties at St. Sabina last month, following comments he made about a possible reassignment to nearby Leo high School.

In early April, 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.

“I want to try to stay in the Catholic Church. If they say, ‘You either take this principalship at the high school or the pastorship there, or leave, then I have to look outside the church,” he said.

George responded in the letter announcing Pfleger’s suspension, “If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and therefore are not able to pastor a Catholic parish.”

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

  • linda

    I feel bad for Pfleger but I think he has forgotten one christian belief. Pride is a sin. Just because he would not be pastor of St. Sabina Church does not mean he would lose all the friends he made there. For some reason his pride is making him feel he has to tell the church how it is. Need to swallow the pride and see if you can be a good high school president.

    • Philip J. Wayne

      Feel bad for Pfleger..why ….from my personal experience with the man he is a hypocrite and a Wolf in Sheep’s Cllothing…….he needs to leave the priesthood.

  • Carmen Thompson

    I think Cardinal George is the one who is too prideful here. Why is George trying to move Pfleger? What is his motivation? St. Sabina’s is a parish that is working. Pfleger has been at this church for 30 years. You don’t move a priest after 30 years. The Archdiocese of Chicago kept him with St. Sabina’s for a reason. Why is Cardinal George threatened by a man who is preaching God’s word?

    • Barb Jones

      Actually no priest is upposed to be at any parish onger then 12 years, but becauses Pfleger has been such a pain any time he has been asked to move, he has got his way. The only reason they kept him there is the same reason mothers break down in the grocery checkout aisle and buy their kid what they want becuase their kids are throwing a fit of rage because they can’t have the candy bar, they give in to keep the kid quiet, well the Archdiocese has done that for the fit throwing Pfleger for more than 25 years and now they have had enough! I agree, the kid can’t get wants he wants forever!

    • Maggie

      Because he can? Father Pfleger has already made his decision. He should show grace now and leave without biting the hand that has fed him for more than 30 years.

    • Keith Schulien

      A typical pastor of a catholic church is usually moved within 3 years anyways. Don’t see how he’s so special

    • Gee-reg

      The cardinal is Flakey’s boss !!!!!! The Cardinal says that Flaky must move on then Flaky must move on !! That is the same rule for every other priest so why not Flakey ??? Oh wait I know—-The Cardinal is just picking on him because he is black right ???????

    • TrueCatholic

      Because forty years ago the PRIESTS of the Archdiocese decided that it is best to limit the number of years someone can be pastor at a parish. Pastors serve a 6 year “term” with the possibility of a second term. IF there is a VERY GOOD reason to keep the pastor in the parish for another year or maybe 2 after his two six-year terms as pastor, that could be considered – but generally pastors move on after six or twelve years – and NO MORE than 13 or 14 years.

      So how is Cardinal George being prideful? The PRIESTS themselves decided this, and the fact that the Cardinal is honoring it makes HIM prideful?

      As to your question why Mr. Pfleger has been allowed to stay at St. Sabina Parish for 30 years – isn’t that OBVIOUS? He’s a bully. He WANTS to fight, and sees a conflict at every turn. Listen to his words on tv, does he EVER say anything that is NOT about fighting or conflict? The Archdiocese let him be, trying to avoid conflict, trying to minister to the people in that area. the Archdiocese, tried to evangalize the people in that neighborhood by allowing Mr. Pfleger to stay there. Unfortunately, what happened instead was that a community was formed that is Roman Catholic in name only.

      Look at Mr. Pfleger – he has this overwhelming desire to preach. First of all he should look at his reasons for that – does he think that he is the only person who can preach to the people in St. Sabina? PRIDE.

      More importantly, though, he has lost sight of the true meaning of the Holy Sacrifce of the Mass. The center of our faith is the Eucharist. It is Proetestant churches that place so little emphasis on the Eucharist and so much emphasis on preaching – EXACTLY what Mr. Pfleger has done at St. Sabina. The Mass, the Catholic faith, is NOT centered around a dynamic speaker, it is centered around the Real Presence in the Eucharist. To the best of my knowledge, Catholics are the only Christian denomination that believes in transsubstantiation – that when the Eucharist is consecrated in the Mass, it becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. Protestant demoniations see it as a symbol – we see it as the Real Presence of Christ. The fact that Mr. Pfleger can so easily talk about leaving behing the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (by joining some other Christian denomination where he can be the star preacher – the STAR preacher, once again, his PRIDE showing through) – that says that he hs not Catholic. A true Catholic, and especially a priest, could not walk away from the Real Presence so easily as Mr. Pfleger can.

      Mr. Pfleger is a protestant, not a Catholic priest. I will be the first to admit that he’s done wonderful work in his nieghborhood, but he has done the parishioners of St. Sabina a great disservice by leading them away from the Real Presence of Christ. It’s time for Mr. Pfleger to stand up and admit that he is no longer a Catholic priest. Unfortunately, he can’t do that for himself. Perhaps he is uncomfortable doing so because of what his truly Catholic friends and family might say and/or think, or maybe he just likes playing the victim/underdog. Whatever the reason, he is looking for the Archdiocese to make the decision for him. It’s too bad that so many people can’t see that HE made the decision HIMSELF as soon as he started considering walking away from the Eucharist.

  • Bill

    He shouldn’t allow his EGO to get in the way of common sense! He appears to be a camera moth!Mayor Daley won’t be around to protect him anymore!

    • Liz

      EGO – Edging God Out!

  • mike

    Father Pfeger seems to forget that the church is not about him. Thank God Jesus didn’t “take his ball and go home” when things got tough for Him. Arrogance is a sin also.

  • Dennis Barker

    I say let him go to another Church. as he says he will do. Just let him go. If I wre to tell my boss no I am not going to do that i would be fired.. He is no different. Priest have always been told to move to another church at some point and they go as told by there boss. Yes Cardinal George is a boss just like any other boss. Either do as asked or be fired or removed..

  • Bevmom

    How about that vow of obedience that Catholic priests take at ordination? Father Pfleger seems t have forgotten some basic tenets of being a CATHOLIC priest. He’s correct; he should probably look elsewhere since he has already considered the option. He is a good man. He seems to have strayed from being a good priest.

    • Had Enough

      From what I understand from a parishioner, most of the congregation is not Catholic.
      Perhaps Father Pfleger is simply angry at loosing his venue since acting as president of St. Leo would give him access to the same type of facilities as a parish church. It’s unfortunate, but Father Pfleger seems to have no regard for the organization to which he declared vows of obedience. His extended stay is remarkable. However, what makes him believe his replacement could not breathe new blood into St. Sabina? He really does appear to be very self-centered and self-serving. And to all who would call this criticism racist, I would say exactly the same if he was serving a white, north side parish, so think twice before calling others racists without any type of intelligent validation.

    • Adrienne Bowers

      I think botth Francis Geroge and the catholic church are both hypocrites.They hid pedophiles moving them from one parish to another , not letting the parishioners know about these pedophiles. The catholic church was always known as a racist organization. I bet most of the negative comments are coming from white folk.

      • Maggie

        Cardinal George is acting within his rights as a cardinal and he seems to have very valid reasons for asking Father Pfelger to change. Also, you indicated the “Catholic Church” as you tried to state, is not a hypocrite. The molestation fiasco was truly an insult to the Catholic Church and its members. A few bad apples will not ruin and do the message of Christ and being a Catholic. Adrienne, you are not Catholic and so are in no position to sit on the sidelines and throw stones like a bully does. You know nothing about what the Catholic Church is and what it has done to help people of all races and nations in the world. You are more than likely a blood sucker and probably a racist yourself. It is clear to me that people who easily call others racist are in fact themselves racist and have a need to project their feelings onto other innocent people who are not. This has been proved over and over again. Father Pfleger really has already left the Catholic Church. He is just leaving in his usual mojo.

  • tony c

    leave the man alone.all you finger pointing hypocrites.

  • Red

    He certainly was successful at St. Sabina but why not share that success model and preach at a church in the westside African American community? He entered and vowed to serve the Catholic Church as a whole, not a single entity, St. Sabina. If he truly loves the church and preaching his message there are many neighborhoods in chicago that could use him. He’d still be close to his family parish and work with them to help all of Chicago be successful in the christian way.

  • Philip J. Wayne

    I attended St. Sabina’s for 18 months and knew Pfleger personally….he is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing….he talks the Christian talk but his actions often contradict the teachings of Christ. I vividly remember the day the Wheaton College choir was at his Church and he called Nicole Simpson white trash. He is full of himself with his PFLEGER license plate. Pfleger, explain your relationship with the Nation of Islam leader…..thirty years is too long….he wasn’t mistreated….time to leave the priesthood.


    One thing he has not forgotten are his Christian beliefs, he is a man of God, he has kept St. Sabina opened, darn near every Black Catholic Parrish is closed near this community, and wanting him to take over Leo is a copout, someone wants him out of the pulpit, why, because he is feeding the people, someone doesn’t want him to feed the flock, and to take the story further, sounds like they want the flock to dry up and go away, like the other parrishes close by, why don’t you leave the man alone, he is doing GODS work, and when you interfere with that, I don’t want to even go there, leave the man alone, let him do what he has been doing, 79th street has been cleaned up, the parrish is striving, he even has a senior-citizen facility there, why would someone want to derail this man’s great work, that is the real question, you can’t derail him, but the parrish will not be fed if the man is gone!

    • Philip J. Wayne

      I will say it one more time….from my personal experience with him…he IS NOT a man of God….he is a manipulative….cult leader who is a hypocrite….he talks the Christian talk, but he does not practice it. It is all about him being the center of attention. All the good works in the world are meaningless if they don’t flow from a relationship with Christ. He doesn’t have a realtionship with Christ.

    • TrueCatholic

      He’s not “feeding his people” as a Catholic priest. I will say that he has done great things for the community (though I cant’ help but wonder, at least when he’s on TV, why is he always talking about fighting and looking for conflicts that don’t even exist? Fighting is what got that neighborhood into trouble in the first place, isn’t it? So why perpetuate it?).

      He is leading people away from the true beliefs of the Catholic faith. He has made himself and his preaching more important than the Sacraments. Obviously, he thinks much of his preaching abilities, that it is more important for him to preach anywhere, in any church, than to preside over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

      Leave him alone? Happily, as soon as he admits that he is NOT Catholic, and stops lying to his parishioners about being a Catholic priest.

  • Mary Lynn Carver

    Wow, you people are harsh! How about a little Christ-like compassion? Both of these men have valid points, but their delivery is less than appropriate. Jesus always helped people come to their own realizations of their faults, then he forgave them! We need voices like Rev. Pfleger’s. We need passionate people who truly want to work for justice. Today’s church is more about control than social justice, so there’s the conflict. I hope they will both prayerfully reflect on the consequences their actions and statements are having on the perception of the church and on the people who need them to be adults and work it out.

    • Philip J. Wayne

      If a person is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing as I discovered personally, it is my responsibility to point it out. This cult leader is leading people to a path, not centered in Christ…but in him…..this will lead to hell.


    I am not Phillip Wayne, that comment above by him, is right out of Fox News, Father Pfleger is one of few Priest’s that reads out of the bible, and he has his congregation bringing their bible’s to church or mass, whatever, the man is a Champion and the power’s that be don’t like this Champion!

    • Philip J. Wayne

      I despise Fox NEWs ….I am a lefty and never listen to anything from Fox News. My comments come from 18 months with this fool.

    • Philip J. Wayne

      Remember that even Satan has a complete knowledge of the bible….he can reguritate the words quite nicely, but he is evil through and through.. So is Pfleger.

  • mike

    i agree with philip wayne. when i met father pfleger , he wouldn’t give me the time of day because i couldn’t do anything for him. he doesn’t run a parish, he runs a cult

  • Jim Ruiz

    As this story unwinds, we are increasingly seeing the true Father Pfleger come out. How sad it is to see that all these years of his civil rights efforts were driven by his ego and by the worthiness of the cause. Cardinal George’s wisdom is beyond his years.

  • Jimm Ruiz

    Meant to say “How sad it is to see that all these years of his civil rights efforts were driven by his ego and NOT by the worthiness of the cause.”

  • Michael Anderson

    Father Pfleger has had HIS way for too many years. It is time for him to saty out of the mediia and do as he is told for once. After all, it was believed that he helped get the public high school in the neighborhood (Calumet) closed so a charter school could convieniently be opened giving him a school to feed his 8th graders from St Sabina to. Leo (Catholic HS) is only a few blocks away. It has always seemed that he has never been on good terms with them. It is time for him to move on.

  • Patrick Callahan

    Calling the Cardinal’s bluff. I sincerely hope the Cardinal doesn’t give in. I encourage people to visit the Saint Sabina website, take note of what is missing from their “mission” or “vision”. They never mention they are a Catholic Church. “Word based”, “Third-day”, and others describe them. Since Father Pfleger has chosen to abandon using Catholic in a description, he should feel free to go elsewhere. While physically he has not left the Catholic Church, materially he has.

  • Mr. Justice

    It seems to me, that Pfleger missed the spiritual principle of “submitting to spiritual authority”.


    If ego was based on money, this fake would be a billionaire. A vanity license plate with his name on it? I believe that says it all. This is not a man of God,this a man full of himself and can’t bare the thought he might not be top dog much longer.Can I get an Amen?

  • Justice...



      Thank you.

  • Jim


  • tunafish charlie

    PFLEGER should be POPE


      Charlie,He thinks he is!

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