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Cardinal George lifts Father Pfleger’s suspension

May 23, 2011

Father Michael Pfleger celebrated Sunday Mass at St. Sabina Parish after Cardinal Francis George lifted his suspension of the priest’s faculties. The cardinal had suspended Father Pfleger after the priest told National Public Radio that he would rather leave the Church than accept a new position as a high school principal.

“If my remarks in a radio interview seemed to be a threat to leave the priesthood, I am sorry,” Father Pfleger said in a May 20 statement. “That was not my intention. I am committed to the priesthood and the Catholic Church. I believe all who know me know well that I want to be a Catholic priest. I have spent the last 36 years of my life trying my best to preach the Gospel, be a voice for justice and the poor, and build up the Church.”

“Cardinal George has asked, and I agree, that we move toward creating a plan of transition for the future of St. Sabina,” he added. “In conversation with the people of St. Sabina and our Episcopal Vicar, Bishop Joseph Perry, I will prepare a transition plan for St. Sabina to present to the Cardinal and the Priests’ Placement Board by December 1, 2011. Cardinal George and I are committed to work together to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in his Body, the Church.”

“After the remarks Father Pfleger made on National Public Radio, which seemed to place himself outside the Church and constitute a threat to leave the Catholic priesthood, I asked Father Pfleger to take time to pray about his personal faith and his commitment to the Catholic priesthood,” said Cardinal George. “In the past month, Father Pfleger and I have discussed how the Church has been wounded and how necessary it is to find a way to heal the hurt and confusion. Father Pfleger’s statement, which he discussed with me, is a genuine step toward healing the hurt and clarifying the confusion.”

“Many people have been personally affected by these events, including the people of St. Sabina Parish, and I hope that our statements now will bring the peace necessary to strengthen the mission of the Church,” Cardinal George added. “I am personally pleased to restore Father Pfleger to his sacramental and pastoral ministry at St. Sabina and in the Archdiocese of Chicago. With him, I ask the Lord to bless him and the people he loves.”


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  • Posted by: hartwood01 - May. 25, 2011 5:31 PM ET USA

    Or, he could be left there for another 30 yrs, and maybe aspire to be king, as he is calling the shots.

  • Posted by: Louise01 - May. 24, 2011 1:10 AM ET USA

    Disappointed in Cardinal George!

  • Posted by: impossible - May. 23, 2011 10:57 PM ET USA

    Cardinal George has either not heard or has no clue to the truth that the mere absence of war does not constitute peace. Pflelger has not changed his spots, and soon Cardinal George will realize that there has not been an end to the hostilities. What a horrible example to his flock on the virtue of obedience. The word "spineless" comes to mind. The words, "derelection of duty" also come to mind.

  • Posted by: imanxufan9901 - May. 23, 2011 10:39 PM ET USA

    Is this a joke or what?

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - May. 23, 2011 6:34 PM ET USA

    Yes, the whole thing is tiresome indeed. Shows me that the search for a bishop with a backbone goes on.

  • Posted by: Hal - May. 23, 2011 3:23 PM ET USA

    Good grief. That "statement" was so obviously the work of the archdiocesan press official as to be laughable. Well, whatever, at this point I suppose. The whole thing is tiresome.

  • Posted by: - May. 23, 2011 1:19 PM ET USA

    Well , at least his transition out of that parish, where he did so much harm, is moving forward. The Cardinal needs to get someone in there who will teach the faith, not simply grind a left-wing political axe!

  • Posted by: DrJazz - May. 23, 2011 5:50 AM ET USA

    Essentially, having a temper tantrum in public got him a 7-month delay of his transfer. Imagine this exchange with your child: "Daddy, I don't want to go to school!" "OK son, I'll give you 7 months to prepare a transition plan from home to school, but you must present it to your mom and I by December 1, 2011.” Come to think of it, this is how modern parents are with their children. Yikes.

  • Posted by: DrJazz - May. 23, 2011 5:49 AM ET USA

    His apology is baloney. Translated, he is saying: IF (and only IF) my remarks in a radio interview (on some lil' ol' backwater station, to which almost no one listens) SEEMED (in the obviously incorrect opinion of someone with gravely skewed perception) to be a threat to leave the priesthood, then (and ONLY then) am I sorry (but otherwise, I am NOT sorry).

  • Posted by: garedawg - May. 23, 2011 3:00 AM ET USA

    Man, they must have one heck of a priest shortage. I wish I could publicly shoot my mouth off like that on the job and be able to come back a few days later.