Cardinal suspends Father Pfleger

April 28, 2011

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The Archdiocese of Chicago has suspended a popular South Side Catholic priest from his parish.

Cardinal Francis George said St. Sabina’s Father Michael Pfleger needs to take a few weeks to pray over his priestly commitments.

The cardinal wanted to reassign Pfleger to a presidency at Leo High School. Pfleger has said Catholic right-wingers have been trying to push him out of St. Sabina.

But George said Pfleger has publicly misrepresented their conversations and threatened to leave the Catholic Church. In a letter to Pfleger, George wrote that violated his vows: "If that truly is your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church, and therefore are not able to pastor a Catholic church."

The letter also said: "This conflict is not between you and me ... You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements."

Elaine Albert lives in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood, where St. Sabina is located. She said Pfleger has done important work such as trying to stop gun violence.

"He has supported and been a tremendous priest throughout our neighborhoods and he helped us tremendously. And just the thought of him not being here would be very, very bad," Albert said.

Pfleger could not be reached for comment.

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