WBEZ | Father Michael Pfleger http://www.wbez.org/tags/father-michael-pfleger Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Neighborhood pushes, pulls Auburn Gresham teenager toward adulthood http://www.wbez.org/content/neighborhood-pushes-pulls-auburn-gresham-teenager-toward-adulthood <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-15/JUSTIN IRVING 001.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/33727518?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="601" frameborder="0" height="338"></iframe></p><p>At 17, Justin Irving is an Auburn Gresham transplant. He and his mother and sisters moved to the South Side neighborhood four years ago. Justin’s mom works long hours to support their family, and Justin says that’s given him an appreciation for how strong many women are. Stronger than a lot of men, he says.</p><p>But there are times when all her efforts haven’t been enough to keep everything going at home—like last year when the electricity was shut off.</p><p>That family dilemma had Justin seeking out the help of St. Sabina Church at 79th and Racine. The church is one of the most visible landmarks in the neighborhood, and its pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, is a community institution in his own right.&nbsp;</p><p>“Father Mike” helped the family with the power problem, and offered something even more important to Justin—his support and advice.</p><p>We hear them both reflecting on the community and their relationship in this story.</p><p><em>Auburn Gresham, Chicago&nbsp; received support from the Chicago Community Trust’s Local Reporting initiative.</em></p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 14:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/neighborhood-pushes-pulls-auburn-gresham-teenager-toward-adulthood Juneteenth celebration coincides with rally to end War on Drugs http://www.wbez.org/story/juneteenth-celebration-coincides-rally-end-war-drugs-88015 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-17/IMG_2998.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Friday marks the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's "War on Drugs." And this weekend is African American emancipation day, otherwise known as Juneteenth.&nbsp; For some there's a connection easily drawn between the two anniversaries.<br> <br> A hundred or so people gathered during the Friday lunch hour in the food court of the Thompson Center. They were there to commemorate the end of U.S. slavery in 1865. Chicago radio personality Darryll S. King emceed the event.</p><p>At one point she remarked, "But ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls - were the slaves really free? When they were free did they have education, could they write could they read? No."<br> <br> Just up the escalator and out the door at the Thompson center, hundreds rallied for an end to the War on Drugs. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Father Michael Pfleger and other community leaders lent their voices.</p><p>Pfleger whipped up the crowd and said, "There is not a war on drugs, there is a war on the poor and a war on people of color!"</p><p>Nancy Michaels works at the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation and is one of the rally's organizers.</p><p>Regarding the Juneteenth event happening simultaneously downstairs, she remarked, "There are more black men incarcerated today than there were in 1850, so there's just an interesting irony with this falling on the same day."<br> <br> Celebrations for Juneteenth will continue throughout the weekend.<br> <br> <br> <br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 20:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/juneteenth-celebration-coincides-rally-end-war-drugs-88015 Father Pfleger reinstated to St Sabina for now http://www.wbez.org/story/father-pfleger-reinstated-st-sabina-86846 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-21/Father Pfleger at pulpit_Getty_Erik Lesser.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 5/23/11 at 9:13pm</em></p><p>Outspoken Catholic priest, Rev. Michael Pfleger, returned to the pulpit of St. Sabina Church on Sunday where he celebrated mass for the first time since his suspension. &nbsp;</p><p>Pfleger, who also celebrated his 62nd birthday on Sunday, received a standing ovation, but also apologized for his role in a high-profile standoff with the Archdiocese of Chicago during the past three weeks that left him banned from pastoral ministry and threatening to leave the Catholic church entirely.</p><p>Pfleger, the longtime pastor of the parish, was suspended last month after remarking during a National Public Radio interview that he would leave the church rather than be removed from St. Sabina Church, which he has headed for more than 30 years.</p><p>Previously, the Archdiocese had asked Pfleger to consider leaving the parish to take over leadership of a nearby Catholic high school.</p><p>In suspending Pfleger, Cardinal Francis George said if that was the priest’s attitude, he had already left the Catholic Church and therefore was "not able to pastor a Catholic parish."</p><p>Pfleger apologized for the remark Friday in a statement. He said he didn’t intend it as a threat to leave the priesthood, and he was committed to working with George to spread the Gospel.</p><p>The Archdiocese of Chicago announced Friday that it had reinstated Pfleger to full sacramental and pastoral ministry. Pfleger also said he will prepare a transition plan that he will present to George and the Priests’ Placement Board by Dec. 1.</p><p>"For the people of St. Sabina and the Church as a whole, I will do all in my power to foster healing for all," he said. "We trust in the healing power of God."</p><p>In reinstating Pfleger, George said the remarks made to National Public Radio seemed to place the priest outside the Catholic Church and constitute a threat to leave the priesthood. George said in a statement that he and Pfleger discussed how the church has been wounded and the need to find a way to heal the hurt and confusion.</p><p>"Father Pfleger’s statement, which he discussed with me, is a genuine step toward healing the hurt and clarifying the confusion," George said.</p><p>Pfleger has gained national attention for his protests of everything from gun violence to Jerry Springer’s television show. A white priest who runs a largely black parish, he has made racial equality a large part of his mission and appeared with major civil rights leaders.</p><p>He often wears African-style robes during services, and a mural of a black Jesus is behind the altar. Both of his adopted sons are black.</p><p>Pfleger has long appeared to have a strained relationship with the Chicago Archdiocese, which opposed his decision to adopt children. However, in his letter announcing the suspension, George said he has consistently supported Pfleger’s work for social justice and admired his passion for ministry.</p><p>Pfleger’s public comments have gotten him in trouble before. In 2008, he was suspended for nearly two weeks after mocking then-Sen. Hillary Clinton during her presidential run. Pfleger, who was preaching from the pulpit of President Barack Obama’s former Chicago church, pretended he was Clinton crying over "a black man stealing my show." He later apologized.</p><p>The latest disagreement stemmed from reports the archdiocese has wanted to put Pfleger in charge of a Catholic high school.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 20 May 2011 21:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/father-pfleger-reinstated-st-sabina-86846 St. Sabina protests suspension of Father Pfleger http://www.wbez.org/story/st-sabina-protests-suspension-father-pfleger-85817 <p><p>Members of St. Sabina Catholic Church marched in front of the home of Chicago's top Roman Catholic leader today. They protested Cardinal Francis George's decision to suspend their outspoken priest, Father Michael Pfleger.<br> <br> Two busloads from St. Sabina started out in front of the Cardinal's home, but police said they couldn't protest there, and shuffled them across the street to a park. They bowed their heads in prayer.</p><p>The parishioners came to ask the Cardinal to meet with them and to lift Father Pfleger's suspension. The Cardinal suspended Pfleger after he reportedly said he'd consider leaving the Catholic church, rather than accept a transfer to serve at a Catholic high school.</p><p>In a letter, Cardinal George said that violated Pfleger's vows to obey, adding, "If that truly is your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church, and therefore are not able to pastor..."</p><p>He asked Father Pfleger to take a few weeks to pray over the situation. In the meantime, Father Pfleger will keep the office of pastor, "but without permission to function."</p><p>But St. Sabina leaders said the Cardinal took Pfleger's remarks out of context.</p><p>Isadore Glover Jr., who chairs the parish council, said there's a succession plan underway for Pfleger to mentor a priest who will replace him in a few years.</p><p>"It is not Father Pfleger or his remarks that have short-circuited the process, but rather the Archdiocese who has never honored the St. Sabina transition planning process," Glover said.</p><p>Associate minister Dr. Kimberly Lymore said Pfleger feels hurt, angry and disrespected.<br> <br> "This has hit us like a ton of bricks, but we are not down, and we are not lifeless," she said.</p><p>The church leadership said the parish was devastated. They said media learned about the suspension Wednesday afternoon before the parish or Father Pfleger did.<br> <br> Pfleger's assistant, Vince Clark, said Pfleger and the church's reaction was: "Shock, devastation, we all feel the same pain, we were blind-sided yesterday."<br> <br> Clark said St. Sabina's the only place many parishioners feel welcome as African-Americans in the church.<br> <br> "You can't just put a rent-a-priest in St. Sabina church and think you're going to have business as usual," he said. "That's not it, the people there want more. They want to be black and Catholic without giving up either one."<br> <br> He predicted some members will leave St. Sabina if Pfleger does.<br> <br> His wife, Cheryl, is one of them. She said the situation has been going on too long, and she'd "absolutely not" stay if the priest is compelled to go.<br> <br> "You pray and you pray things will get better, but it gets to the point at which you become outraged," Cheryl Clark said.<br> <br> The Archdiocese of Chicago had no further comments today. They directed people back to the Cardinal's letter released Wednesday, saying it "provides extensive and clear information."</p></p> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/st-sabina-protests-suspension-father-pfleger-85817 Cardinal suspends Father Pfleger http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-suspends-father-pfleger-85775 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20080623_slecci_2228382_Reve_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Archdiocese of Chicago has suspended a popular South Side Catholic priest from his parish.</p><p>Cardinal Francis George said St. Sabina’s Father Michael Pfleger needs to take a few weeks to pray over his priestly commitments.</p><p>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.</p><p>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."</p><p>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."</p><p>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.</p><p>"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.</p><p>Pfleger could not be reached for comment.</p></p> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 00:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-suspends-father-pfleger-85775 Cardinal suspends outspoken Catholic priest Father Pfleger http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-suspends-outspoken-catholic-priest-father-pfleger-85770 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-28/Pfleger AP File.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The head of the Archdiocese of Chicago has suspended an outspoken South Side pastor.</p><p>Father Michael Pfleger is known as a charismatic and popular priest with a gift for preaching, who's campaigned against alcohol and tobacco bill boards, gun shops and racism. But he's also gotten heat for some controversial actions, like his mocking of Hillary Clinton that led to a leave of absence in 2008.</p><p>Father Michael Pfleger reportedly had threatened to quit the Catholic Church if he was made to take an assignment running a Catholic school and leave St. Sabina Catholic Church, where he's served for three decades.</p><p>In a letter released Wednesday, Cardinal Francis George said that violated Pfleger's vows to obey.<br> <br> The Cardinal said, "If that truly is your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church, and therefore are not able to pastor a Catholic church."</p><p>The Cardinal also said Father Pfleger had publicly "misrepresented" their discussions about the possible reassignment to the school.</p><p>He told Father Pfleger, "This conflict is not between you and me; it's between you and the Church .... If you now formally leave the Catholic Church and her priesthood, it's your choice and no one else's. You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements."</p><p>He asked Father Pfleger to take a few weeks to pray over the situation while his ministry is suspended. That means Father Pfleger keeps the office of pastor, "but without permission to function."<br> <br> In the meantime, the Cardinal appointed St. Sabina's associate pastor to minister, and Father Andrew Smith from St. Ailbe Catholic Church to help.<br> <br> Father Smith said, "It's a difficult situation, and Father Mike has done a lot of good things."</p><p>He said he wished Father Pfleger well.</p><p>But Father Smith also described the Cardinal as "a very good man," and said the church, like any institution, has rules and regulations.</p><p>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.</p><p>"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.</p><p>Father Pfleger could not be reached for comment.</p></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 23:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-suspends-outspoken-catholic-priest-father-pfleger-85770 Cardinal George suspends Father Michael Pfleger http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-george-suspends-father-michael-pfleger-85765 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20080623_slecci_2228382_Reve_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Cardinal Francis George has suspended the controversial Father Michael Pfleger from his ministerial duties at St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side. In a letter released to the media Wednesday afternoon, George said the suspension stems from remarks Pfleger has made to the media complaining of his potential reassignment to Leo High School.</p><p><em>See the full letter below:</em></p><blockquote><p>Reverend Michael L. Pfleger<br> Pastor<br> Saint Sabina Catholic Church<br> 1210 W. 78th Place<br> Chicago, IL 60620<br> Dear Father Pfleger:<br> April 27, 2011<br> Chicago, Illinois 60690-1979<br> Several times in recent years you have told me that you do not want to remain as Pastor of Saint Sabina Parish for the length of your priestly ministry in the Church. Each time we discussed the subject, it was clear that there was no other assignment that would make equally good use of your talents in ministry and that it would also be difficult to find another pastor to take up your ministry at Saint Sabina's with comparable fervor.</p><p>Some months ago, however, an opening at Leo High School for the presidency of a fine school very important for the mission of the Church 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 causes dear to you: education in the African American community, control of gun violence, service to the poor in the name of Christ. As you know, this was an honest offer, not driven by pressure from any group but by a pastoral need in the Archdiocese. You promised to consider what was a proposal, not a demand, even as I urged you to accept it.</p><p>Your written response to me after our preliminary conversation left open some possibility of your serving at Leo, and I continued discussions with those who are involved in priest transfers in the Archdiocese: the Priests' Placement Board, the Vicars for Priests, the Episcopal Vicar. The process would have necessarily involved conversations with Leo to clarify the position of President and see if you could meet their expectations, with the parishioners of Saint Sabina's to speak about their pastoral needs, and with priests who might be candidates to take your place as pastor, should that become necessary.</p><p>Even as these conversations began or were being planned, 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. In all other cases, priests are reassigned, moving from one pastoral office to another according to the policies in place for the last forty years.</p><p>That process has now been short-circuited by your remarks on national radio and in local newspapers that you will leave the Catholic Church if you are told to accept an assignment other than as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish. If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish. A Catholic priest's inner life is governed by his promises, motivated by faith and love, to live chastely as a celibate man and to obey his bishop. Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church.</p><p>Bishops are held responsible for their priests on the assumption that priests obey them. I have consistently supported your work for social justice and admired your passion for ministry. Many love and admire you because of your dedication to your people. Now, however, I am asking you to take a few weeks to pray over your priestly commitments in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church.</p><p>With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended. The official rescript will follow, but this suspension permits you to retain the office of pastor while temporarily without permission to function. During this time, Father Thulani Magwaza, who is well known to the people of Saint Sabina's as your Associate Pastor, will be administrator of the parish, and Father Andrew Smith, a Chicago African-American priest currently at Saint Ailbe Parish, will assist him.</p><p>Father Pfleger, I deeply regret that your public remarks have brought you to a moment of crisis that I pray will quickly pass. This conflict is not between you and me; it's between you and the Church that ordained you a priest, between you and the faith that introduced you to Christ and gives you the right to preach and pastor in his name. If you now formally leave the Catholic Church and her priesthood, it's your choice and no one else's. You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements. To avoid misrepresentation and manipulation on anyone's part, this letter will be released to the parish, which is to publish it in its entirety, and to the media after it has been delivered to you.</p><p>You remain in my prayers, and I hope I remain in yours.<br> Sincerely yours in Christ,<br> Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.<br> Archbishop of Chicago</p></blockquote></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 21:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-george-suspends-father-michael-pfleger-85765 Pastors ask Cardinal to keep Father Pfleger at St. Sabina http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-francis-george/pastors-ask-cardinal-keep-father-pfleger-st-sabina-84285 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-March/2011-03-25/IMG_5233.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>About two dozen pastors gathered today asking Cardinal Francis George to allow a fiery priest to remain at his church.</p><p>Father Michael Pfleger has served at St. Sabina Catholic Church for three decades.<br /><br />The cardinal's asked him to take on a new assignment, but Father Pfleger wants to stay. So many pastors gathered to support that wish today that they had trouble fitting on the stage.<br /><br />The Rev. Rod Reinhart is pastor at St. Clement's Episcopal Church in Harvey.</p><p>&quot;He has spoken up for our young people, and he has said we must protect our children from violence and from crime and from drugs and from all the terrible things that can touch the lives of young people today,&quot; Rev. Reinhart said.<br /><br />The pastors acknowledged it's rare for the Roman Catholic church to let a priest remain in one spot. But several of them asked Cardinal George to make an exception.</p><p>Rev. Reinhart puncutated his plea with a request for an &quot;Amen,&quot; and got a resounding &quot;Amen&quot; in reply.<br /><br />Father Pfleger said he was touched by their support, and that he hasn't heard anything new from the Cardinal. He declined to say anything more.<br /><br />The Archdiocese of Chicago declined comment.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 20:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/cardinal-francis-george/pastors-ask-cardinal-keep-father-pfleger-st-sabina-84285 Father Michael Pfleger: Radical Disciple http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/father-michael-pfleger-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93radical-disciple%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/848_20090828a_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>Father Michael Pfleger's actions might lead many, including those in the archdiocese, to wonder does he follow God's voice or his own. It's no secret that the white leader of the predominately black&nbsp;<a href="http://www.saintsabina.org/" target="_blank">St. Sabina Church</a> in Chicago is influenced by Rev. Martin Luther King's activism. His campaigns against urban blight have gained him national recognition. A new documentary, <em>Radical Disciple</em>, explores this activism and its clash with the archdiocese. Filmmaker and documentarian Bob Hercules discusses the project.<br> <br> <strong>Screening:</strong><br> <em>Radical Disciple</em> premieres&nbsp;Tonight, August 28&nbsp;at 8:15 p.m.<br> <a href="http://www.artic.edu/webspaces/siskelfilmcenter/calendar.htmlhttp://www.artic.edu/webspaces/siskelfilmcenter/2008/august/http://www.artic.edu/webspaces/siskelfilmcenter/2008/august/1.html1.html" target="_blank">15th Annual Black Harvest International Festival of Film and Video</a> at the Gene Siskel Film Center&nbsp;<br> Also screening Sunday at 5 p.m.</p></p> Fri, 28 Aug 2009 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/father-michael-pfleger-%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C5%93radical-disciple%C3%A2%E2%82%AC%C2%9D