WBEZ | archdiocese of chicago http://www.wbez.org/tags/archdiocese-chicago Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Survivors, lawyers say documents prove priest sex abuse cover-up http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/survivors-lawyers-say-documents-prove-priest-sex-abuse-cover-109557 <p><p>Newly released documents offer the most sweeping look yet at how the Archdiocese of Chicago has handled cases of sexual abuse by priests. Attorneys and victims contend they provide clear evidence of a cover-up that started in the 1950s and continues today.</p><p>Victims&rsquo; attorneys put 6,000 pages online Tuesday. They detail alleged abuse by 30 priests against about 50 victims.</p><p>Kathy Laarveld&rsquo;s son was one of those molested by a priest. For years, she was a staunch supporter of her parish. She was the secretary, the cook, even did the laundry for the priests, who were regular dinner guests.</p><p>She had no idea that Vincent McCaffrey, one of these priests she trusted, was abusing her son.</p><p>&ldquo;McCaffrey actually took advantage of my son on his First Communion in my home, in front of my family,&rdquo; Laarveld said.</p><p>It was not until her son told her about 10 years ago -- 20 years later -- that she learned the truth. McCaffrey admitted during court hearings to molesting so many children that he lost count. The documents show he offended at every parish where he served, including that of Laarveld and her son.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t forgive myself, I&rsquo;m his mother. I would have jumped in front of a bus or a train before I would ever have let anybody touch him,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Laarveld and her husband, Jim, are among survivors of priest sex abuse and their families who worked to get these papers released. Their attorneys say they refused to settle their cases unless the files went public.</p><p>The 30 priests described in the documents are about half the number the Archdiocese lists as credibly accused.</p><p>Attorney Jeff Anderson, who represented victims in these cases, spell out the accusation of a cover-up. He said, &ldquo;Priests were offending children, and they made intentional and conscious choices to conceal that, protect the priests, protect the reputation of the Archdiocese, and in effect conceal the crime and give safe harbor to the offender.&rdquo;</p><p>The documents show that offending priests moved in and out of treatment and from parish to parish, over and over, without the old parish or new one knowing what had happened.<br /><br />They show monitoring failed repeatedly. Priests and nuns who were selected to keep abusive priests from re-offending told the highest church officials they were not clear what their jobs were. They told officials the priests were breaking restrictions and hanging around kids again. And often, the records show, nothing was done.</p><p>&ldquo;It shows a pattern of repeated abuse, repeated allegations, the Archdiocese working hard to keep that all bottled up in secret and then transferring these gentleman from one parish to another so they can abuse again,&rdquo; said Chicago Marc Pearlman, who has represented nearly 100 victims along with Anderson.</p><p>&ldquo;What is striking to me is every file is very similar,&rdquo; Pearlman added. &ldquo;Each file tells the same story. The only difference is the perpetrator&rsquo;s name and the victims&rsquo; names.&rdquo;</p><p>Consider the case of Daniel Holihan. In 1986, a mom wrote to Cardinal Joseph Bernardin to tell him that the kids called Holihan &ldquo;Father Happy Hands.&rdquo;</p><p>Holihan was reportedly touching and fondling many boys and bringing them to his cottage. When the police showed an abuse-prevention movie on &ldquo;good touch, bad touch,&rdquo; a bunch of boys told their teacher it had happened to them.</p><p>The State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office found at least 12 cases with credible evidence, but did not charge Holihan.&nbsp; A letter thanks the office for its efforts to &ldquo;minimize the negative impact on the parish.&rdquo;</p><p>The documents show the Archdiocese moved Holihan to senior ministry, but let him serve in a parish on weekends for a number of years.</p><p>The Archdiocese has apologized for its handling of cases such as this. In a statement, it&nbsp; acknowledged that leaders &ldquo;made some decisions decades ago that are now difficult to justify.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;The pain and the suffering of victims and their families is just something that continues to haunt me, and I think it is also a terrible thing for the church,&rdquo; said Bishop Francis Kane, who oversees pastoral care for the Archdiocese.</p><p>But Kane denied there was an orchestrated cover-up. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t believe there was ever an intention to hide what has happened,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What happened, I believe, is we&rsquo;ve had a change in understanding. Forty years ago when many of these incidents took place, we treated sex abuse in a very different way.&rdquo;</p><p>The Archdiocese points out that nearly all these cases happened before 1988. None of the 30 priests remain in active ministry. Half are dead.</p><p>The attorneys for the victims do acknowledge some things are better, including a program to help victims and training to recognize abusers.</p><p>But they say they see signs of similar patterns still occurring.</p><p>In the past decade, Father Joseph Bennett was accused of multiple allegations, including penetrating a girl&rsquo;s rectum with the handle of a communion server. In a letter to the Gary (Ind.) Diocese, asking for help monitoring Bennett, the Archdiocese said it only knew of one allegation.</p><p>Attorney Jeff Anderson points out review board reporting to Cardinal Francis George -- Bernadin&rsquo;s successor -- recommended Bennett&rsquo;s removal from priesthood.</p><p>&ldquo;Cardinal George, instead of following that recommendation, took the Bennett file and made his own determination, notwithstanding the fact one of the witnesses in that file described Bennett&rsquo;s scrotum,&rdquo; Anderson said.</p><p>The Cardinal said in documents that he interceded to make sure Bennett -- who, like many of the priests, has maintained his innocence -- had a canon lawyer.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s an excerpt from a letter the Cardinal wrote to a Bennett supporter:</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/letter.PNG" style="height: 370px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p>It is this kind of response that angers Kathy and Jim Laarveld. They say their family has&nbsp; paid a high cost for priest sexual abuse, and how the Archdiocese handled it.</p><p>Jim no longer goes to Mass. Kathy tries, but she sometimes starts to sob when she begins to walk into church.</p><p>She says their son, as a boy, was carefree, a firecracker. Now he is a compassionate man who has struggled because of the abuse.</p><p>&ldquo;I look at him and I see the day he was born, all the hope, all the love, the sparkle in his eye, and his face,&rdquo; Kathy said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a very playful individual, but he&rsquo;ll catch himself, and I say, &lsquo;Go for it. Be that little boy you could never be. You always had that over your head.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Her husband, Jim, plans to look at the documents. Their parish had two abusive priests at the same time.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to hurt, although we know a lot of what&rsquo;s in there, I&rsquo;m sure there&rsquo;s stuff we don&rsquo;t know,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to hurt my son. Hopefully we can be with him when he looks at it, because I don&rsquo;t want him to be alone.&rdquo;</p><p>Kathy Laarveld expects that pain will be short-lived. She thinks seeing the documents -- and the acknowledgement this all happened -- will help her son, and her entire family, to heal.</p><p>And she hopes it brings healing to others as well.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:31:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/survivors-lawyers-say-documents-prove-priest-sex-abuse-cover-109557 Parishioners watch as demolition of historic Chicago church begins http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/130626_St. James demolition_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About a dozen parishioners stood outside in the rain Wednesday and watched as crews with sledgehammers started tearing down the roof of St. James Catholic Church in Chicago.</p><p>Parishioners have been<a href="http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/"> trying for months</a> to save the historic Bronzeville church designed by architect Patrick Keely in 1875.</p><p>At one point during the demolition, the small group of parishioners and preservationists broke out in a chorus of &ldquo;We Shall Overcome.&rdquo;</p><p>As pieces of the roof crashed down, author Mary Pat Kelly could be heard repeatedly crying, &ldquo;No.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly wrote a book based on the life of her great-great-grandmother, who worshipped at St. James. The church is significant to the city&rsquo;s Irish history, Kelly said.</p><p>&ldquo;For the Irish community, this is an icon, this is a shrine. To knock it down is beyond belief, especially because since then, the African-American community has maintained it, and it has become a symbol of their triumph over adversity.&rdquo;</p><p>Another spectator, 10-year-old Evelyn Wright, was there with her mom, who went to school there. Evelyn said she was sad because her mom was sad.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody&rsquo;s heartbroken,&rdquo; the girl said. &ldquo;You would never think that a place like this would - it would be tore down.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservationists said the church didn&rsquo;t need to be demolished. Ward Miller, board president of Preservation Chicago, said some developers were interested in restoring or reusing it.</p><p>A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago declined to comment.</p><p><br />Katie Kather is an Arts and Culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/ktkather">@ktkather</a>.</p></p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 Churches take ‘leap of faith’ on Emanuel water deal http://www.wbez.org/news/churches-take-%E2%80%98leap-faith%E2%80%99-emanuel-water-deal-107089 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/burke.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Church leaders took a &ldquo;leap of faith&rdquo; Wednesday and got behind Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s compromise plan to charge non-profits for city water, after some last-second lobbying that ended with unanimous City Council approval.</p><p dir="ltr">The city will now charge non-profits based on a sliding scale, determined by their net assets. Groups and churches with less than $1 million in net assets will still get free water, while groups that are worth more than $250 million would pay full price.</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel, aldermen and religious leaders whispered near the City Council bathrooms moments before the roll call vote - a rare scene for a legislative process where most votes are decided long before they hit the council floor.</p><p dir="ltr">A coalition of religious groups had objected to the plan, arguing that some old churches wouldn&rsquo;t get a break because they&rsquo;re situated on valuable land. Chicago&rsquo;s Catholic leaders were also worried that their 200 churches and 90 schools wouldn&rsquo;t qualify for any individual exemptions because they are all technically owned by one entity, the Archdiocese of Chicago.</p><p dir="ltr">Coalition leaders claim they had the City Council votes to block the mayor&rsquo;s plan, but withdrew their opposition after gaining assurances that administrative rules would later be written in their favor.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In exchange for that commitment, we have - we have said we will support the passage of the ordinance today, and we will work it out,&rdquo; said Chancellor Jim Lago, with the Archdiocese of Chicago. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a leap of faith, and we&rsquo;re looking for the goodwill of those who will be in the room with us, and we expect that.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Lago would not say whether he trusted Emanuel to make sure nonprofits don&rsquo;t take a big hit when the rules for collecting water fees are written, but he said negotiations would continue in the coming weeks.</p><p dir="ltr">The mayor took heat from Chicago&rsquo;s non-profit community when he first proposed taking away free water as part of his plan to balance the city budget in 2011. He <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-backtracks-hiking-water-costs-nonprofits-106884">backed off</a> a bit with his compromise proposal last month, but church leaders were concerned about how the city would calculate net assets.</p><p dir="ltr">After Wednesday&rsquo;s City Council vote, Emanuel maintained he struck a fair balance.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think we&rsquo;ve done it in a thoughtful way, reflective of every one of the non-for profits&rsquo; and religious entities&rsquo; different roles in the community - meaning, their net value - but nonetheless ended the practice where the taxpayers were on the hook for everybody else,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p dir="ltr">During his campaign, Emanuel vowed to stop giving away city water and sewer service to nonprofits - a freebie he estimates costs the city $20 million a year.</p><p><em>Alex Keefe is a WBEZ political reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 08 May 2013 18:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/churches-take-%E2%80%98leap-faith%E2%80%99-emanuel-water-deal-107089 Lost Chicago landmark: the old Old St. Mary's http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/lost-landmark-old-old-st-marys-106901 <p><p>The Archdiocese has delayed demolition of St. James Church. That calls to mind a historic church that wasn&#39;t saved: the old Old St. Mary&rsquo;s.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/05-01--Old St. Mary's (1955).jpg" style="width: 260px; height: 390px; float: right;" title="The old Old St. Mary's, 1955 (author's collection)" /></div><p>St. Mary of the Assumption was the city&rsquo;s first Catholic church, built in 1833 on Lake Street west of State Street. Three years later the building was moved to Michigan Avenue and Madison Street. In 1843, when Chicago was established as a diocese, a new St. Mary&rsquo;s Cathedral was constructed at the southwest corner of Madison Street and Wabash Avenue.</p><p>The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed St. Mary&rsquo;s Cathedral. Afterward the Catholic bishop decided to rebuild his cathedral in Holy Name parish. He also purchased the five-year-old Plymouth Congregational Church at 9th and Wabash, rededicating it as St. Mary&rsquo;s Catholic Church. The parish was placed under the direction of the Paulist Fathers order of priests.</p><p>The decades passed, and the South Loop went into a long decline. Anyone with money moved out. By the 1930s the area was mostly commercial&mdash;and what wasn&rsquo;t commercial was slum. Aging gracefully while&nbsp;the neighborhood&nbsp;deteriorated, the church remained one rock of stability. People began calling it Old St. Mary&rsquo;s.</p><p>As early as 1904 the Paulists organized a male choir. However, the Paulist Choristers really came into their own after Father Eugene O&rsquo;Malley took over in 1928. At its peak the choir had 65 singers and was internationally famous. When Bing Crosby played a &ldquo;singing priest&rdquo; in the movie <em>Going My Way</em>, his character was named&mdash;not coincidentally&mdash;Father O&rsquo;Malley.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/O%27Malley%2C%20Fr.%20Eugene.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 375px; float: left;" title="Father Eugene O'Malley (author's collection)" /></div><p>The church was distinctive in other ways.</p><p>&quot;Old St. Mary&rsquo;s runs along without the Holy Name society, the Altar &amp; Rosary society, and the young people&rsquo;s sodalities that help the pastor in most parishes,&quot; a 1955 article reported. &quot;It has no parishioners except a few permanent residents&nbsp;of the big Michigan Avenue hotels. Yet Old St. Mary&rsquo;s is filled every Sunday.&quot;</p><p>The church was filled even&nbsp;at 3 a.m, for its night-owl Mass. In those days Catholics were expected to attend weekly Mass on Sunday itself, and not on &quot;anticipated&quot; Saturday evening. I made it to a number of those services in my college days, and always ran into someone I knew.</p><p>The old Old St. Mary&rsquo;s was torn down in 1971. The official explanation was that the building had become too expensive to repair. The gossip was that Standard Oil wanted the land for its new headquarters, and Cardinal Cody sold the property for a nice price.</p><p>Standard Oil eventually built on another site. From 1971 until 2002 the parish operated out of a church at Wabash and Van Buren. The newest Old St. Mary&rsquo;s is located at 1500 South Michigan Ave.</p></p> Thu, 02 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2013-04/lost-landmark-old-old-st-marys-106901 Historic church’s date with wrecking ball may be delayed http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-church%E2%80%99s-date-wrecking-ball-may-be-delayed-106924 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo3(3).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Archdiocese of Chicago is now saying it doesn&rsquo;t have a set date to demolish a historic church.</p><p>The 133-year old St James Catholic Church was slated for demolition Wednesday. But in a statement, the archdiocese said there are &ldquo;many ongoing conversations&rdquo; about preserving the building.</p><p>Eileen Quigley, who&rsquo;s with the group of parishioners fighting to keep the church open called the Friends of St. James, said she was surprised to hear that. She said her group has repeatedly asked the archdiocese for more dialogue, but hasn&rsquo;t heard back.</p><p>&ldquo;We are hoping that maybe this is a sign that they heard at least part of our call. One part is to stop the demolition, but is not really finished until we can get back in there, we can get them to agree to let us go back in there and pray,&rdquo; Quigley said.</p><p>The parishioners appealed the archdiocese&rsquo;s decision to tear down the building to the Vatican and are waiting to hear back.</p><p>The Archdiocese said the parish remains subject to a court order which prohibits use and occupancy of the structure.</p><p>In a recent letter to Peter Borre, a canon law consultant based in Boston who has been working with the Friends of St James, Ald. Robert Fioretti said the city has not asked the archdiocese to demolish the building or to pay fines.</p><p>The court case filed by the city was based on an inspection that found several safety issues in the church, which has been closed to worship.</p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 09:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-church%E2%80%99s-date-wrecking-ball-may-be-delayed-106924 A historic Chicago church says good-bye to its bells http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bell.jpg" title="St. James Church in Bronzeville has been closed for almost four years. Despite parishioners’ efforts to save the church, it’s starting to be slowly dismantled. (Adriana Cardona/WBEZ)" /></p><p>Workers took down the bells at St. James Church in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood Wednesday.<br /><br />The Archdiocese of Chicago plans to demolish the 137-year-old building, despite efforts by the Friends of Historic St. James, a group of parishioners that have been advocating to save the church.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think the cold and rainy weather reflects the sadness and tears that many of us have seeing these bells being removed,&rdquo; said Dave Samber, who&rsquo;s at the forefront of the advocacy efforts. &ldquo;This is the beginning of what could very well be an end, but it doesn&rsquo;t have to be.&rdquo;</p><p>Samber said his group, the Friends of Historic St. James, still has time to reverse the Archdiocese&rsquo;s decision. Parishioners appealed to the Vatican earlier this month to halt the demolition and to suspend the removal of parochial goods, and are waiting to hear back.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">A private real estate developer has said he&rsquo;s committed to investing $5 million to help restoration efforts.</div><p>But the Archdiocese of Chicago said the total cost for restoration is $12 million. In a statement, the Archdiocese said it can&rsquo;t afford to renovate the building and instead will invest $7 million to build a new church a block away on Michigan Avenue.</p><p>&ldquo;The Archdiocese feels that it would be fiscally irresponsible to renovate the existing building &hellip; The new St. James Church will better serve the parish, the parishioners and the community in the future,&rdquo; the statement said.</p><p>According to the Archdiocese, the new St. James Church will seat 500 people. In the meantime, the parish will hold mass in its current parish center, and operate its food pantry, as it&rsquo;s been doing while the church building has been vacant.</p><p>The organ and the bells will be saved for use in other Archdiocesan parishes, a spokeswoman said. Demolition is slated to start May 1.</p><p>But Eva Leonard, who&rsquo;s attended St. James for 30 years, said she won&rsquo;t let go of her church that easily.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are going to move back in there,&rdquo; Leonard said.&nbsp; &lsquo;Cause this is what we want to do. It&rsquo;s my only Catholic church; [I] can&rsquo;t see it torn down, no way.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservation Chicago Board President Ward Miller said he expected to see more dialogue between the Archdiocese and its congregation.</p><p>&ldquo;The Cardinal should have come out with his people, he should have talked to all of us. There just has been dead silence for all of us,&rdquo; Miller said.</p></p> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 20:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/religion/historic-chicago-church-says-good-bye-its-bells-106708 Death comes for the archbishop http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-10/death-comes-archbishop-96087 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-10/Mundelein arrival_Schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>February 10th might have been Chicago's day of infamy--the date remembered for the greatest mass murder in our history.</p><p>The year was 1916. George Mundelein had just arrived in Chicago to take charge of the Catholic archdiocese. At 43 he was young for an archbishop. Now the leaders of the city and state were giving him a welcoming banquet at the University Club.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-03/02-10--Mundelein arrival_0.jpg" style="width: 490px; height: 326px;" title="Archbishop Mundelein (center) arriving in Chicago (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News)"></p><p>About 300 people were present. Mundelein sat at the head table next to Illinois Gov. Edward Dunne. During the first course one of the guests felt faint. He got up from his chair, then collapsed.</p><p>The man was helped from the room. Waiters opened windows, thinking tobacco smoke had knocked him out. Soon other people complained of upset stomachs. They were led away. A few doctors followed to help.</p><p>The trouble was traced to the soup. The doctors thought the bouillion in it had spoiled, and that the victims were suffering from ptomaine. The banquet went on. Most of the remaining guests refused to eat anything except the ice cream.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-03/02-10--kitchen at University Club - Copy.jpg" title="University Club kitchen (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News)" width="490" height="326"></p><p>Over a hundred diners had been stricken, most of them violently ill. After further investigation, public health officials made a chilling announcement. This had not been a case of accidental ptomaine--someone had laced the soup with arsenic!</p><p>Suspicion immediately fell on one of the cooks, a man named Jean Crones. He was nowhere to be found. Police searched his apartment. They found numerous phials of poison and piles of anarchist literature.</p><p>Authorities speculated that the poisoning was part of a larger anarchist plot. Labor leader Bill Haywood was questioned, and said "All I know about it is what I read in the papers." One of Haywood's friends claimed that the whole incident was a police scheme to frame radicals.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-03/02-10--authorities examine poison found at Crones_0.jpg" title="investigators search Jean Crones's apartment (Library of Congress/Chicago Daily News) " width="490" height="325"></p><p>All the poison victims recovered. Jean Crones turned out to be an Italian anarchist named Nestor Dondoglio. He was never caught.</p><p>Mundelein himself came through the evening just fine--he had not eaten the soup. He knew his church had enemies, but was unafraid. "The man who would be guilty of such a plan is a crank or mentally unbalanced," the archbishop said.</p><p>Then he smiled and added, "It takes more than soup to put me out."</p><p>George Mundelein was later named a cardinal, and remained Chicago archbishop until his death in 1939.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-10/death-comes-archbishop-96087 Chicago aldermen: Who's going to get all those water infrastructure jobs? http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-aldermen-whos-going-get-all-those-water-infrastructure-jobs-93384 <p><p>Chicago aldermen aren't raising much of a stink over Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to boost water fees to pay for new water and sewer lines. But they are concerned over who'll get those construction jobs.</p><p>Ald. Ariel Reboyras said at a city council budget hearing Friday that initially he was skeptical, but now understands the need for a water fee hike. The he asked water commissioner Tom Powers who would be doing the $4.3 billion in work - city crews or outside contractors?</p><p>"It won't be outsourced, is what I'm saying," Reboyras asked. "Some of it I can understand."</p><p>"Yeah, some of it will be [outsourced] and some of it won't be," Powers replied. "It'll be a blend, just like we have now."</p><p>Ald. Scott Waguespack told Powers he hopes that blend includes more city workers than outsiders, especially in a time of high unemployment.</p><p>"It sounds like it's such a massive project that there are really people in the city that could get those jobs," Waguespack said.</p><p>Most city council resistance to Mayor Emanuel's big water proposal has to do with non-profits and churches. Right now most don't have to pay for their water, but if the mayor gets his way, they soon will.</p><p>Several influential aldermen, including Finance Committee Chair Ed Burke, have spoken out against that proposal.</p><p>The Archdiocese of Chicago estimated the fee change could cost its schools and parishes $1.5 million extra per year. Chancellor Jim Lago said the archdiocese is "seriously concerned," given that many city parishes already operate on budgets that are "running on the margin."</p></p> Sat, 22 Oct 2011 00:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-aldermen-whos-going-get-all-those-water-infrastructure-jobs-93384 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 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