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St. Sabina Congregation Protests Pfleger Suspension

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 29, 2011 5:30PM

Today in the tete a tete between Cardinal Francis George and St. Sabina Parish's Rev. Michael Pfleger - St. Sabina parishioners protested their pastors suspension by marching outside the Cardinal's residence.

The show of support for Pfleger highlighted the challenges George faces in his attempts to reassign the popular priest at St. Sabina. Pfleger has done much to help his congregation and the larger Auburn Gresham community in three decades at the parish, and those ties are almost as strong as blood bonds. Supporters of Pfleger said that George misconstrued His remarks to Tavis Smiley that he would consider leaving the Church if reassigned. We feel it's hard to misinterpret Pfleger's remarks to Smiley:

“I want to try and stay in the Catholic Church. If they say you either take this principalship of a high school or a pastorship there or leave, then I have to look outside of the church.”

Pfleger's supporters are angry about the way George is going about his dealings with the priest, contending that the leader of Chicago's Catholic Church never discussed Pfleger's reassignment with them. (Not that he has to.) They wish for Pfleger to remain at St. Sabina as "pastor emeritus," while George's waiting-in-the-wings replacement for Pfleger, Rev. Thulani Magzawa, gets acclimated to the parish. But that may not work, either, given the mere presence of Pfleger at St.Sabina.

At this point, Pfleger and George have drawn their lines in the sand, and this is turning into a battle of egos as much as it is a case of George reassigning Pfleger in the best interests of the Archdiocese..