Father Pfleger reinstated as senior pastor of St. Sabina

By Chicago Catholic
Wednesday, December 14, 2022

On Dec. 10, Cardinal Cupich sent a letter to members of the Faith Community of St. Sabina informing them that he had reinstated senior pastor Father Michael Pfleger, who was removed from ministry on Oct. 15 following the report of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

“As you know, earlier this year the archdiocese received allegations of child sexual abuse against Father Pfleger,” Cardinal Cupich wrote. “In accordance with our policies for the protection of children and youth, the archdiocese’s Independent Review Board, assisted by our Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review and outside investigators, conducted a thorough review of the allegations.” The cardinal continued: “The Review Board has concluded that there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations. Having given careful consideration to their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger to his position of senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, effective immediately. I want to recognize that these months have taken a great toll on Fr. Mike and all of you, and I am committed to do everything possible to see that his good name is restored.”

Pfleger addressed parishioners at the 5 p.m. vigil Mass on Dec. 10.

“I thank you for believing in me. I thank you for never giving up on me,” Pfleger said. “This has been very painful. It would be twice in a row in, like, 2½ years. But two things, God is faithful. God is faithful no matter how bad things look.”

The date of his reinstatement is significant for him, he said.

“12/10. That’s the address of St. Sabina. That’s your home.”

At the start of his homily for the 10 a.m. Mass on Dec. 11, he gave thanks.

“First, thank you to God for his faithfulness, for keeping me and holding me and protecting me, keeping me from losing my mind,” he said.

He also thanked the close group of friends who supported him while he was away.

“I want to thank my St. Sabina family,” he said. “I thank you for standing by me and believing in me that you know who I am for 47 years. I thank you for your support.”

The many texts, emails and cards he received from parishioners while away from the parish helped him, he explained.

“You kept me lifted. You held my arms up on the days I could not hold them up,” he said. “There have been times when I just wanted to call it quits, to just leave. I keep saying, ‘You’re 73. What are you doing? Why are you working so hard?’” Pfleger pledged to “continue to use my voice to fight for justice. That’s my faith. That’s who I am. That’s my DNA.”


  • father michael pfleger
  • clergy sexual abuse

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