Carnage from the Audacity to Speak

June 8, 2008 at 5:23 pm (anti-oppression, anti-racism)

Carnage from the Audacity to Speak

Father Michael L. Pfleger, one of the strongest supporters of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc. and a 2009 Beautiful Are the Feet honoree, is now in the fight of his life for his thirty-three year ministry and his pastorate at The Faith Community of Saint Sabina.

Francis Cardinal George, Archdiocese of Chicago, has stripped Father Pfleger of his pastoral leadership and authority for an indeterminate length of time.  Father Pfleger, affectionately called Father Mike, has been one of the most prophetic voices and activist advocates for the poor, the marginalized, the disenfranchised and for African Americans in Chicago and throughout the nation.  The decision by the Cardinal, and the manner in which it is being implemented, reflect total disregard and disrespect for Father Mike and The Faith Community of St. Sabina.

Father Mike was stripped of all pastoral authority.  He cannot preside over a previously scheduled funeral and wedding this week and was informed that another priest, yet to be named, will perform both ceremonies. The funeral is one of a longtime member, and the wedding is that of a couple who had been estranged from the Catholic Church until invigorated by Father Mike’s prophetic teachings and moved to join St. Sabina.

Father Mike was told mid-morning on Tuesday, June 3rd, that he was on administrative leave, effective immediately. He was ordered to vacate the premises by evening. He protested and was allowed to stay just one night. He had to find new accommodations by June 4th.  This order was given after the Cardinal first asked Father Mike to request a leave under the guise of “stress” because his father is dying.  While Father Mike is indeed dealing with his father’s physical illness and journey, he declined to participate in this convenient charade.

A priest from a languishing nearby parish has been assigned as interim administrator despite qualified and experienced pastoral and lay leadership who are already in place at St. Sabina and have frequently functioned in Father Mike’s absence.

This gross disregard for the welfare of Father Mike and The Faith Community of St. Sabina appears as one more sign that the agenda afoot is to silence, marginalize and vilify prophetic voices for justice in this nation.

The manner in which the Cardinal has acted, effectively rendering Father Mike homeless with less than 24-hour notice and sending in an interim administrator, is unwarranted and unprecedented.  The Cardinal has shown more tolerance and compassion for priests accused and convicted of pedophilia, than he has shown to Father Mike and the faithful parishioners of Saint Sabina.

A prayer vigil was held on the evening of June 3rd at the church. Please click here for a statement from the leadership of Saint Sabina for you.  We need a national response.  Please email or call the archdiocese and voice your concerns.

The Cardinal’s email address is vocations@archchicago.org .  The phone number is (312) 751-8230.

Please hold The Faith Community of Saint Sabina and Father Mike in your prayers.  Feel free to stay in contact with us as we share this journey.

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