WASHINGTON–Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George on Tuesday removed Father Micheal Pfleger as pastor at St. Sabina’s following his taking the pulpit at Trinity United Church of Christ on May 31 to ridicule Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at what had been the Obama family church. In the wake of the incident, the Obamas’ quit the church last Friday. In a statement released on Tuesday, George said Pfleger, an activist priest who championed the underdog, was also asked to take a couple of weeks off of his pastoral duties for a period of reflection.
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS CARDINAL GEORGE, O.M.I.,
ARCHBISHOP OF CHICAGO
June 3, 2008
To put recent events in some perspective, I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabinas Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today.
Fr. Pfleger does not believe this to be the right step at this time. While respecting his disagreement, I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Churchs regulations for all Catholic priests. I hope that this period will also be a time away from the public spotlight and for rest and attention to family concerns.
I hope also that the life of St. Sabinas parish may continue in uninterrupted fashion. Fr. William Vanecko, Pastor of St. Kilians parish, will be temporary administrator of St. Sabinas and will assure the full complement of ministerial services during this period. I ask the members of St. Sabinas parish to cooperate with him and to keep him and Fr. Pfleger in their prayers. They are in mine.