The Saint Sabina leadership held an 11:45 a.m. press conference in front of the Archdiocese Pastoral Center, 835 North Rush, to demand that the Review Board decide on Father Michael L. Pfleger’s case when it meets Saturday, November 19th.
The announcement was made late Tuesday, November 15th, during a special corporate prayer service held at the church on behalf of Father Pfleger who remains isolated from his church, members, and the Auburn Gresham community.
Father Pfleger’s nightmare, the second one in a year, began on Friday, October 14, 2022, when he was notified by Cardinal Blase Cupich that the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review had received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against him.
“The abuse is alleged to have occurred more than 30 years ago,” wrote Cardinal Cupich. “In keeping with our child protection policies, Father Pfleger has been asked to step aside from ministry and live away from the parish while the allegation is investigated.
“He has agreed to cooperate fully with this request. As is required by our child protection policies, the allegation was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the law enforcement officials,” wrote Cupich.
A corporate prayer was held at Saint Sabina late Tuesday, November 15, 2022, and the previous Tuesday calling on the independent review board to make a “swift” decision on Father Pfleger’s case and to restore him fully as their pastor.
Scores of members attended the prayer service many wearing black, red and green T-shirts that read, “We Stand With Father Michael Pfleger.”
Several of them spoke of their “unwavering faith and steadfast support” of Father Pfleger and asked that the review board’s purpose findings and recommendations be based on the truth and wisdom, having experience, knowledge, and sound judgement and for this case to come to a final resolution on November 19th.
Rhonda Travis, a member of Saint Sabina, said a prayer for Father Pfleger “for peace of heart and mind, for direction and discernment and strength to stand” strong during his isolation from the church and community. “We are praying for the full exoneration, restoration, and return of our Senior Pastor, Rev. Michael Louis Pfleger,” she said.
A strong supporter of Father Pfleger is Rev. Dr. Paul Jakes, Jr., pastor of the New Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church, said, “Father Pfleger is an honorable man who stands for people who have been unjustly treated by society.
“Michael Pfleger practices the love of Jesus Christ speaking on issues of sin,” Jakes said. “Father Pfleger is a priest who practices Christian ethics which is why he stands for children and families who have been marginalized by circumstances like inadequate housing, food deserts, inadequate health care, the lack of decent clothing and the gut-wrenching violence that has taken the lives of hundreds of youths.
“Our community needs hope,” Rev. Jakes said, “and many are traumatized because of these conditions. However, the silver lining behind the dark clouds has been Father Pfleger. He brings the spirit of peace in our city. He provides care for the poor and the needy people.”
Rev. Jakes said he “believes in the character of this man of God for he stands in the gap to bring light in darkness, prosperity in calamity and lift peoples who are burdened by society. Please restore this man of God so he can continue to lead his flock and community in the right direction.”