Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the reinstatement of Father Michael Pfleger to active ministry

Archdiocese of Chicago IL

May 24, 2021

[Note from BishopAccountability.org: Cardinal Cupich’s letter was revised shortly after its publication on May 24, 2021. Initially, the first sentence of the second paragraph read: “The Review Board has concluded that there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations.” The word “no” was changed to “insufficient,” but not before the “no reason” version had appeared in early reports by WGN and CBS 2. See our caches of these initial reports by WGN and CBS 2.]

Dear Members of the Faith Community of St. Sabina,

Thank you for your patience and prayers during the absence of your senior pastor. Father Michael Pfleger. As you know, earlier this year the archdiocese received allegations of child sexual abuse against Father Pfleger. In accordance with our policies for the protection of children and youth, the archdiocese Independent Review Board assisted by our Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review and outside investigators conducted a thorough review of the allegations.

The Review Board has concluded that there is insufficient reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations. Having given careful consideration to their decision, which I 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 the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. I have asked Father Pfleger to take the next two weeks to prepare himself spiritually and emotionally to return, realizing that these months have taken a great toll on him. He has agreed to do so.

The weekend he will return is the Feast of Corpus Christi when we celebrate that we are one in the Body of Christ, sharing each other’s joys and sorrows. It is in this spirit that I ask you to welcome back Father Pfleger, thereby helping him take up again the ministry that has distinguished St. Sabina in the archdiocese and beyond.

This past year has been a time of great trial for us all, and our church, our city and society are in need of your witness to Jesus’ love. Please know you will have my support and prayers as you continue to be a light in the community.

Sincerely yours,

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago