For over 40 years, Fr. Michael Pfleger has led the southside predominately Black catholic church in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. As Pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger has advocated for the poor, disenfranchised, and the least of these. He has been on the front lines fighting injustice, racism, and economic disparity in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood he has called home for the past four decades.
From fighting one-sided advertisements and billboards of liquor and tobacco in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood to protesting gun shops that sell weapons to criminals to protesting food desserts, gun violence, the influx of drugs into the community, and more, Fr. Michael Pfleger has repeatedly been subject to the rebuke of the Archdiocese. He has often drawn the ire of Catholic leadership for encouraging and teaching diverse theological thought by inviting guests of different faiths and denominations to speak at the southside church.
Five months ago, Fr. Michael Pfleger saw his world turned upside down with allegations of misconduct from decades ago. Forced to leave his home, he sat in isolation unable to speak out on his own behalf while his name and ministry were questioned and attacked.
Fr. Michael Pfleger returned to St. Sabina as senior Pastor preaching his first service on June 6. After 5 months of investigation, the Archdiocese cleared Fr. Michael Pfleger of any wrongdoing of abuse fully reinstating him as senior pastor. After being unable to speak about the allegations, Fr. Pfleger spoke with the Chicago Defender about what the past five months have been like, how he plans to help his congregation heal, and what his plans are for the future.
Danielle Sanders is a journalist and writer living in Chicago. Find her on social media @DanieSanders20 and @DanieSandersOfficial.