By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, Illinois, June 4, 2008 ( – The Catholic Archbishop of Chicago has relieved temporarily the outspoken Rev. Michael Pfleger from his parish duties after the Catholic priest’s sermon mocking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at rival Barack Obama’s former church drew nationwide attention.

For nearly 27 years Rev. Pfleger had worked as the controversial pastor of the predominately black parish of St. Sabina’s on Chicago’s south-side, when Francis Cardinal George, Chicago’s Archbishop, ordered him to take a leave of absence. Cardinal George and Rev. Pfleger have been at an impasse for years over the priest’s outspoken political and social activism in Chicago, where the Cardinal’s vain attempts to bring Rev. Pfleger in line with Catholic discipline were met by the priest with threats of leading St. Sabina into schism.

However Rev. Pfleger’s Obama imbroglio at Trinity United Church of Christ appears to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Cardinal’s decision to remove the pastor, however, has angered many parishioners at St. Sabina’s, where Rev. Pfleger was long ensconced.

“To put recent events in some perspective, I have asked Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina’s Parish, to step back from his obligations there and take leave for a couple of weeks from his pastoral duties, effective today,” Cardinal George said in a statement Tuesday.

“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 church’s 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.”

Throughout his pastorate Rev. Pfleger has involved himself on the one hand in aggressive ministry efforts to tackle head-on prostitution, drug-dealing, gun-violence, and other urban woes that included challenging TV and radio personalities Jerry Springer and Howard Stern. On the other hand, he has also advocated black liberation theology with its racial vitriol, engaged in intimidating protests, and endorsed and invited pro-abortion activists and politicians to speak at his parish, including the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The priest has also adopted two sons in violation of Church regulations. He also had a foster-son, who was gunned down in 1998.

The public exposure has also revealed that Rev. Pfleger may have seriously violated St. Sabina’s and the Chicago Archdiocese’s 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. The blog American Thinker revealed that a search of Illinois’ State Board of Elections database of political contributions showed St. Sabina itself had donated $5325 to various political campaigns.

Rev. Pfleger’s personal donations to political candidates since 1995 totals $5,075, and his primary contributions to Obama total $1500.

Rev. Pfleger has apologized for his sermon and for the past two weeks has stayed away from the political spotlight.  His sermon – which entertained the parishioners of Trinity Church – can be seen here on YouTube:

 “When Hillary was crying … I really don’t believe it was put on,” said Rev. Pfleger in the speech. “I really believe that she just always thought ‘This is mine. I’m Bill’s wife. I’m white. And this is mine’.” Rev. Pfleger then said, “Then out of nowhere came, ‘Hey I’m Barack Obama’. And she said, ‘Oh damn! Where did you come from? I’m white! I’m entitled! There’s a black man stealing my show!’”

Rev. Pfleger pulled out a handkerchief, dabbed his eyes in imitation of Clinton, saying, “She wasn’t the only one crying. There was a whole lot of white people crying … I’m sorry. I don’t wanna get you in any more trouble. The live streaming just went out again.”

See Rev. Michael Pfleger Mock Hillary on YouTube:


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