Father Michael Pfleger celebrates the first mass after a 5-month break due to allegations of abuse

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CHICAGO (WLS) – Father Michael Pfleger presided over a Sunday mass for the primary time in 5 months.

Pfleger was being investigated for sexual abuse after two grownup brothers accused the priest of assaulting them a long time in the past once they have been youngsters.

The Archdiocese of Chicago investigated the accusation and stated that “there aren’t sufficient causes to suspect that Father Pfleger is responsible”.

Final month Cardinal Blase Cupich reinstated Pfleger, who claimed his innocence.

Pfleger was cheered on by scores of supporters final month as he spoke exterior the Catholic church of Santa Sabina, the place he has been working for many years.

“I wish to thanks for not operating away and hiding,” he advised his parishioners. “Thanks for preserving my voice on the market after I had no voice.”

Pfleger stated he’s additionally desperate to get again on the streets to fight the issue of gun violence within the metropolis.

Director Spike Lee was amongst 300 parishioners who enthusiastically greeted the priest’s return to a church the place many have been right here for as lengthy, if not longer, than Pfleger.

“We missed him a lot. I knew it in my coronary heart. I knew on a regular basis in my coronary heart that he was coming residence,” stated parishioner Cassie Sanders-Brown.

A preferred however controversial determine, Father Pfleger, has typically been at odds with church officers. And sooner or later he wanted police safety due to his social activism. It’s his recognition throughout the S. Sabina group that has saved him on the helm even throughout this newest storm.

“That is my coronary heart, that is my residence. I missed individuals,” stated Father Pfleger.

Now clear from the allegations in opposition to him, Pfleger has made it clear, each after the service, however particularly throughout this one, that he is not going to change his methods anytime quickly.

“As Muhammad Ali stated. When you’re mendacity on the ring ground. The bottom isn’t the place for a champion. So whether or not you prefer it or not. I bought up and the combat continues to be occurring,” he stated.

Father Michael Pfleger was reinstated final month as pastor of the Catholic Church of Santa Sabina on the South Aspect of Chicago.

Pfleger had been under investigation by the archdiocese of Chicago after two males got here ahead claiming they have been sexually assaulted by Pfleger.

An archdiocese assessment committee discovered that there are “inadequate causes to suspect that Father Pfleger is responsible of sexual abuse allegations” after a months-long investigation.

A moved Pfleger spoke in tears on Monday in entrance of dozens of supporters who gathered in entrance of the church the place he has been working for many years.

“I have been pissed off, I have been offended. I have been depressed. And I have been discouraged. I’ve at all times been clear with my members, with my household, with my mates,” Pfleger stated. “I’m a person of religion, however I’m additionally a human being who bleeds.”

RELATED: Illinois DCFS Closes Investigation of Father Michael Pfleger

In January, two grownup siblings from Texas filed lawsuits in opposition to the enduring South Aspect pastor. Each males claimed they have been harassed by Pfleger within the 1970s.

Pfleger asserted his innocence.

“My shoppers have supplied particulars not solely about sexual abuse, the alleged sexual abuse, however they might inform you what Father Pfleger’s bed room seemed like within the rectory 40 years in the past,” stated Gene Hollander, the prosecutors’ lawyer. “They may describe the paintings on the partitions. They may inform you what was in his file assortment. In order that info may be very, very important.”

Hollander stated his shoppers are each very disillusioned, however the brothers are nonetheless completely satisfied to have come ahead to inform their fact.

“They bought concerned and most of the people would not,” he stated.

“I believe we needed to belief the archdiocese course of,” stated Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “That course of is now over. And I’m grateful that Father Mike will return to Santa Sabina. And I’m positive they are going to rejoice in that entire group because of this.”

Cardinal Blase Cupich stated he requested Pfleger to take the following two weeks to arrange himself spiritually and emotionally for his return, realizing that these months have weighed closely on him.

WATCH: Spike Lee surprises Father Pfleger

“Let’s return to work and kick the satan’s ass! We’re prepared,” Pfleger stated.

The Survivor Community for Priest Abused Survivors calls on the Archdiocese of Chicago to be extra clear about its investigation course of in all sexual abuse circumstances that come to the assessment committee.

Full letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich:

Pricey Members of the Religion Neighborhood of Santa Sabina,

Thanks to your endurance and prayers throughout your senior pastor’s absence. Father Michael Pfleger. As you recognize, earlier this 12 months the archdiocese obtained allegations of kid sexual abuse in opposition to Father Pfleger. In accordance with our insurance policies for the safety of youngsters and younger individuals, the Archdiocese’s Unbiased Overview Board, assisted by our Workplace of Little one Abuse Investigation and Overview and exterior investigators, performed an in-depth evaluation of the allegations.

The Overview Board concluded that there are inadequate grounds to suspect that Father Pfleger is responsible of those costs. Having rigorously thought-about their choice, which I settle for, I now inform you that I’m reinstating Father Pfleger in his place as Senior Pastor of the Neighborhood of Religion of Santa Sabina, ranging from the weekend of June 5-6, 2021. I’ve requested a Father Pfleger to take the following two weeks to arrange himself spiritually and emotionally for his return, realizing that these months have weighed closely on him. He agreed to do it.

The weekend he’ll return to is the feast of Corpus Domini, after we rejoice that we’re one within the Physique of Christ, sharing each other’s joys and sorrows. It’s on this spirit that I ask you to welcome Father Pfleger again, thus serving to him to renew the ministry that distinguished Saint Sabina within the archdiocese and past.

This previous 12 months has been a time of nice testing for all of us, and our church, our metropolis and society want your testimony of Jesus’ love. Please know that you should have my assist and prayers. as you proceed to be a light-weight locally.

Sincerely yours,
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago

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