The parish responded to the previous allegation of abuse against Pfleger by withholding its monthly contributions to the archdiocese — around $100,000 a month — until the abuse investigation was completed. The parish said it would not use the funds for “ministry, outreach, or any current or future programs” and would pay the archdiocese in full “at the conclusion of the investigation.”
CNA reached out to the Archdiocese of Chicago for comment but did not receive a response. Walsh also could not be reached for comment.
A Chicago native, Pfleger has often spoken out against gun violence in the city’s South Side that has afflicted his parishioners at St. Sabina’s, a predominantly African-American parish community. Pfleger has served as the pastor of St. Sabina since 1981.
In his Oct. 15 statement, Pfleger said his status as a “high-profile,” “outspoken,” and “controversial” person has engendered “jealousy, attacks, and hate.”
“Let me be clear — I am completely innocent of this accusation,” he wrote. “It seems like most of my ministry I have spent fighting to stay a priest and to continue the work of justice, and to serve the good people of St. Sabina’s and our community. I cannot express how difficult, disruptive, and painful this process is to me and those who are close to me.”
Some of the priest’s words and actions have put him at the center of controversy. The late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago suspended Pfleger in 2011 after the priest threatened to leave the priesthood if George reassigned him. The cardinal later accepted Pfleger’s apology and reinstated him as St. Sabina’s pastor. In 2019, Cupich publicly denounced Pfleger’s decision to invite Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to speak at St. Sabina.
Pfleger has voiced support for the ordination of women as Catholic priests, though the doctrine that priestly ordination is reserved only to men is to be held definitively as belonging to the deposit of faith.