By Richard Muhammad
and Kenneth Muhammad
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) – A wildly cheering crowd at St. Sabina Catholic church recently welcomed back Father Michael Pfleger. The activist Catholic priest, who was suspended over remarks made about the presidential run of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, returned to the pulpit of his south side parish after a near two-week suspension.
“I will not let my faults or imperfections cause me to run and hide, nor allow them to cause me to play it safe or become silent,” Father Pfleger told a spirited standing room only audience. The sanctuary was so packed some congregants had to sit in the lobby. Applause was constant during the 10 a.m. mass that ended at noon.
The priest, surrounded by church board members in a June 22 show of unity, thanked those who supported him and acknowledged those who offered him places to stay. Father Pfleger had to move out of the church rectory during his suspension.
He thanked the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and other leaders for words of encouragement and assured parishioners he remained “committed to the gospel of justice.”
His sermon was devoted to the theme of making a comeback and the priest vowed to do more–starting with church services in the streets. As ushers passed out fliers featuring boxer Muhammad Ali and the slogan, “Ain’t nothing like a comeback,” Father Pfleger expressed a determination to withstand opponents and even death threats.
When you challenge injustice and racism, “you will have a YouTube moment,” Father Pfleger said. He was referring to clips of a speech at Trinity United Church of Christ about racism that was excerpted and broadcast over the internet. Cardinal Francis George suspended Father Pfleger June 3 after a media firestorm over his remarks about Mrs. Clinton, White privilege and entitlement. The controversy that followed led to condemnation from Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and his resignation from Trinity United Church of Christ.
“Stumbles will shake you. Stumbles will also purify you. They will cause you to ask yourself what really matters,” Father Pfleger told the audience. He urged parishioners to recommit to joining him as a cadre of activists committed to meeting challenges without fear.
The true legacy of the church, seen in the lives of the prophets and Jesus Christ, is an activism that challenges injustice, Father Pfleger said. Their lives, and the lives of outspoken religious leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., prove controversy follows those who oppose the status quo, he said.
Congregation mobilizes to support punished priest (FCN, 06-18-2008)
Father Michael Pfleger’s Interview with Fox News (Video – 04-2008)