May 20, 2011: Fr. Michael Pfleger says he's grateful that Francis Cardinal George reinstated him as pastor of St. Sabina's
Fr. Michael Pfleger on Friday was reinstated to full sacramental and pastoral ministry at St. Sabina Catholic Church.
Pfleger last month was suspended by Francis Cardinal George in the wake of comments Pfleger made during an appearance on a National Public Radio program.
"If my remarks in a radio interview seemed to be a threat to leave the priesthood, I am sorry. That was not my intention," Pfleger said in a statement posted to the website of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Pfleger said he would prepare a transition plan for the cardinal by Dec. 1.
"In our conversations, Cardinal George and I recognized that the Church has been hurt, and this concerns us both," wrote Pfleger. "For the people of St. Sabina and the Church as a whole, I will do all in my power to foster healing for all. We trust in the healing power of God."
George called Pfleger's statement a "genuine step toward healing the hurt and clarifying the confusion," and said he was "personally pleased" to restore Pfleger to his duties.
Fr. Andrew Smith, from St. Ailbe Parish, had temporarily taken over pastoral duties at St. Sabina's. During a service earlier this month, Smith called Pfleger's suspension a "slap in the face for the African-American community" and said he believed his stay at the church would be brief.
Pfleger will take part in Sunday's services at the church. Sunday is also Pfleger's 62nd birthday.
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