Cardinal reinstates longtime priest

May 21, 2011 at 11:22 PM
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CHICAGO, May 21 (UPI) -- A Catholic priest in Chicago who was suspended three weeks ago for objecting publicly to a transfer from his longtime parish has been reinstated.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger is expected to be back at St. Sabina saying mass on Sunday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Pfleger is known as a social activist who invited the Rev. Al Sharpton to preach at his church and has supported women's ordination. In 2008, he made disparaging remarks about then-U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton during a sermon at the church attended by then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

In an interview in March on an NPR talk show, Pfleger said he would have to "look outside the church" if Cardinal Francis George insisted on his transfer to head a Catholic school. Pfleger has been at St. Sabina for about 30 years, far longer than the normal parish assignment.

George said Friday that Pfleger had agreed to develop a transition plan for the parish.

"I am personally pleased to restore Father Pfleger to his sacramental and pastoral ministry at St. Sabina and in the Archdiocese of Chicago," the cardinal said.

George's only statement Friday was to call to a reporter who was outside the St. Sabina Rectory "It feels wonderful."

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