Supporters of Chicago Priest rally after another allegation of sex abuse; SNAP urges Cardinal Cupich to visit parishioners
(For Immediate Release October 17, 2022)
The Rev. Michael Pfleger was missed from Sunday Mass at St. Sabina Church just one day after he was accused of child sex abuse for the second time. However, he was the centerpiece of the service.
“Show Father Mike what it means to be persistent in prayer,” the Rev. Tom Walsh told the congregation during the 2 1⁄2 hour service punctuated by support for Pfleger. “Father Mike, this is your army. These are your warriors,” Walsh said. “We’ve got you. We’re holding up your hands in prayer.”
It astounds us that a devout congregation, much alone a service celebrant, would defend Pfleger, who is facing yet another allegation of child sex abuse, bringing the total to five courageous individuals that have come forward. Even more startling, no prayers were held for the most recent alleged victim or those who found the strength to share their story before.
In obligation, Fr. Walsh read a letter to the parish from Cardinal Blase Cupich, tossing it like trash as the parishioners applauded. Arrogantly, Fr. Walsh said, ‘Oops, sorry.’ To us, this is a reminder of how church officials are quick to dismiss allegations of abuse against one of their own. It is also a sad reminder of how unwilling many churchgoers are to learn the statistics of when a survivor may come forward.
According to our figures over the last two years, two new Catholic clergy or personnel have been charged for sexual abuse per month. Nevertheless, each month, more priests are identified as abusers, and far too many of them are still alive and in employment. This implies that any youngster in their vicinity was never safe until the arrest was made. Furthermore, delayed disclosure is common: the average age of a victim who comes forward to disclose child sexual abuse is 52.
We call on Cardinal Blase Cupich to make a personal visit to the parishioners of St. Sabina and relay the gravity of the allegations against Pfleger. He should also publicly reprimand Fr. Tom Walsh and hold a prayer service for all victims of abuse by the clergy, religious, and laity.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]) Larry Antonsen, SNAP Leader Chicago, (773-255-3382, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)