Priest, 80, doesn't want to leave St. Margaret's of Scotland rectory, stays past archdiocese deadline

October 1, 2012 (CHICAGO)

There's a new pastor, and as part of established church governance, the departing pastor leaves for six months so that the father is able to freely establish his leadership.

"Knowing Father Mallette – I cannot make any predictions whatever, because he's totally unpredictable," Fr. George Clements, retired priest, said.

Monday was the deadline set by the Chicago Archdiocese for Father Mallette to leave the rectory to make room for the new priest. He's still there. And he doesn't appear to have plans to leave.

Father Mallette is beloved in the parish, and has said he believes he's being forced out. Further complicating an already delicate situation, the 80-year-old priest was viciously beaten by burglars inside the rectory in December of last year. Mallette recovered from his injuries and returned.

The archdiocese has proposed alternative housing for Mallette, which Mallette has declined. Some of his supporters, among them long time parishioner Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, say that some church officials have pushed the move in a fashion without the sensitivity it should have.

A spokesperson for the archdiocese says that Father Mallette has caregiver's 24/7, and that "...everybody wants what's best for Father Mallette. There's just disagreement on how to get there."

"He's needs to get away. He's given so much, and he's done so much for so many people," Ruby Jackson, parishioner, said.

Many parishioners don't want to see Father Mallete go -- but they're also concerned about what the stress of the situation could do to an 80-year-old man. Where does he plan to go?

"I don't know. Look for me at noontime," Father Mallette said as he left the rectory to attend a wake. "I'll be right back."

The Chicago Archdiocese said Monday they are willing to work with Father Mallette to reach a resolution.

Battle may be escalating with school controversy

Now there's controversy surrounding the parish school -- and it's not clear if the two issues are related.

Late Monday, the archdiocese confirmed the principal and a dean of the school had been suspended but gave no reason. Later, the archdiocese later denied that the principal had been suspended.

Some in the parish say both matters are about the new pastor trying to exert control.

"We want to shine a light on the Archdiocese of Chicago and say, not this time, we're not gonna let you let someone come in and ruin our house. We're fed up and we're gonna fight," said Felicia Mathis, school administrative assistant.

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