He’s a gritty old white Catholic priest who cusses like a sailor, marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King and is hailed as a “living saint” by many in his majority black Southwest Side parish. But nine months after he was brutally beaten to within an inch of death by burglars, Father Dan Mallette and his supporters say he’s being disrespectfully nudged towards a retirement home — and out of the St. Margaret of Scotland parish where he’s fought violence and poverty for 35 years. It’s an emotional battle that has the proud but physically frail 80-year-old priest — and supporters including Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart — squaring off against the Archdiocese and the man Cardinal Francis George last month appointed to take over at St. Margaret’s.

The archdiocese insists that Mallette must leave the parish for six months so that the new priest can establish himself.

Mallette dismisses his successor, Father Bill O’Donnell, as “a genius at being a pain in the ass.”