By Peter J. Smith

CHICAGO, Illinois, June 18, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Chicago is a place where everyone knows that three strikes means "you’re out", but in this city renowned for its baseball, pro-life advocates are wondering how many strikes it will take the Obama-crazed Catholic priest, Rev. Michael Pfleger, to hear those words from his bishop.

Rev. Michael Pfleger has returned to his parish of St. Sabina’s - a predominately black church of 2,000 worshippers on Chicago’s south side where he has been the pastor for nearly 30 years - after a two-week hiatus requested for by Cardinal George, the Chicago archbishop. The Cardinal asked the priest to take a couple weeks leave after Pfleger made derisive inflammatory remarks attacking presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton and white people while speaking in support of his favored candidate, the Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama. (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08060408.html)

The Archdiocese now says Pfleger is resuming his duties with just one caveat: he cannot actively campaign in presidential politics.

Orthodox Catholics and pro-life advocates, however, are struggling to understand why the Archdiocese only undertook to discipline Pfleger when he poked fun at Hillary Clinton, and not for the repeated scandal of his having invited numerous pro-abortion speakers to St. Sabina’s.

Pfleger’s long history of inviting outspoken pro-abortion advocates into his pulpit - despite the fact that the Chicago Archdiocese has a longstanding policy explicitly forbidding the use of Church property, under any circumstances, by pro-abortion advocates - has included the pro-abortion Pentecostal pastor Rev. Al Sharpton, the anti-Semitic Muslim firebrand Louis Farrakhan, and singer Harry Belafonte.

Belafonte attacked President Bush for being pro-life from Pfleger’s pulpit in 2003 and denounced the President for endangering what he called a "woman’s right to abortion."

LifeSiteNews contacted the Chicago Archdiocese about the issue. Director of Media Relations Susan Burritt, however, refused to answer any questions and told LifeSiteNews that the sum total of what the Archdiocese has to say about Rev. Pfleger is on the archdiocesan website.  

Cardinal George explained in a statement June 3 that while Rev. Pfleger disagreed with him, "I have nevertheless asked him to use this opportunity to reflect on his recent statements and actions in the light of the Church’s regulations for all Catholic priests."

American Life League President Judie Brown told LifeSiteNews that pro-life advocates have seen this problem develop for over five years, beginning when Pfleger invited Al Sharpton, an outspoken proponent of legal abortion, to give the homily in his church. (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/feb/03021105.html)

"Cardinal George’s response to me at that time was that we simply did not understand the complexity of the situation with Pfleger," said Brown. "I think the bottom line is that the Cardinal will do anything he possibly can to avoid conflict in the media and African-American community, many of whom attend Pfleger’s church."

The other issue may be the threat of schism. Since Pfleger has been a longtime fixture at St. Sabina’s for nearly three decades, and has done many beneficial things for that community - such as taking on drugs, prostitution, and gangs - many parishioners are loyal to him, and have said they would join him if he left the Church. The possibility has risen more than once in the conflicts between the cleric and his ordinary.

However Pfleger is at the same-time an outspoken advocate of Democratic presidential candidate and pro-abortion legislator Sen. Barack Obama. Since 1995, Rev. Pfleger has donated primary contributions to Obama totaling $1500, and gave Obama a $200 donation after the Illinois senator secured a $100,000 earmark for St. Sabina’s.

Now back at his desk, Pfleger told the Chicago Tribune that he was thankful the Cardinal let him return to his post, but he still is the same Michael Pfleger as ever.

"I’m me. I’m not changing. This is how I’ve been since I’ve been born. I’m not changing."

However, "change" is what is needed says Brown. If Pfleger is going to represent Christ as a Catholic priest, he will have to cease perpetuating the illusion that support for abortion is compatible with Catholic social justice and will have to ditch the racist black liberation theology as well.

See related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:

Chicago Cardinal George Removes Obama-Crazed Pastor from Parish
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08060408.html

Catholic Priest Has Only Glowing Praise for Pro-Abortion, Pro-Homosexual Marriage Candidate Barack Obama
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2007/jan/07011804.html

PRO-LIFE GROUP BEGS BISHOP TO STOP PRO-ABORTION SPEAKER FROM CHURCH ENGAGEMENT
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/feb/03021105.html

CATHOLIC CHICAGO MAYOR BACKS PRIEST WHO INVITED SHARPTON
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2003/feb/03021105.html