By Patrick B. Craine

CHICAGO, Illinois, April 14, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Fresh from being honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Archdiocese of Chicago, presented by Cardinal Francis George, Fr. Michael Pfleger has come out publicly with his support for women's ordination.

In a 70-minute homily for Divine Mercy Sunday on the need to overcome fear, the pastor of Saint Sabina's Catholic Church related how Christ's disciples had deserted him when he was taken to be crucified.  “They ran away when he most needed them.  Only John at the foot of the Cross,” he said.

“And the women,” he added.  He then paused briefly, and proclaimed to applause, "Hmm. That's why there should be woman priests. That's why there should be married priests.  That's why there should be women bishops and women cardinals."

A strong advocate on behalf of the poor, Fr. Pfleger has also become notorious for his controversial views, including his prominent support of pro-abortion politicians, including President Barack Obama.

He was suspended by Cardinal George for two weeks in 2008 after he mocked Obama's then-opponent Hilary Clinton, in racially-fuelled comments that gained nationwide media attention.

Despite protests from the pro-life community, the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Racial Justice honored Fr. Pfleger on April 7th with a lifetime achievement award, at a ceremony presided over by Cardinal George.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) before the event last week, Sr. Anita Baird, the founding director of the Office for Racial Justice, defended the award and emphasized that "Fr. Pfleger is a priest in good standing in the archdiocese in Chicago."

In his address at the award ceremony, Cardinal George noted that Fr. Pfleger “has been a controversialist,” and that he has sometimes “spoken in anger, sometimes unjustly or uncharitably,” but emphasized that he is “a Catholic priest and a pastor, and in that capacity, like all good priests and pastors, he acts out of love.”

LifeSiteNews did not hear back from either the Archdiocese of Chicago or Fr. Pfleger by press time.

Fr. Pfleger also condicted a bizarre Holy Thursday Mass consecration during the recent Easter season that violated many required norms for this most sacred of all Catholic liturgical events. A video of this can be seen here.

Fr. Pfleger's comments can be seen here beginning around 54:30.

Find contact information for the Archdiocese of Chicago here.

See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Chicago Archdiocesan Office to Honor Pro-Obama Fr. Pfleger
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040606.html

Cardinal George at Pfleger Award Ceremony: 'Abortion Kills Racial Justice'
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040815.html

Chicago Archdiocesan Office Apologizes for 'Pro-Choice' Obama Remark
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2010/apr/10040803.html