CHICAGO, Illinois, April 12, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Controversial Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleger of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has said publicly that he would leave the Church rather than submit to his appointment by Archbishop Francis George to the position of principal at Leo Catholic High School.
Fr. Pfleger has become notorious in recent years for his controversial views, including his highly public support for pro-abortion politicians, including President Barack Obama, and views on women’s ordination.
Over this past weekend, Fr. Pfleger announced on the public radio program, “Smiley & West,” that if he were given no alternative to his post at the Catholic high school, he would look for a position outside the Catholic Church.
“I want to try to stay in the Catholic Church,” Pfleger told show hosts Smiley and West. “If they say ‘You either take this principalship of [Leo High School] or pastorship there or leave,’ then I’ll have to look outside the church.”
Pfleger added, “I believe my calling is to be a pastor. I believe my calling is to be a voice for justice. I believe my calling is to preach the Gospel. In or out of the church, I’m going to continue to do that.”
Fr. Pfleger has been pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church for some 30 years. Pfleger insisted he believed preaching and advancing the cause of social justice in a Catholic framework is his real calling.
A full-time position at Leo High School was out of the question, he said. “I’ve always said I could not do something that I don’t feel called or equipped to do,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “A full-time position at Leo is not something I’m equipped to do. I think Leo has made it clear they don’t see any need for me to come there. For both sides, it would be a lose-lose.”
Pfleger also said publicly on radio that he believes conservative Catholics and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are to blame for his proposed move. The priest says he is worried many Catholics of a more conservative vein have complained to the archbishop about his more controversial views, for example his support for women’s ordination and pro-abortion candidates.
Parishioners at St. Sabina’s also worry that if a more traditional priest were transferred to the parish, they would lose the “different kind of worship service” they enjoy with Fr. Pfleger.
“[Conservative Catholic and NRA complaints] combined and I guess the cardinal didn’t have anything to do one morning and decided he wanted to get rid of me again,” said Pfleger.
Pfleger told his parishioners that he wrote Archbishop George expressing his objections to a high school post. “It would be wrong to say what was in the letter without the cardinal’s response,” Pfleger told the packed church, according to Chicago Sun Times. “I have sent my suggestions and thoughts to the cardinal. I have also said to the cardinal that my desire is to remain at St. Sabina’s.”