CHICAGO (CBS 2) – CBS 2’s Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that during a meeting last Friday that Francis Cardinal George allegedly asked Father Michael Pfleger to leave St. Sabina for the Presidency of struggling Leo High School.
Pfleger tells CBS 2, “I can neither confirm nor deny that at this point. That’s not something I can respond to at this point.”
Pfleger was asked if there are discussions ongoing between him, Cardinal George and the Archdiocese about leaving the parish in which he said, “I’m in discussions with the Archdiocese but you know those are private conversations at this point and I can’t comment at this point about those conversations.”
Pfleger has been at St. Sabina since 1981 which is far longer than priests are normally permitted to stay in one parish.
Pfleger hinted about a new battle in last Sunday’s sermon , “And let me say real clearly today I love being your pastor and I love being your shepherd, but you’re looking at a man made a choice hold onto god, wherever god takes me.”
Pfleger is no stranger to controversy, whether it involves stores allegedly selling drug paraphernalia, alleged racism in the Chicago fire department or fiery rhetoric from the pulpit when he mocked Hillary Clinton’s reaction to a surging Barack Obama.
“Oh damn, where did you come from? I’m white, I’m entitled, there’s a Black man stealing my show,” said Pfleger when he mocked Hillary Clinton’s reaction to a surging Barack Obama.
Cardinal George at the time called it “a partisan and personal attack” and ordered Pfleger to take a leave of absence.
When asked about his relationship with Cardinal George and how it plays into his future, Pfleger said, “All I can say is that the philosophy and theology of church that I think we practice here is the church, I grew up where the church is the center of challenge, conscience of growth and community, and a lot of people ask me how are you out of synch with the church today, and I say, I didn’t change, the church changed.”
Leo High School, just a few blocks from St. Sabina, suffers from declining enrollment and an uncertain future. Pfleger, while supportive, seems poised to fight the move.
“I love what I do here, I love being pastor at St. Sabina, there’s nothing in the world I’d rather do than be pastor at St. Sabina and I’m very happy here right now,” Pfleger said about the possibility of leaving.