CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – The controversy over whether the Rev. Michael Pfleger will leave St. Sabina Church and take over Leo High School has the high school community feeling like it’s between a rock and a hard place.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Leo High School, at 7901 S. Sangamon St., is 85 years old and has 154 students. But ever since talk began last month that the Chicago Archdiocese wanted to send Pfleger to the school, Leo president Dan McGrath says the perception has been that Pfleger would be school’s savior.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bernie Tafoya reports
McGrath says the perception has also been that if Pfleger did not take over, the school could not be saved. This is not true, McGrath says.
“Academically, it’s probably too early to say we’ve turned the corner, but we’ve definitely made a lot of progress, and enrollment-wise, we’ve made a lot of progress,” McGrath said. “Next year’s freshman class is going to be almost double this year’s freshman class.”
Over the weekend, Pfleger told the public radio program “Smiley and West” that if it came to a choice to become principal of Leo, to become pastor of another Catholic church, or to leave the Church altogether, he would look at the third option.
But he said he wants to stay in the Catholic Church.
Of Leo, Pfleger said in the “Smiley and West” interview that the school is “literally dying.”
“I’d have no power to do anything but sit there and raise money,” Pfleger said.
Pfleger said he would have been willing to take leadership of Leo High School under St. Sabina, and would like to hire a new principal there. But this was not present as an option.
Francis Cardinal George maintains that term limits – either six , or at the most, 12 years – are set by a council of priests. In the end, the cardinal himself has the final say on where Pfleger will be assigned.