Late today, Cardinal Francis George issued a sharply worded letter on the case of Fr. Michael Pfleger. The controversial Chicago priest — and outspoken Obama-backer — can no longer function as a priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Citing what he called threats from the Rev. Michael Pfleger to leave the church, Cardinal Francis George has removed the outspoken priest from St. Sabina parish and has suspended his “sacramental faculties as a priest.”
Pfleger had publicly feuded with the cardinal about possibly being reassigned to Leo High School, telling a radio show recently that he would look outside the Catholic church if offered no other choice.
“If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” George wrote in a letter dated today.
“A Catholic priest’s inner life is governed by his promises, motivated by faith and love, to live chastely as a celibate man and to obey his bishop,” the cardinal continued. “Breaking either promise destroys his vocation and wounds the Church.
“Many love and admire you because of your dedication to your people,” the cardinal wrote. “Now, however, I am asking you to take a few weeks to pray over your priestly commitments in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church.
“With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.”
The cardinal ended the letter by saying, “This conflict is not between you and me; it’s between you and the Church that ordained you a priest, between you and the faith that introduced you to Christ and gives you the right to preach and pastor in his name. If you now formally leave the Catholic Church and her priesthood, it’s your choice and no one else’s. You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements.”