Fox News reported that a Roman Catholic priest was removed from his post in a Chicago neighborhood by his cardinal (bishop) and sent away for “pastoral support” for burning an LGBT “rainbow flag”, after reciting a prayer of exorcism.
The original newspiece, by Mitchell Armentrout of The Chicago Sun-Times, has this to say:
The priest who ignited controversy last week by burning an LGBTQ-friendly flag on church grounds against the orders of Cardinal Blase Cupich has been removed from his Avondale parish.
Cupich sent two of his top deputies to Resurrection Catholic Church on Friday to notify the Rev. Paul Kalchik that he was being removed as pastor, according to two sources close to the priest.
In a letter to parishioners and staff released Saturday evening by the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich wrote that he has “become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish.
“It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed,” Cupich wrote.
Kalchik could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to the sources, Kalchik and his elderly parents have received death threats since he defied Cupich on Sept. 14 by burning the banner, which featured a cross superimposed over a rainbow. There also have been threats of vandalism to the church, the sources said.
Kalchik told the Sun-Times during an interview in his office on Tuesday that at least one person had forced their way into the church at 3043 N. Francisco Ave. last weekend, leaving a door open but not causing any damage.
The 56-year-old priest first announced in a Sept. 2 church bulletin that he planned to burn the flag, after he found it in storage where it apparently sat for more than a decade.
Cupich, who has shared Pope Francis’ more welcoming attitude toward gays in the church, told Kalchik not to burn the flag, but the priest said he did it anyway “in a quiet way” during a closed ceremony with seven parishioners, featuring a prayer of exorcism over the torched banner.
The flag-burning drew the ire of LGBTQ-equality activists, including Ald. Deb Mell (33rd), who led a small demonstration across the street from the church on Wednesday, calling on Pope Francis and Cupich “to send this hateful bigot packing.”
Kalchik — who has said he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — previously said the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.”
“What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?” Kalchik said Tuesday.
Cupich wrote that he removed Kalchik “out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish.
“I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects,” Cupich wrote.
This brings up some interesting questions:
- While no one is supposed to hate sinners, Christianity strongly calls its supporters to hate sin. This priest’s flag-burning is very-clearly an example of taking this teaching to heart.
- What kind of message is the Cardinal sending people about the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church?
- Father Paul Kalchik was abused twice, and once by a priest, and his acknowledgment of the sex-abuse cases as a “gay thing” is well known in church circles. The Roman Catholic prohibition on married priests, which itself is not in line with Apostolic teachings, has contributed to the growing network of “gay” seminaries within that Church. Why does Rome go on hiding this?
- All this comes down to the biggest question: Who is Rome serving? Homosexuality and its cousins are serious sins and they cause enormous and frightful trauma to those so impacted. If the Roman Church cannot call the truth out for what it is, then, what are they doing?
Further information about this situation, described on the Fox News website notes that Cardinal Blase Cupich had cautioned Kalchik not to burn the flag, but he reportedly went ahead with it and recited a prayer of exorcism before doing so.
The Archdiocese released a letter saying that “Father Kalchik needs to take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support,” amid a swirl of allegations that Cupich had threatened – through his vicars – for Kalchik to be forcibly committed to St. Luke’s Institute for further evaluation and treatment.
Kalchik had first announced that this flag, which was found in storage, would be burned in a church bulletin in early September. He was immediately warned by the Archdiocese of Chicago not to move forward with such an act. However, Kalchik did go ahead – later telling a local NBC reporter that the did so “in a quiet way” and that the flag, which also had a cross adorned over it, “was cut into seven pieces, so it was burned over stages in the same fire pit that we used for the Easter vigil Mass.”
The rainbow flag, set alight by parishioners earlier this month, once hung in the back of the sanctuary. Kalchik had reportedly spoken out in recent months, and even written to Pope Francis, about his own trauma as a victim of a predatory Roman Catholic priest.