The archbishop of Chicago has removed a priest as head of a church after he burned a rainbow banner that once hung in the church.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Cardinal Blase Cupich removed the Rev. Paul Kalchik from his role as head of Resurrection Catholic Church just days after the priest defied Cupich's order not to torch the banner, which featured a cross superimposed over a rainbow.

Seven parishioners joined Kalchik in a prayer of exorcism as he torched the banner in a portable fire pit.

In a letter to parishioners and staff at the church, Cupich said that it had become clear to him that Kalchik “must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed.”

In the church's September 2 bulletin, Kalchik announced that he planned to burn the flag on September 29 for “the feast of Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.” A few days later, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that it had blocked Kalchik's plan, saying that he had agreed “not to move forward with these activities.”

In the same bulletin, Kalchik also stated: “We cannot let the current troubles keep us from our mission to go make more disciples for the Lord, nor should modern day distractions like global warming, LGBT 'rights' or even immigration issues ever take precedence over that mission.”

In an interview with the Sun-Times, Kalchik said that the banner does not belong to Cupich but to “the people of this parish who paid for it.”

“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?” he rhetorically asked.

Kalchik added that the Catholic Church's sex abuse crisis was a “gay thing.”

On Friday, he told the Tribune that he does not hate the gay community.

“I'm about as much of a 'gay basher' as Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” he said. “Love the sinner, hate the sin – that's as harsh as I get.”

Several protests took place outside the church demanding Kalchik's ouster.

“Having him remain in a leadership position would be an affront to the LGBT community,” said Al Grippe, a member of the Northwest Side Coalition Against Racism and Hate, which held a protest on Saturday. “It was a clear act of hate, and he was rightfully removed.”