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
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
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.”