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Catholic priest who burned rainbow flag outside of church is stood down

Catholic priest who burned rainbow flag outside of church is stood down

A Catholic priest who defied direct orders from his Cardinal and burned a rainbow flag outside his church has been stood down.

Father Paul Kalchik burned the flag outside of the Resurrection Catholic Church in Chicago on Friday 14 September.

But Archbishop Blace Cupich had strictly prohibited the priest from burning the flag and decided to suspend Kalchik for his defiance.

Church authorities ordered Kalchik to leave his church on Saturday (22 September) just moments before he was due to officiate a wedding.

Cupich sent Auxiliary Bishop Mart Bartosic to demand Kalchik leave the church. Bartosic warned Kalchik he would call the police if the priest didn’t leave immediately.

Bartosic then officiated the wedding.

Psychiatric counselling

In a letter obtained by NBC Chicago, Cupich ordered the priest do undergo a psychological assessment. The call came after Kalchik called for churchgoers to boycott the Cardinal’s church services.

‘For some weeks now, I have 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,’ the letter read.

‘I do not take this step lightly. Rather, I act 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.’

a groups of priests stand at the pulpit, behind them is a giant rainbow flag with a clear cross over the top of it
A vintage shot of the rainbow flag that hung in a Catholic church in Chicago | Photo: Resurrection Church

Child abuse

The very anti-LGBTI Kalchik blamed the Catholic church’s child abuse scandal on homosexuality. He also said male neighbour allegedly sexually abused him when he was a teenager.

He also said he burnt the flag in a quiet ceremony to not ‘draw the ire’ of the LGBTI community.

‘We put an end to a depiction of the Lord’s Cross that was profane,’ Kalchik said.

‘We took matters into our own hands and said a prayer of exorcism over this thing. 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.’

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