- A Chicago priest burned a flag depicting a gay-friendly message in an exorcism ceremony, despite Cardinal Blase Cupich’s express instruction not to do so
- The priest claims the sexual abuse crisis is “definitely a gay thing” and that Cupich minimizes the crisis
- The archdiocese threatened canonical penalties for burning the flag, according to the priest
A Chicago priest burned a gay flag after saying a prayer of exorcism over it, defying Catholic Archbishop Blase Cupich’s orders not to do so.
Rev. Paul Kalchik of Resurrection Parish in Chicago announced in a church bulletin that he would burn the flag, which depicted a translucent cross superimposed over a large rainbow, in front of the church on Sept. 29. Archdiocesan authorities, alerted by a report from Windy City Times, ordered Kalchik to refrain from burning the flag, but the priest destroyed it anyway on Friday.
“That banner and what it stood for doesn’t belong to the Archdiocese or Cardinal Cupich. It belongs to the people of this parish who paid for it,” Kalchik said, according to Chicago Sun-Times. “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 claimed the archdiocese threatened canonical penalties against him and that Cupich, in retaliation for burning the flag, blocked his request to transfer to a Michigan diocese where he has family.
Kalchik, who asserts that the sexual abuse crisis within the Catholic Church is “definitely a gay thing,” burned the flag as a spiritual and symbolic repudiation of what he sees as an agenda to push acceptance of homosexuality within the church. He claims that Cupich has minimized the sexual abuse crisis and that he “can’t sit well” with him as a result. Kalchik is no stranger to the crisis, as he claims that he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child and again by priest when he was a teenager. (RELATED: Sexually Abusing Children In The Church Isn’t Just Devastating, It’s Demonic, Exorcist Says)
The priest said he and the seven parishioners who joined him burned the flag privately because of scrutiny from the archdiocese and to avoid sparking the ire of the LGBT community.
“We did so in a private way, a quiet way, so as not to bring the ire of the gay community down upon this parish. It’s our full right to destroy it, and we did so privately because the archdiocese was breathing on our back,” Kalchik told NBC News.
He added that the flag’s use of the cross to promote homosexuality was, in his eyes, sacrilegious. The flag has been in the church for decades, however, Kalchik said he would have destroyed it sooner had it not been forgotten in storage and preserved prior to that by the church’s previous three priests.
“We put an end to a depiction of our Lord’s cross that was profane,” he said.
“So in a quiet way 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,” he added.
Anne Maselli, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, said Tuesday diocesan officials were “unaware” that Kalchik had burned the flag “and we are following up on the situation. As Catholics we affirm the dignity of all persons.”
Church officials did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by the time of publication.
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