A Catholic priest from Chicago, who cut up and burned a rainbow LGBT+ flag, has reportedly been removed from his position over concerns for his welfare.
Father Paul Kalchik, a priest at Resurrection Parish, was ordered not to burn the rainbow banner by his diocese, but went on to set the flag alight nonetheless, in a private ceremony.
Kalchik has now been temporarily removed from his role by Blase Cupich, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, after he became aware of several problems at the parish and in Kalchik’s own conduct, ABC7 Chicago reported.
In a letter sent to parishioners on September 21, seen by ABC, Cupich said: “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. … 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.”
Kalchik reportedly received death threats after he burned the rainbow flag.
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PinkNews has contacted the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Resurrection Parish for comment.
The flag, which featured a cross merged with a rainbow, had been hung up in the sanctuary of the church during some services, including the first mass at the parish in 1991. It had been in storage for a number of years.
Kalchik had first announced his plans to burn the flag in a homily message published on Christian website Church Militant on September 2.
“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,” Kalchik wrote in his message.
In a note added after publication, he said: “On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Feast of Ss. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, we will burn, in front of church, the rainbow flag that was unfortunately hanging in our sanctuary during the ceremonial first Mass as Resurrection parish.”
Following Kalchik’s homily, the Archdiocese of Chicago reportedly said that the priest had agreed not to go ahead with his plans.
However, according to Church Militant, Kalchik decided to instead cut up and burn the Pride flag in a private ceremony attended by church members.
“Parishioners of Resurrection Parish in Chicago, Illinois, held a rainbow flag-burning event last week, cutting up and setting on fire an LGBT flag that once hung in the sanctuary at the parish’s first Mass,” an article dated September 15 on the website reads.
It adds: “Father Paul was asked not to go through with a public burning of the rainbow banner, as complaints were heard from the gay community, and those complaints never fall on deaf ears in today’s culture. Therefore, the burning was carried out privately, by a few parishioners.”