Reverend Paul Kalchik, the Roman Catholic priest at Resurrection Parish in Chicago who held an “exorcism” with parishioners in which they burned a rainbow flag that had once been hung in the church, has been relieved of his duties.
Kalchik’s suspension was announced by the archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal Blase Cupich in a letter to parishioners: “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 told the Chicago Tribune that he has had threats and had police escort him to the church since news of the flag-burning incident broke, but Kalchik insists he’s not a hater, telling the paper: “I’m about as much of a ‘gay basher’ as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Love the sinner, hate the sin — that’s as harsh as I get.”
The archdiocese insisted that Kalchik’s removal had nothing to do with the rainbow flag-burning “exorcism.”
Kalchick wanted to hold the “exorcism” as a way to solve the clergy abuse scandal, falsely equating homosexuality with pedophilia in a footnote on his announcement of the flag-burning: “US Church homosexual scandal is a sequel to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.”
Said Kalchick to NBC News: “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. 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.”
Kalchick told NBC News he takes Leviticus 20:13 literally when it states: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: They shall surely be put to death.”