Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich threatened, then removed a priest in his Archdiocese this week because he and several parishioners said exorcism prayers and burned, on parish property, a sacrilegious LGBT “rainbow pride flag” featuring a cross that had previously been hung in the sacristy of the church.
Fr. Paul Kalchik, who had been serving at Resurrection Parish on the city's northwest side the last eleven years, was told by a Chicago auxiliary bishop Saturday to leave his church or he would be arrested for trespassing.
Fr. Kalchik has since fled to an undisclosed location with his brother for fear that Cardinal Cupich would have him taken away by law enforcement.
Two priests from the Archdiocese’s Office of the Vicar for Priests had confronted Fr. Kalchik just days earlier at the church, insisting that he go to a mental health institute to deal with his “psychiatric issues.”
Kalchik suffers from post-traumatic stress due to being sexually abused as an 11-year-old and by a priest when he was 19.
At one point during the heated confrontation, the hostile priests reportedly asked Kalchik, who repeatedly said he was not going anywhere, “What would happen if you were dead?”
Several days before verbally abusing him in person, Fr. Kalchik says the same priests told him via telephone that Cardinal Cupich wanted him to know three things. "First, you are not to burn the flag and if you do you should know there are canonical penalties for disobeying the cardinal. Second, you have put in a transfer request to move closer to your parents and that will not happen if you do this. Thirdly, the cardinal thinks you should get a psychological evaluation."
Fr. Kalchik, who has received death threats since burning the flag, said he did it because the banner was “profane” due to its mixing of the LGBT rainbow with a cross.