Priest’s Plan to Burn Rainbow Flag Stopped by Archdiocese

Fr. Paul Kalchik

A priest’s plan to burn a rainbow flag which once hung at the parish he oversees has been stopped after the Archdiocese of Chicago intervened to restrain his actions

Fr. Paul Kalchik, pastor of Resurrection Catholic Church, planned to burn a rainbow flag before Mass at the parish in late September. In the September 2, 2018 bulletin, in a postscript to his printed homily, Kalchik wrote:

“PS: On Saturday, September 29, the Feast of Saints 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. We will also burn our pledge cards and prayerfully sing Psalm 141 ‘Let my prayer arise before you like incense, my hands like an evening offering.'”

In the homily, the priest stated in a footnote, “US Church homosexual scandal is a sequel to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah,” and wrote elsewhere:

“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 encouraged parishioners to fill out pledge cards for prayer and fasting, which would be burned alongside the rainbow flag. A separate box in the bulletin announced the event, saying “items of sacrilege go into the fire. . .offered as reparation.”

But the Archdiocese of Chicago, led by Cardinal Blase Cupich, intervened to stop the flag burning, reported Windy City Times:

“. . .Archdiocese of Chicago Communications and Marketing Director Anne Mascelli said on behalf of the Archdiocese, ‘We can confirm that the pastor has agreed not to move forward with these activities.’

Chris Pett, who is both a member of Dignity/Chicago and President of DignityUSA, expressed gratitude for the Archdiocese’s intervention that “quickly and firmly rejects the words of this pastor and his intended ‘ritual’ which are inconsistent with Catholic values and beliefs.”

Thankfully, church officials stopped the flag burning, as should every diocese nationwide when it comes to such intolerable acts. As the present reckoning with clergy sexual abuse makes clear, it is vital that church officials supervise and restrain pastoral ministers who cause harm to the faithful through actions and symbols of violence. Moving forward, officials in Chicago would do well to consider not only sexual abuse, but other forms of pastoral harm when determining someone’s fitness for ministry.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, September 14, 2018

22 replies
  1. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    I didn’t think I could be shocked anymore about a clergy action. Although I commend the diocese highly for stopping him, he has no business being a priest. What is wrong with these guys!

    Reply
  2. Mary Jo
    Mary Jo says:

    Notice they didn’t remove him from ministry! If that doesn’t scare you, check out this man’s picture. This kind of damage is allowed to take place in parishes all over the country. I’m not sure just drawing the line at the conflagration is all that could/should be done here. Best of luck to the poor folks in that church.

    Reply
    • Kris
      Kris says:

      If the picture above is truly representative of this pastor and not just the result of an unflattering pose, the man’s eyes (that particular stare of his) suggests either fanaticism, or madness. And there’s little (if any) difference between the two.

      Reply
    • John Hilgeman
      John Hilgeman says:

      Mary Jo, I noticed that as well. I have two questions: who appointed him pastor in the first place, and why was he not removed after these latest actions.

      Reply
  3. Paula Ruddy
    Paula Ruddy says:

    The Church’s doctrine about homosexuality is exposed as abhorrent when it is expressed in a ritual, as this priest meant to do. Might be a good test of doctrine: if the ritualizing of it horrifies people, it has to be questioned. I wish the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago had taken that next step of questioning the doctrine publicly.

    Reply
  4. JOYCE BUCHANAN
    JOYCE BUCHANAN says:

    This man is not a priest as far as I am concerned. Where is his love and compassion that Jesus exudes. He like all the pedophile priests should all be removed from ministry. They do NOT represent Jesus Christ.

    Reply
  5. Robert Takac
    Robert Takac says:

    Perhaps Father Paul is struggling with his own sexuality. Our vocation as Catholics right now is to bring the faithful together, regardless of how broken we believe our brothers and sisters are. (We are all broken, including Father Paul). It is not Father Paul’s role to judge others or to cast anyone out. Father Paul I would like you to reflect a moment and try and determine where your anger is coming from. It does not belong, nor is it welcome in our church. Christ would agree with me on this. You are doing yourself, your parishioners and our church a great disservice by creating barriers and fostering hatred.

    Reply
  6. Jay
    Jay says:

    I live in Chicago near this parish, and all I can say is that I’m not surprised. Though I can’t know what goes on in Fr. Kalchik’s head, if I were to meet him on the street sans collar, I’d identify him as a gay man based on his mannerisms etc (once again, I’ve actually met him numerous times). It’s self-loathing at its worst, I think.

    Reply
  7. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    “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.”

    We cannot let “whatever you do to the least, you do to me” take precedence over making disciples who do what? If love for one’s fellow humans and for all of God’s creation is not the primary mission of followers of Jesus, then what is? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

    Reply
    • K. Dayson
      K. Dayson says:

      to John Hilgeman:

      What’s with LGBT rights being in quotes? Your intention is to affirm that those rights are the same as human rights, i.e. life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? I hope that is the case.

      Reply
      • John Hilgeman
        John Hilgeman says:

        I was directly quoting this priest’s letter. He is the one who put the rights of those of us who are LGBT in quotes. The thrust of his article – in including the rights of LGBT people in a basket with global warming and immigrant issues – was to demean all those rights and issues, and glorify the amorphous goal of making disciples for the Lord. Being a disciple is empty, if it does not involve caring for one’s fellow human beings and our fellow creatures. That is what I hoped to convey in my above comments.

        Reply
  8. Robert Bailey
    Robert Bailey says:

    Wow! Look inside your own house and not take it out on your flock of devoted LGBTQ Catholics who truly love the Lord and follow him. If this is truly your way of addressing the Churches problem in condemning all, then I suggest you step down from the altar of God. Otherwise, follow the teachings of your Lord and savior and the vows you took.

    Reply
  9. Dan Krischke
    Dan Krischke says:

    I don’t see why there should be more than 2 flags in any Catholic Sanctuary. One, the flag of the United States. The other, the Flag of the Vatican. The Sanctuary if for the Tabernacle of God and not for political statements.

    Reply
  10. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    What seminary training produced this priest? And how many more with this training are being ordained? Why is he still at the parish? Who ordained him? I have a very bad feeling about this one.

    BTW, my brother, Paul:

    “Sodom never did what you and your daughters have done.” He explains that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” Ezekiel 16: 48-50.

    Reply
  11. Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM
    Rosa G. Manriquez, IHM says:

    “Sodom never did what you and your daughters have done.” He explains that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.”

    Reply

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