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A Chicago Catholic priest who burned an LGBTQ rainbow flag in defiance of a cardinal’s orders has been removed from his parish as of Friday.
Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich allegedly sent two of his deputies to inform Rev. Paul Kalchik on Friday that the archdiocese would be removing him from his pastoral duties after Kalchik burned the rainbow flag adorned with a cross in a closed-door ceremony, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Archdiocese - Chicago - Letter - Kalchik - Time
The Archdiocese of Chicago also released a letter stating that Kalchik would be taking time off “to receive pastoral support.”
“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,” Cupich wrote in a letter released by the archdiocese.
Spokesperson - Decision - Motion - Time
A spokesperson for the archdiocese claimed “this decision has been in motion for some time and is not directly due to the flag-burning.”
The Chicago cardinal warned Rev. Paul Kalchik—a priest at Resurrection Parish in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago—not to burn the flag, but Kalchik said he ignored the cardinal’s warning and performed a closed-door “exorcism ceremony” where he burned the flag with seven parishioners in a fire pit.
Flag - Church - Altar - Parishioners - Years
The flag had been featured behind the church’s altar in the past, but parishioners said it had not been displayed for years. The 56-year-old priest announced in a church bulletin released September 2 that he planned to torch the flag after discovering it in storage.
News of the flag-burning spread, prompting LGBTQ activists to stage protests outside the church on Wednesday, calling Kalchik’s actions a “hate crime.”
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