Sexual Abuse Survivor Priest Who Burned Rainbow Flag Punished by Chicago Archdiocese

Photograph of Cardinal Bernardin presiding over Mass in 1991 at Resurrection Parish (Credit Fr. Kalchik)

A Catholic priest at Resurrection Parish in Chicago has angered Cardinal Cupich after he planned an event to burn an LGBTQ “pride” flag he found stashed away in his rectory.

A victim of sexual abuse himself, Father Paul John Kalchik announced his intention to burn the sacrilegious flag in protest on the parish website. “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,” he wrote. The flag wasn’t just hung in the church but placed in front of the hand-carved crucifix from Germany on the altar.

Photograph of Cardinal Bernardin presiding over Mass in 1991 at Resurrection Parish under rainbow flag (Credit: Father Kalchik)

Since the Pennsylvania grand jury report came out detailing the abuse of mostly teen boys by priests, there is a growing concern by laity that unchecked homosexual predation is the main problem and cause of the crisis in the Church. Photographs were found of the rainbow flag intertwined with a cross hanging over mass that was being said by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who was standing next to Easter candles with rainbows on them at Resurrection Parish. At the time of that mass in 1991, Bernardin was at the forefront of the LGBTQ activism that is currently warring for the soul of the Church. Bernardin started AGLO (Archdiocese Gay and Lesbian Outreach) to provide mass for gay Catholics who reject Catholic teaching on sexuality.

While the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is notoriously slow to punish priests engaged in improper sexual behavior, the Chicago Archdiocese acted with urgency to cancel Fr. Kalchik’s event. After announcing his intention to burn the flag, Fr. Kalchik received a phone call from the Vicar for Priests Office, which is the disciplinary arm of the archdiocese. “It was a joint phone call with Fr. Dennis Lyle and Fr. Jeremy Thomas, who told me the cardinal had a message for me,” Kalchick told PJM. “They said, ‘the cardinal wants you 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 has been under psychological care for PTSD and depression since he was sexually assaulted at the age of 11 by a neighbor and then again at the age of 19 by a priest. “It was very insensitive,” he said of the cardinal’s message to him. “My condition is not a secret. All of my adult life I’ve been in treatment for the trauma of my youth. But still I’ve managed to have a functional life and a very successful career.”

Risking the ire of Cardinal Cupich, Fr. Kalchik burned that flag anyway, earlier than planned, with some faithful parishioners.

He then received a letter forwarded to him from Cardinal Cupich from the Diocese of Gaylord in Michigan, where he had been accepted for transfer, rescinding their offer. “Today my staff discovered written materials by Father Kalchik on social media that now give me hesitation about accepting him for priestly ministry…. I am withdrawing my acceptance at this time,” wrote Bishop Steven Raica. Fr. Kalchik was confused by the letter. “Frankly I don’t know what Bishop Raica was talking about.  I’ve never been on Facebook, nor have I ever had a Twitter account.  I do not know anything about social media,” Kalchick said.

PJ Media reached out to the Archdiocese of Chicago about Fr. Kalchik’s loss of his requested transfer but the cardinal’s office refused to respond.

Perhaps Fr. Kalchik is too zealous and too outspoken or too conservative in the opinion of Cardinal Cupich and Bishop Raica, but considering his background of abuse (by a priest, no less) shouldn’t his superiors pause before condemning him? Those who so willingly offer grace and forgiveness to horrific abusers (and shuffle them around to prey on others under the guise of second chances) should not have a problem offering at least the same grace to a parish priest who wants to see corruption routed.

And what about that flag? Why would a gay pride flag hang in a Catholic Church? “Pride” is a deadly sin. As Christians, we are to practice humility and shun pride in all forms. Hanging a flag that literally means “pride” seems too absurd to even contemplate. Is the gluttony flag coming next? How about a wrath bingo night or a sloth TV marathon (sign me up for that!)?

The doctrine of the Catholic Church has not been changed to accommodate any gay pride initiatives or gay marriage or anything else on the LGBTQWTF wish list. Rogue clerics have done their best to make it appear that way in big cities in every state by hosting “dignity masses,” which are not sanctioned by Rome. They are not supposed to be attended by any man of the cloth and are not allowed on church property — yet they do it anyway and no one gets defrocked or denied transfer requests.

On the Dignity USA website (a group of gay Catholics who refuse to accept Catholic teaching) it clearly says that Catholic priests are presiding over LGBTQ mass events that have been forbidden by Rome. “At our weekly Eucharistic services, our presiders have been called forth from our community. They are ordained Roman Catholic priests as well as non-ordained women and men presiders.” [Emphasis mine.] One wonders if the ordained priests who are presiding over these masses have ever received a cease and desist order from their archdiocese.

But if a priest tries to burn a gay flag that stands for a pagan theology that the Church is supposed to oppose (rebellion, lust, fornication), suddenly his status as a priest and his very livelihood are in jeopardy. The infamous Father Pfleger of Chicago has been flouting his superiors for decades and nothing ever happens to him. He has adopted children against his superiors’ wishes, speaks loudly about his support for women in the priesthood, holds illegal protests (one that shut down an entire expressway and one where he personally defaced billboards with spray paint), brought pro-abortion politicians in to campaign in his church, and refused a direct order from Cardinal George to take a transfer. Pfleger was disciplined for less than a month and was reinstated even after refusing to leave his parish. He is still the pastor of St. Sabina’s. The only difference between Fr. Pfleger’s protest and Fr. Kalchik’s protest is political ideology.

According to Catholic teaching, there is room for disagreement on a range of political issues. So why can’t Fr. Kalchik publicly protest the LGBTQ activism in the church (when it isn’t supposed to be there)? Fr. Pfleger is allowed to stump for pro-abortion candidates, which is forbidden by both church teaching and the law and should upend his tax-exempt status. Technically, the doctrine of the Church agrees with Fr. Kalchik and is completely against many of Fr. Pfleger’s pet projects.

It’s also important to note that this flag was not just any rainbow flag that flew at a Pride parade. It was a flag that a former priest, Fr. Montalbano (now deceased), had made specifically for the altar of Resurrection Parish. Fr. Kalchik’s protest was not a protest against gay people. It was a protest against the heresy inside the church, where the hierarchy looked the other way or actively deceived the laity while breaking their vows of celibacy with each other and victims like Fr. Kalchik. “Many priests, bishops, archbishops, and even cardinals have succumbed to lust and are far more busy worshiping lust than God,” said Fr. Kalchik. His protest was a public smashing of an idol. It doesn’t get more biblical than that.

Resurrection Parish is now under assault from the LGBTQ “love wins” crowd. They have been flooding the church phone lines with hateful messages, spewing threats and anger at staff. It is so bad that the staff has had to turn the phones to voicemail and wade through message after message of venom to find legitimate calls. Remember, everyone, “hate has no home here” unless you’re a rotten traditional Christian conservative, and then all bets are off.

Cardinal Cupich has bigger problems on his hands than Fr. Kalchik and his desire to see Christ’s Church follow its own teaching. Two of Cupich’s priests were just arrested in Florida for having sex in broad daylight with one another in a car a few feet away from a school where children play. Unbelievably, Cupich didn’t defrock them. Instead, he removed them from their positions but left them able to apply elsewhere outside of Chicago. This seems to be the same old, same old from Catholic leadership. Sexual miscreants always get a second, third, or eighth chance to do more damage elsewhere. But what will happen to the priests who want the sexual abuse and misconduct to stop and who want to adhere to traditional Catholic teaching? It doesn’t look good for Fr. Kalchik if history is any indication.

Michael Brendon Dougherty wrote at National Review in July:

The holiest priest I know has a career in shambles. He was talented and smart and went to the right schools in Rome. But he wanted to offer the traditional Latin Mass and give those entrusted to his spiritual care the undiluted Faith. For this he has suffered mightily. For years, he was stripped of his faculties by a certain Cardinal who happily promoted and transferred known pederasts, a Cardinal whom ‘everyone knows’ about but who hasn’t been exposed in public. This holy priest — a truly great confessor — was later restored, but he’s still kept in obscurity. His suffering for the faith within the Church, and his suffering in his personal life is bringing him to the point where a sensitive soul’s knees would buckle if he entered the room. And it is suffering like his that brings grace to a Church starving for it.