Cardinal Boots Priest Who Burned Rainbow Flag

The Chicago Sun-Times reports:

The priest who ignited controversy last week by burning an LGBTQ-friendly flag on church grounds against the orders of Cardinal Blase Cupich [photo] has been removed from his Avondale parish. Cupich sent two of his top deputies to Resurrection Catholic Church on Friday to notify the Rev. Paul Kalchik that he was being removed as pastor, according to two sources close to the priest.

In a letter to parishioners and staff released Saturday evening by the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich wrote that he has “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,” Cupich wrote.

“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,” Cupich wrote.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

On Friday, Kalchik said he has had to have police escort him from the church to his home, out of fear he may be attacked. Earlier in the week, he said an intruder tried to break into the church.

Police did confirm that they were dispatched to the 3000 block of North Francisco Avenue just before 9 p.m. Monday because of a report of an open door. Officers checked and cleared the area, but no report was filed, police said.

It’s not immediately known whether Cupich’s decision to remove Kalchik is final, or whether Kalchik will be reinstated at the Avondale church. It is also not known what other issues the Archdiocese of Chicago was concerned about, or what role, if any, Kalchik will play in the church.

A petition calling for the cardinal’s resignation has nearly 7000 signatures at this writing.