CHICAGO, Illinois — The archbishop of Chicago has removed a priest as head of a North Side church after he burned a rainbow banner, angering the LGBT community.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Cardinal Blase Cupich announced Father Paul Kalchik’s removal in a recent letter to parishioners and staff at the Resurrection Catholic Church.
Cupich said he acted “out of concern” for Kalchik and parishioners. He said the 56-year-old priest needed “time away from the parish to receive pastoral support.”
“I do not take this step lightly. Rather, I act out of concern for Father Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish. 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,” the cardinal wrote in a letter to parishioners.
Kalchik had earlier spoken of of his own abuse as a child by a neighbor — as well as a later incident by a priest when he was 19 — and said the abuse crisis in the Church was “definitely a gay thing.”
However, the priest told the Tribune on Friday that he’s not anti-gay and that he was “about as much of a gay basher as Mother Teresa.”
An archdiocese spokeswoman told the paper Saturday that the priest’s removal wasn’t “directly due” to banner’s destruction and had been “in the works.”
Crux staff contributed to this report.