Cardinal Blase Cupich, Catholic archbishop of Chicago, has removed Rev. Paul Kalchik (56) from his pastorate of Resurrection Catholic parish in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago, after it was revealed that the pastor had burned a banner of gay liberation. “For some weeks now, I have become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish,” Cupich said in a letter to parish staff and parishioners. “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.”

“I do not take this step lightly,” Cupich continued. “Rather, I act out of concern for Fr. 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.”

Kalchik ceremoniously burned the gay banner on September 14 despite orders from Cupich not to do so.

However, according to an archdiocesan spokesperson, Kalchik’s dismissal was not related to the destruction of the banner, which had hung inside the church. 

In the past, Kalchik has claimed that he was the subject of sexual abuse by a Chicago-area priest as a seminarian. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, he insisted that he does not hate homosexuals and lesbians. “Love the sinner, hate the sin — that’s as harsh as I get.” He revealed his traumatic past in a homily earlier this month.

According to a recent bulletin published by Resurrection parish, Kalchik has received numerous threats because of his stance in defense of Catholic teaching regarding sexual behavior and marriage. Kalchik told the Chicago Tribune that he goes to and from his residence and parish church under police escort because he fears attack. He recently reported that an intruder tried to break into the church.

Chicago Alderman Deb Mell, a progressive Democrat who represents Chicago’s 33rd war, organized a protest outside the church in protest of Kalchik’s incineration of the gay pride banner. She and her supporters brought rainbow flags and other placards to spread the message that “Hate Has No Home here.” On Saturday, another protest was held outside the church. The rally that was organized by Northwest Side Coalition Against Racism and Hate last only an hour until members were informed by a person coming out of the church that Kalchik had been dismissed. According to the Chicago Tribune, rally goer Al Grippe said that having the priest continue in a leadership position would be an “affront to the LGBT community.”

Mell said that the flag-burning was a “hate crime plain and simple,” She demanded that Pope Francis and Cardinal Cupich “to send this hateful bigot packing.”

“I had no idea that this hate was in his heart for our community,” Mell said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “We know each other well. … I take it very personally, and it’s very hurtful. We’ve come so far as an LGBTQ community, and we have so many things to celebrate, and to think that this hatred is being spread in our neighborhood is not acceptable,” she said. “This isn’t who we are . . . LGBTQ families are a fabric of our neighborhood.”

Kalchik discovered the gay banner two weeks ago and organized a ceremony to burn it in the presence of his parishioners. He asked that they “prayerfully sing Psalm 141, ‘Let my prayer arise before you like incense, my hands like an evening offering,’” according to the September 2 parish bulletin. Kalchik has also recently called on Catholics to boycott masses said by Cardinal Cupich.

Cupich was named by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a diplomat who represented the Vatican to the government of the United States, in his recent letter of “testimony” regarding homosexual corruption in the Catholic Church. “The appointments of Blase Cupich to Chicago and Joseph W. Tobin to Newark were orchestrated by [Cardinal Theodore ]McCarrick, [Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez] Maradiaga and [Cardinal Donald] Wuerl, united by a wicked pact of abuses by the first, and at least of coverup of abuses by the other two. Their names were not among those presented by the Nunciature for Chicago and Newark,” wrote Viganò.  

For his part, Cupich has asserted that the Catholic Church is becoming “distracted” by the sex abuse scandals instead of focusing on the “environment” and “protecting migrants.” He said, “We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.” He has also argued that the sex abuse crisis has little to do with homosexuality, and instead is the product of “clericalism.” 

Cardinal Cupich has been the focus of criticism of Catholics and others over what they consider to be the covering up of sexual abuse committed by priests and other diocesan personnel. In a press release, Stephen Brady -- the founder and president of the watch-dog group Roman Catholic Faithful -- said, “We have been investigating this type of homosexual coverup since 1996. When we uncovered a network of clerical and administrative homosexuals in the case of the late Bishop Daniel Ryan in Springfield (Illinois), the press referred to us as right-wing extremists. Cardinals Bernardin and George of Chicago both protected Bishop Ryan. It wasn’t until we went public with damning evidence that Bishop Ryan was finally removed. Those who protected him, however, were still in power. The Chicago Archdiocese’s jurisdiction covers the entire state of Illinois. In my opinion, its corruption has spread throughout the entire state of Illinois.”

Brady wants to review documents that may be in possession of the Chicago archdiocese that relate to alleged homosexual abuse of seminarians and of other young men committed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. He said in the release that he wants court documents unsealed, as well as the release of documents relating to “any payoffs – even if they were made through a third party.”

Brady has long focused his attention on the circumstances surrounding the still-unsolved murder of Frank Pelligrini -- a Catholic layman and college professor who was brutally stabbed to death in 1984, just days before he was to meet with diocesan officials “regarding a network of homosexual clergy who were abusing underprivileged boys in Chicago.” Brady’s statement also said that he and his group want the release of all documents regarding Fr. Andrew Greeley “because of his close connection to Mr. Pellegrini and the comments he made in one of his books regarding a murder in Chicago.” 

Reportedly, Pellegrini had maintained homosexual relations with a local priest but planned to tell the Chicago archdiocese about a cabal of criminal homosexuals in the area. The group of criminal paedophiles was known as The Boys Club, which was allegedly permitted to operate with the knowledge of church officials and kept under wraps. "There is no evidence against them because no one has complained about them and none of their fellow Priests have denounced them," 

Greely wrote in one of his books. "Those who have been removed are for the most part lone offenders who lacked the skill to cover their tracks. The ring is much more clever. Perhaps they always will be. But should they slip, should they get caught, the previous scandals will seem trivial." 

"They are a dangerous group," Greeley added. "There is reason to believe that they are responsible for at least one murder, and may perhaps have been involved in the murder of the murderer. Am I afraid of them? Not particularly. They know that I have in safe keeping information which would implicate them. I am more of a threat to them dead than alive." Besides his work as a priest, Greeley was a best-selling author and a media celebrity.

In an extensive interview on Monday with Brady, Spero News learned that he expects to release information that links several Catholic priests to a homosexual underground.
 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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