For the second time this year, Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich has unceremoniously removed a pastor with a reputation for Catholic orthodoxy. First, it was Father C. Frank Phillips of St. John Cantius Church (click here if you're not already familiar with what transpired in that situation).
Now it's Father Paul Kalchik of Resurrection Parish.
From Catholic blogger Oakes Spalding's Sept. 22 post (click here to read his post in its entirety):
Just hours ago, new Chicago Auxiliary Bishop Mark Bartosic arrived unannounced at Resurrection Parish on Chicago's Northwest side and told Pastor Paul Kalchik that he had just minutes to get his belongings together and vacate the premises or the police would be called to arrest him for trespassing.
Father Kalchik was about to perform a wedding. Soon after, Father Kalchik left for an undisclosed location, accompanied by his brother who had been visiting the parish. Bishop Bartosic performed the wedding instead, hastily slipping out the door of the church only seconds after concluding the ceremony.
Father Kalchik had been ordered by Cardinal Cupich and the archdiocese to report for psychiatric counseling and perhaps confinement yesterday after controversy broke concerning the exorcism and burning of a 'gay rainbow flag' on parish grounds last week.
Father Kalchik recently announced – click here to read the text of his Sept. 9 homily – that he had been molested by two men, one of them a priest, on two separate occasions in his past. Since the flag-burning incident, he's reportedly been the recipient of threats of rape and death. His parishioners are said to be supportive of him.
From ChurchMilitant.com (click here to read the article in its entirety):
Church Militant confirmed Saturday [Sept. 22] that Father Paul Kalchik, pastor of Resurrection Parish in Chicago, has fled his parish and gone into hiding, one day after two chancery priests threatened him that if he did not get psychiatric treatment, Cardinal Blase Cupich would ensure he'd be taken away by police.
'The full frontal attack took place this evening, and the attack resulted in me not saying the evening Mass, nor leading the Rosary Benediction,' Father Kalchik told Church Militant Friday night about the confrontation with Monsignor Dennis Lyle and Father Jeremy Thomas, both vicars for priests....
According to parishioners Miriam and Wayne Smith, who spoke with Kalchik immediately after the confrontation, the vicars for priests 'attempted to order him to pack his bags and leave, but he refused.'
'Father Kalchik told them that he had done nothing wrong and that he was going nowhere,' the Smiths told Church Militant. 'They continued to use crude and threatening language that upset the staff members present very much.'
In a disturbing twist, the two vicars for priests alluded to Kalchik's death when he continued to refuse to leave with them. 'Father Kalchik told those two enforcers that he had Mass to celebrate in the morning and that he was needed in the parish,' the Smiths continued. 'The response from the two was to ask him, 'What would happen if you were dead?''
Catholic attorney and child advocate Elizabeth Yore is another supporter of Father Kalchik. Ms. Yore is the former general counsel at Illinois DCFS, where she investigated the first of many sex abuse allegations against notorious ex-Chicago priest Daniel McCormack. (McCormack subsequently pleaded guilty to molesting five boys, was laicized by the Church, and currently resides in a state facility for sex offenders.)
"This is how Francis-church handles the explosive clergy sex abuse scandals: They employ gestapo tactics against a good and holy priest who also happens to be a sex abuse victim, both as a child and as a seminarian," Ms. Yore said in an email to me. "Is this the Francis-church of mercy? Rather, this is the action of a tyrannical and callous cardinal who is roundly disliked and scoffed at by Chicago archdiocesan priests for his bully stunts, like this one.
"Catholics are fed up with good and holy priests being persecuted by the hierarchy. Unfortunately, Cardinal Cupich just opened 'a rabbit hole.'"
Matt C. Abbot writes for RenewAmerica.