Chicago, Ill., Sep 29, 2018 / 08:30 am
The recent case of Chicago's Fr. Paul Kalchik has generated considerable publicity, and left more than a few questions unanswered.
Kalchik was "temporarily" removed from his post at Resurrection Parish in northwestern Chicago last week, following a Sept. 14 incident in which a rainbow banner which had previously hung in the church building was burned by parishioners, with Kalchik in attendance.
Kalchik announced Sept. 2 that he planned to burn the flag publicly on Sept. 29. He acknowledged recently that the archdiocese had instructed him not to proceed with that plan.
Almost everything else about the case remains disputed.
The Archdiocese of Chicago told CNA recently that Fr. Kalchik had agreed not to burn the banner. Kalchik, in a recent interview, claimed that he was told not to conduct the specific Sept. 29 public event he had previously announced.
An archdiocesan spokesperson also told CNA that Kalchik's departure from the parish – which the archdiocese says is temporary – was not linked to the banner burning at all, but had been "in the works" for some weeks.
Chicago's Cardinal Blase Cupich was apparently concerned about "a number of issues" at the parish. The archdiocese added that Kalchik's departure was arranged by "mutual agreement" and that he is presently receiving "pastoral support" for unspecified needs.
Kalchik says his departure was anything but a mutual decision.
The priest says that two diocesan officials, priests, arrived at his rectory and ordered him off the premises, threatening to call the police if he refused to comply. According to Kalchik, the priests said that he would be sent to St. Luke's Institute, a Maryland psychiatric assessment and treatment center for priests.
The Archdiocese of Chicago declined CNA's request for confirmation or denial of those claims.