Chicago priest defies Cardinal Cupich, burns LGBTQ flag on church grounds

More more more on this story, here at The Hill, in addition to Sun-Times.

From Sun-Times, in story headlined above:

[The pastor, Fr] Kalchik led seven parishioners in a prayer of exorcism Friday, and the flag was burned inside a portable fire pit placed the schoolyard next to the church. The ashes of the flag now rest in a church compost heap.

“That banner and what it stood for doesn’t belong to the Archdiocese or Cardinal Cupich. It belongs to the people of this parish who paid for it,” Kalchik said. “What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?”

Spokeswoman Anne Maselli:

. . .  the archdiocese was “unaware” that the flag-burning occurred, “and we are following up on the situation. As Catholics we affirm the dignity of all persons.”

Out of the playbook she spoke.

Gay group Dignity USA president Chris Pett:

“He’s hijacking the parish and trampling on core Catholic values . . .  The archdiocese needs to denounce this in the strongest possible terms.”

Some history and more from Fr. K.:

Kalchik, 56, claims he was preceded by three “bad priests” who were “big in promoting the gay lifestyle” before he was ordained as pastor of Resurrection by Cardinal Francis George in 2007.

The flag was first displayed prominently at the church’s altar in 1991 to welcome LGBTQ worshippers to the faith, according to Kalchik, but it was later taken down and put into storage — along with priestly vestments and candles emblazoned with rainbow colors.

Kalchik said he found the vestments and destroyed them when he arrived in 2007, but somehow missed the flag until another cleaning session last month.

“The people of this parish have been pretty resilient and put up with a lot of B.S.” Kalchik said in an interview in his office Tuesday night. “And it was just by accident that this banner that was made to celebrate all things gay … did not get destroyed when I first got here.”

K. touches the third rail of progressive sensitivity:

Kalchik — who says he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — says the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.”

Indeed. Cardinal C., however,

. . . has rejected a connection between the scandal and gay priests but has drawn criticism in recent weeks for comments claiming the church should focus on other priorities instead of being “distracted” by the sex-abuse crisis.

C. wants it to go away. K. doesn’t.

“I can’t sit well with people like Cardinal Cupich, who minimizes all of this,” Kalchik said. “Excuse me, but almost all of the [abuse] cases are, with respect to priests, bishops and whatnot, taking and using other young men sexually. It’s definitely a gay thing.”

Of gays in the church, Kalchik says “scripture is crystal-clear. It’s against God’s law.

Or so says the church, including Pope Francis, apparently, though he is hard to chart in the matter, as in others, reportedly telling Italian bishops not to admit practicing gays to the seminary  but to at to the disappointment of at least one gay advocate still holding to the Catholic line,.

One thing, he’s cagy on the subject and says a lot to make him seem very gay-friendly. Like his Chicago appointee, Cardinal Cupich.

Finally, another explanation by Fr. K., in The Hill, where he’s quoted from NBC News,

. . . the flag, which had the image of the cross intertwined with a rainbow, was a “profane” depiction of the cross and a “sacrilege.”

“We did [the burning] in a private way, a quiet way, so as not to bring the ire of the gay community down upon this parish,” [he] said. “It’s our full right to destroy it, and we did so privately because the archdiocese was breathing on our back.”

. . . . .

“We took matters into our own hands and said a prayer of exorcism over this thing,” Kalchik said. “It was cut into seven pieces, so it was burned over stages in the same fire pit that we used for the Easter vigil mass.”

Depends what you mean by desecration, says another LGBTQ spokesperson:

“Those involved in this desecration [of the flag] are violating the core values of the Catholic faith,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA. “They are hijacking the parish to further an extremist agenda, and damaging the community in doing so.”

She has the language, we must admit. “So’s your old man” never did mouth-fighting better.



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  • Jennifer Bartoli  On 09/19/2018 at 8:31 PM

    Jim, I do remember the good Jim Brockhagen very well. How ever did you find his connection to the said Fr. Thomas? Truly inspired. St. Margaret Mary was my “home” parish (1972-1986) St. Jerome’s was within walking distance, too.

    Spent a Saturday afternoon this August searching for whatever happened to the assistant pastor at SMM who received me (and my already-born children) into the church, and who in 1983 presided at my religious wedding. I found the answer in this document The priest left a month after our ceremony, married, had children and moved out of state. He had been a wonderful catechist. I think of him every Sunday at mass when stating the credo.

    The report left me sick to my stomach; I tried to shake it off to make a pleasant Saturday evening. The next morning, Sunday, woke to the Vigano Testimony.  A few days later Cdl. Cupich was saying there were more important things the church and the pope had to worry about. If he read this account– it reads like a novel– would it move him at all? There are even photos of the crime scene. Lest we forget the victims and their families, the beautiful St. John Vianny parish in Northlake was stained by this unholy mess, also, and wonderful Fr. Charles Fanelli betrayed. 



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