On Friday, two deputies for Cardinal Blase Cupich went to the church where Kalchik worked – the Resurrection Church in Chicago – to tell him he was being removed.
Cupich sent a letter to parishioners that said he was becoming “increasingly concerned” about several “issues” involving Kalchik at the church, who was being removed “out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare.”
On September 2, Kalchik wrote in the church newsletter that he planned on burning a banner with a rainbow and a cross that had been found in the church. The banner was used in the early 1990’s when the church’s then-leader wanted LGBTQ people to feel welcome despite the Catholic Church’s anti-LGBTQ stances.
The Archdiocese of Chicago told him not to go through with the burning, but he did anyway. Kalchik said that he technically didn’t break any rules since he didn’t burn the flag in front of the church as initially announced, but inside the church instead.
He said a “prayer of exorcism” over the flag.
“It’s our full right to destroy it, and we did so privately because the archdiocese was breathing on our back,” he said, calling the banner “profane” and “sacrilege.”
Kalchik told the Chicago Sun-Times that he and his parents have received several threats since the burning. A church door was also left open after someone forced their way in, but no damage was done to church property.
A spokesperson for the archdiocese said that the decision “has been in motion for some time and is not directly due to the flag-burning.”
Kalchik has not commented on being removed.