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Anti-Gay Catholic Priest Defies Archdiocese, Burns Rainbow Flag in 'Exorcism' Rite

by Kilian Melloy
Saturday Sep 22, 2018

A Chicago priest who was instructed not to proceed with an announced burning of a rainbow flag has gone through with the fiery act of destruction, making it part of a bizarre "exorcism" rite, NBC News reported.

The priest in question, Paul Kalchik, announced the flag burning in an addendum to a bulletin he issued earlier this month. The target of Kalchik's flaming displeasure was a flag that had once hung in Resurrection Church, where he now officiates.

"On Saturday, September 29, the Feast of Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, we will burn, in front of the church, the rainbow flag that was unfortunately hanging in our sanctuary during the ceremonial first Mass as Resurrection parish," Kalchik announced.

When the Archdiocese of Chicago caught wind of Kalchik's plan to roast the rainbow flag, it put the kibosh on his little barbecue... or so the Archdiocese may have thought. Kalchik, however, remained undeterred in his mission of intolerance. Acting sooner than originally planned, he cut the flag into seven pieces and incinerated them while incanting a "prayer of exorcism" over the flames, NBC News reported.

Kalchik was unrepentant when talking to the media about his act of insubordination.

"That banner and what it stood for doesn't belong to the Archdiocese or Cardinal Cupich," Kalchik told the media, according to an article in the Chicago sun-Times.

"It belongs to the people of this parish who paid for it," Kalchik rationalized.

Cardinal Cupich, the superior Kalchik name checked in his dismissive remarks, has reportedly sided with Pope Francis in taking a more welcoming stance toward LGBTQ people, the Sun-Times noted. Kalchik, meantime, has referred to the ongoing pedophile priest crisis as "a gay thing," and said that the injunction against gay sex that some extrapolate from a passage in the Book of Leviticus — an injunction that purportedly calls for death to gays — is meant to taken literally.

Added the anti-LGBTQ priest, whose writings have been featured at the right-wing Catholic website Church Militant, "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?"

Not everyone agrees about the church's fundamental message and mission. The president of the Catholic LGBTQ group Dignity USA, Chris Pett, denounced Kalchik's firebug antics.

"He's hijacking the parish and trampling on core Catholic values," Pett told the media. "The archdiocese needs to denounce this in the strongest possible terms."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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