Cardinal Cupich announced, via a letter, during the Saturday, Sept. 22 4:30 p.m. Mass at Resurrection Catholic Church ( 3043 N. Francisco Ave. ) that Pastor Fr. Paul Kalchik has been removed from the parish effective immediately.
This comes days after a peaceful demonstration organized by Ald. Deb Mell ( 33rd Ward ) Sept. 19 to protest the unauthorized burning of a rainbow flag by Kalchik and seven parishioners.
The Archdiocese communications office released this letter that was sent to the parish on Sept. 21 to this publication.
"Dear Parishioners and Staff of Resurrection Parish,
For some weeks now, I have become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish. It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed. Effectively immediately, I have appointed Msgr. James Kaczorowski, Pastor of Queen of Angels Parish and Dean, as Administrator of Resurrection Parish, effective tonight.
I do not take this step lightly. Rather, I act out of concern for Fr Kalchik's welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish. I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects.
Bishop Mark Bartosic, your Episcopal Vicar, will monitor the situation along with the Administrator to ensure that you as parishioners receive appropriate pastoral care.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cardinal Blase Cupich"
"Hearing the announcement of Kalchik's removal swelled my heart," said longtime LGBT rights activist Rick Garcia, who attended the 4:30 Mass and first alerted this publication of the news. "The Cardinal not only acted appropriately in removing this anti-LGBT and seriously troubled priest, he did it in a timely manner. Kalchik has likened homosexuality to pedophilia and suggests that the priest pedophile scandal is due to gay men in the priesthood. His assertions have nothing to do with reality. I am pleased that the Cardinal has removed this pathetic hatemonger and insists he gets the treatment that he desperately needs."
"Thank you Cardinal Cupich for taking such swift action and hearing the concerns of our community," said Mell. "I am continually encouraged by the actions taken by the Cardinal and Archdiocese to be respectful and inclusive of all Catholics."
"The Archdiocese took the appropriate action to remove a pastor who really is not serving the spiritual needs of that parish community," said DignityUSA President and Dignity/Chicago member Chris Pett.
For more on this story, visit www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Peaceful-assembly-protests-Rainbow-flag-burning-at-Resurrection-Catholic-Church/64145.html .