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Chicago Priest Defies Archdiocese, Burns Rainbow GLBT Banner

Father Paul Kalchik says the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.”

A North Side Chicago Catholic priest burned a gay-friendly flag rainbow flag outside his Avondale church last week — against the wishes of the cardinal and the archdiocese claiming that he is trying to minimize the clergy sex-abuse crisis.

The priest, Father Paul Kalchik said the banner, featuring a cross superimposed over a rainbow, had been featured prominently in the sanctuary at Resurrection Catholic Church but had been taken down and was forgotten in storage at the parish at 3043 N. Francisco for more than a decade.

Kalchik retrieved the banner from storage and then 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.

 “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?”

Kalchik— who claims 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.”

In a church bulletin dated Sept. 2, Kalchik announced that he planned to burn the flag Sept. 29 for “the Feast of Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.” But a few days later, the archdiocese told him to stop the action after officials were notified of his plans. Kalchik was thretened with  “canonical penalties” if he went through with the flag burning.

 As of Tuesday night, the archdiocese has not contacted Kalchik.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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