Protest held after priest burns LGBTQ flag outside Avondale church in ‘exorcism’ ceremony

CHICAGO -- A protest was held after a priest on the city's North Side burned an  LGBTQ flag outside his Avondale church last week, against the wishes of Cardinal Blase Cupich.

The Rev. Paul Kalchik burned the flag, which features a rainbow with a cross over it, along with seven parishioners during a "prayer of exorcism" at Resurrection Catholic Church last Friday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

He has been at Resurrection since 2007. Before he took over at Resurrection, the flag hung inside the church. The priest announced his plans on the church bulletin.

The priest told the newspaper he burned the flag because he did not "sit well" with Cupich who he said is trying to minimize the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal. Kalchick said he was sexually abused as a child and again at 19 by a priest, the Sun-Times 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?” he told the Sun-Times.

Ald. Deb Mell, 33rd Ward, who is openly gay, called for a peaceful protest to show that hate has no home in the area. She called on supporters to show up at the church at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Archdiocese said it was unaware of the flag-burning, but is following up. In a statement they said, “As Catholics, we affirm the dignity of all persons."

Some people were shocked by Kalchik's actions.

“This is heartbreaking. it’s shameful to have somebody of the cloth and somebody to speak of the Christian faith, this is just, it’s horrible,” Rev. Emily Heitzman, a Lutheran minister, said.

Kalchik could not be reached for comment.