By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, September 23, 2018
For those who are watching the meltdown of liberal American Catholicism, the drama has a new episode every day. Just when you thought it couldn’t get more frightening and bizarre…
It does, and Chicago seems to be one of the flash points. You thought two Chicago priests caught having oral sex in Florida in broad daylight was bad? Then you learn about the famous Cardinal Bernardin and the seamy death of Fr. Montalbano and the dark side of Casa Jesus and you see just how deep the gay mafia runs in Chicago.
Now we learn about Cardinal Cupich’s grotesque handling of the case of Fr Paul Kalchik.
Church Militant has the story here, but I’ll give you the short version:
Fr Kalchik is himself the victim of sexual abuse. He was raped as a boy and then as a young man of 19 he was attacked by a gay priest.
Fr Kalchik was the pastor of the parish of the Resurrection in Chicago. This parish was established by Cardinal Bernardin as the “gay friendly” parish in Chicago. At the dedication a big rainbow banner infused with a cross decorated the sanctuary. By Fr Kalchik’s time the banner had been removed, but parishioners angry with the gay sex abuse scandal in the church decided to burn the banner in a public ceremony on church grounds. Fr Kalchik was warned by Cardinal Cupich not to proceed with the ceremony. Fr Kalchik held back, but the people went ahead with the banner burning.
Cardinal Cupich ordered Kalchik to leave. He refused. Then Cardinal Cupich sends two of his senior clergy to tell the dissident priest to pack his bags because he needs to go to a notorious pastoral center for a psychiatric evaluation. They hint at his death. They pressure him to leave and threaten police action to remove him from the rectory. So Fr Kalchick does pack his bags, but he slips out the back door and disappears.
This is the version that is being presented, and its pretty dramatic. In fact, it would make a great movie. But let’s stop and draw a breath.
First of all, Church Militant are notoriously inflammatory. They’re sensationalist and it is right to take what they say with a pinch of salt. We don’t know all the background. We don’t know all the facts and we should remember that most situations are far more complicated than they appear in news reports. There is always another side to the story. It is possible that there is a long history of rebellious behavior from Fr Kalchik, and it is possible that he has a history of emotional or psychiatric issues. It is possible that the parish have been fomenting rebellion and division for some time. There is a lot we do not know.
However, Fr Kalchik was smart, when the two representatives from the diocese turned up on his doorstep, to insist that his parishioners should be present for the meeting. If this happened, then their testimony as recorded by Michael Voris, weighs pretty heavily–even if they are biased in favor of their pastor.
But let’s step back from the sensational and try to take the very best possible view of this incident. Let’s give Cardinal Cupich and the Chicago diocesan authorities every possible benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume the Fr Kalchik does have a history of unstable behavior. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that he is some sort of wild eyed conservative homophobic radical who needs taming. Let’s also assume that Cardinal Cupich is a good and caring pastor for his clergy. Let’s assume what he did was a last resort after a long process of dialogue and listening, and that he decided for the best interests of everyone that Fr Kalchik needed a time of rest and re-evaluation. Let’s assume that Michael Voris is throwing gas on the fire, that the parishioners are exaggerating the foul nature of the event and that Fr Kalchik is not on the lam, but has simply agreed to leave and take a vacation while things blow over.
Even if we give it the best possible gloss this is still an unbelievably monstrous way for Cardinal Cupich to behave. Here’s why:
Fr Kalchik is a victim of homosexual abuse. Raped as a child and assaulted by a priest as a young man, it is understandable that he feels traumatized by gay behavior. As a priest it is understandable that he finds a gay mafia in his diocese to be hugely offensive and threatening. Was there appropriate pastoral care for this victim of clergy gay sex abuse? I thought we were all about caring for the victims? If you would like to read Fr Kalchik’s first hand account you can read the heart felt letter he wrote to Pope Francis here.
Let’s assume that Fr Kalchik has emotional and psychiatric issues and that he may be suffering from post traumatic stress. Is this how you administer proper pastoral care for a vulnerable priest? Call the cops?
Fr Kalchik has a right to dissent from church authority if that authority contradicts church teachings. Consider how New Ways Ministry–which has been formally condemned by the highest church authority– is treated compared to Fr Kalchik. New Ways Ministry and Fr Martin SJ are feted and supported for their open dissent, but Fr Kalchik does not have the right to express his views?
The two priests Cardinal Cupich sent to punish Fr Kalchik both have links to the Chicago gay mafia. Fr Kalchik writes here in his letter to Pope Francis about his knowledge of the gay sex abusers in Chicago. If the Cardinal knew about Fr Kalchik’s history of being a victim of gay sex abuse, how could he have sent two priests who have themselves been under a cloud to deal with him? How dumb is that?
What a PR fiasco! Was there no awareness that this whole affair would hit the headlines? Did the Cardinal really threaten to bring in the police to evict Fr Kalchik? It would seem that Cardinal Cupich has learned absolutely nothing about public relations after his crazy TV interview saying homosexual abuse was no big deal and the pope has other more important things to deal with like the environment and plastic water bottles. The level of incompetence in the handling of this from a public relations point of view is mind boggling.
Is Cardinal Cupich so completely unaware that he and the rest of the red robes are perceived as sixteenth century prelates–living in their palaces, jet setting off to Rome and mouthing pious words about immigrants and climate change while in fact an increasing number of the faithful regard them as corrupt, devious, Machiavellian Renaissance cardinals desperate to defend themselves and deflect all blame no matter what? Did he think threatening a faithful priest would help?
We’re all about building bridges and listening aren’t we? So you build bridges and listen by threatening police action and eviction?
The threat of police action was bad enough, but what about the threat of “removal to a pastoral center for psychiatric evaluation”? This is the stuff of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the re-education camps of the Gulag. Is this what will happen to anyone who dissents from the gay agenda? That’s what it feels like.
This disaster contributes to the impression that the whole hierarchy from the Pope downward are intent on continuing to cover for gay sex abusers, and they will take every measure possible to shut down dissent from their disastrous decisions.
Will we see a humble apology from Cardinal Cupich to Fr Kalchik and his people? Will we see an attempt at reconciliation and repentance? Don’t bet on it.
The only possible bright side of this horrible affair is that Cardinal Cupich and the rest of his liberal cronies are being revealed for what they really are.
This is the face of their “mercy”.
So we have a priest who has been traumatized by gay sex abuse and who dissents from being steamrollered by the rainbow brigade?
Fire him. Kick him out. Send him to the looney bin. Write him off. Throw him under the bus. Call the police.