CHICAGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - Backlash is building against Chicago Cdl. Blase Cupich for forcing a faithful priest into hiding.
On Saturday, Fr. Paul Kalchik, pastor of Resurrection Parish, fled his church and went into hiding, a day after he was visited by two chancery priests threatening that if he didn't seek psychiatric treatment, Cupich would send police to forcibly institutionalize him.
Monsignor Dennis Lyle and Fr. Jeremy Thomas made clear they were acting on Cupich's orders; according to lay witnesses, the pair used "crude and threatening language" against Fr. Kalchik and went so far as to suggest the faithful priest's life is in danger.
"Fr. Kalchik told those two enforcers that he had Mass to celebrate in the morning and that he was needed in the parish," Miriam and Wayne Smith told Church Militant. "The response from the two was to ask him, 'What would happen if you were dead?'"
Cupich sent Lyle and Thomas to harangue Fr. Kalchik after Resurrection parishioners burned an LGBT flag featuring a rainbow superimposed over the cross that once hung in the sanctuary at the parish's first Mass.
In response to Cupich's thuggery, Church Militant launched a petition calling for the Chicago cardinal to resign; many of the 8,000+ signatories have posted expressions of disgust on the apostolate's Facebook page.
From Janness Abraham: "Now the Chicago faithful need to come out in droves in front of Holy Name and demand his resignation. After all, Stupich is very fond of thousands marching down I-90 to stop traffic, so why wouldn't he welcome 1,000's in front of Holy Name? ... They need to be there every day until he's GONE."
Elleblue Jones: "His behavior is EVIL and he is a BULLY! He has to go NOW!"
On Saturday, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops posted an image of Cupich on its Facebook page, quoting him from a recent address on "the Latino experience." The post struck many as tone-deaf and prompted further reactions against the Chicago cardinal.
"Sickening," wrote Beth Burgess Cornelson. "This is who is representing the Bishops? Disgusting. Obviously, we cannot trust you. I will fight for my children's safety, and I will fight for my Church against riff raff who would destroy her. Like Cupich. Period."
From Kris Miller:
Could you all be any more tone deaf? This is who u [sic] want you quote right now [sic] and hold up for us to listen to? And you wonder why there is such a lack of trust for the USCCB and contempt. This is an insult to the victims of sexual abuse and to their families. Faithful Catholics have been through enough. After he said that the Pope had more important things to do than focus on the sex abuse scandal like immigration and climate change! Shame on you. Are you all really THIS heartless and out of touch?!
"The fact that this man was elevated to Cardinal & remains a Cardinal & an Archbishop shows how bad of a state the Church in the USA is. We are undergoing a chastisement," warned Charlie Salcedo.
"Cupich is the epitome of the problem of the hierarchy of the Church," observed Maurice Cameron. "He needs to resign along with all the other bishops who trivialize the awful things clerics have done to our faithful."
"Cupich is a heretic," said Brad Andrew Clancy.
"This man owes his red hat to a gay sexual predator... think about that," noted John Hull.
Bil Carter wrote: "If there is only one bishop in America that has to go, this is the one. Cardinal Cupich is a disaster. Time to make him the Prefect of Third Class Relics, or something."
Many Catholics are also writing letters and phoning the Chicago chancery to express their disgust with Cupich and his allies.
"I called and left a message," reported Toño Hernandez. "I said that Cdl. Cupich is being a bully. The phony clergy who toot all day on standing up for the poor and marginalized are a gang of pro sodomite bullies. I will call again."