The Chicago Tribune has dissed its last customer.
Okay, I exaggerate a bit. Maybe I was the Trib's second to last customer when I canceled my subscription to this once-great Chicago newspaper earlier this month. With the advent of the internet and alternative sources of news, cable TV and so forth, the practice of actually reading a physical paper is virtually unknown to today's youth. To exacerbate this further, taking time to actually read something, as opposed to just pressing a button or two and getting a video report, is just not happening! The once-big newspapers are quickly becoming fossils if they fail to keep up with the times.
As a fossil myself (a man in my 60s), I still like to hold a newspaper in one hand and my coffee in the other, perusing the headlines, checking out sales and so forth. Well, not anymore. I canceled my Trib subscription because of the newspaper's libelous treatment of me.
On Jan. 3, the Trib published a piece with the rather lengthy title "Money, Media and Mel Gibson: Suburban-Based Coalition for Canceled Priests Uses Aggressive Tactics in Bid to Reinstate Sidelined Clerics." Distilled to plain English, the ranty title paints the Coalition For Canceled Priests as unduly belligerent in its support for censured priests.
The article itself, meanwhile, resurrected a couple of bald-faced lies about me that were veritable internet clickbait circa September 2018. But what John Keilman published about me this Jan. 3, far from being news of any sort, was just repackaged tripe. Keilman wrote:
The Rev. Paul Kalchik lost his post at Chicago's Resurrection Catholic Church in 2018 after he burned a rainbow banner that had hung in the parish, calling it sacrilegious. In November, speaking at a Baltimore rally organized by conservative media outlet Church Militant, he condemned tolerant views of homosexuality as "one of the worst evils" to befall the Church and society.
For starters, the phrase "lost his post" hardly describes the reality of the evil events that played out in fall 2018 at Resurrection Parish. The Chicago city alderman Deb Mell mustered up enough ire to spark numerous streetside protests against me. She demonized me as "a hater" — because I opposed so-called gay marriage and sodomy. I am wording things politely here for Church Militant readers, but the vitriol she posted on her Facebook page knew no bounds. Others, like Chicago's now-mayor Lori Lightfoot, jumped onto this internet witch hunt.
In September 2018, Lightfoot — then just a mayoral candidate — wrote a letter to Chicago cardinal Blase Cupich demanding my immediate removal from Resurrection Parish, where I had been pastor for over 11 years. Lightfoot held nothing back in her diatribe demanding my immediate removal from the parish, despite her not being Catholic and her being in a so-called gay marriage with another woman.
Lightfoot wrote to Cupich, "What's more, in the ensuing public outcry, Rev. Kalchik has gone further and described homosexuality as an act against God and stated that homosexuals are to blame for the clergy sex abuse scandal. Rev. Kalchik's ignorant and hateful speech and actions must be addressed swiftly."
As a Roman Catholic priest, it's my job to preach the gospel. Thank you, Ms. Lightfoot, for confirming that in the course of my many years as pastor at Resurrection, I did my job of condemning sin and calling my parishioners to holiness.
In 2013, I spent a lot of time preaching against sodomy at Resurrection Parish — as detailed in many of my recorded homilies that year. I did this because, in 2013, the state of Illinois ratified so-called gay marriage. Also of note, in 2013, Bp. Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, spent a good deal of his time decrying the movement afloat that year in Illinois to ratify "gay marriage" (as did many other Illinois clergy).
What is surprising to me now, over three years after fleeing Chicago, is just how much anger Lightfoot displayed in her short letter. You would have thought that I had murdered someone! From Lightfoot, I received a condemnation for simply doing my job of sanctifying others.
This is all old news in January 2022. Longtime Church Militant readers are well aware of those evil events that played out in Chicago in the fall of 2018. Astute readers will recall the sacrilegious banner that Fr. Daniel Montalbano had manufactured for Resurrection's opening Mass in June 1991. It was not an ordinary rainbow flag; in fact, it wasn't a flag at all. It was a banner with a lavender cross over a rainbow background.
In fact, by 2018, this cursed object used to promote sodomy at the parish had decayed to just a moldy artifact of the parish's notorious past, stuffed away in the back of the sacristy closet. Resurrection's first pastor, Montalbano incurred much rancor from parishioners for his raping the parish financially before his unseemly demise.
All the specifics that played out during Fr. Montalbano's short pastorate are well-documented. What perhaps remains unknown, though, is this: Cdl. Francis George, when I was first assigned to Resurrection in 2007, told me directly that he was sending me there to "clean up the parish." He knew all too well the gory details about the church on Chicago's north side. Both of its two prior pastors went out with smoke and fire: Montalbano died untimely, and Fr. Juan Sanchez-Espinoza was accused of homosexual abuse.
So you can imagine my surprise, three years after my untimely ouster from Resurrection Parish, to see my name in the Trib; I'm once again being framed by a journalist as the priest who burned a rainbow banner — as if this event was a great affront to humanity and justification of some sort for my dispossession of Resurrection Parish by an LGBT mob. Since when did mob activity become permissible in civil society?
One tragic consequence of the unchecked media propaganda directed at me in September of 2018 was a salvo of hundreds of death threats. These threats were lodged against me in person, by phone, by email and by snail mail. So you can imagine my disquiet to have a Trib journalist, for the sake of clickbait, selectively regurgitating bits of incendiary information to justify his article. On Jan. 3, I was afraid Keilman's misinformation piece would embolden the LGBT mob to, once again, attack me, but the screed enkindled not even a spark of attention — not propitious for a journalist trying to make a name for himself.
This article, on the other hand, will get some traction. Since September of 2018, I've regularly written on various topics related to the Faith. Many of these have been published on Church Militant's website.
In 2021 alone, Church Militant content garnered over 50 million views on its eponymous site, ChurchMilitant.com, and over 20 million views on YouTube.
This article will immediately reach Church Militant's massive following on social media: 282,000 YouTube subscribers; 217,000 page likes on Facebook; 43,000 Twitter followers and 11,000 Gab followers.
In comparison, the Trib garners minimal likes on its social media accounts — even with advertising dollars and numerous leftist supporters — as evidenced by the Jan. 7 screenshots provided above.
So, although I will miss the routine of holding the Sunday Trib in my hand on a cold winter's morning and drinking a hot cup of coffee, I will not miss the Trib itself. It has become naught but a fossil — something not worth spending any time on.