Politics Foreign Affairs Culture Fellows Program

A Persecuted Priest Speaks Out

Cardinal Cupich ordered Fr Kalchik to a psychiatric facility. He's now on the run
Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 8.19.39 AM

Here is a link to a 10-minute on-camera Church Militant interview with Father Paul Kalchik, the Chicago priest who is now in hiding after being tossed from his parish by Cardinal Blase Cupich. Kalchik lost his position after presiding over the burning of a rainbow flag that had a cross stitched on it. In the early 1990s, the gay pastor of Resurrection parish hung it over the altar as a sign that the parish was gay-friendly. After Kalchik and fellow parishioners ritually disposed of the flag recently, the cardinal ordered him removed from the parish, and allegedly commanded him to go to St. Luke’s, a mental health treatment center best known for treating clerical pederasts.

Kalchik fled — he says to avoid being arrested. In the final three minutes of the interview I link to above, Kalchik talks about the death of the gay pastor, Daniel Montalbano, who was found dead in his rectory bedroom of a heart attack in 1997. Kalchik says that three deacons saw Montalbano hooked up to some sort of “sex machine.” Montalbano had walls covered by mirrors. In cleaning out Montalbano’s room, deacons found two closets full of gay pornography — magazines, videos, and so forth. Kalchik says the deacons took them out to be burned, and were ordered by the Archdiocese never to speak of these things.

I posted in this space the other day an excerpt from an archdiocesan document, in which the then vicar for priests, Father Dan Coughlin, made reference to the contents of Montalbano’s closets. “Jesse” is Father Jesse Garza, the priest sent in by the Archdiocese to take temporary custody of the parish:

In his interview, Father Kalchik says that despite knowing the circumstances of Montalbano’s death, the Archdiocese threw a big three-day funeral for him. Such was life in the Archdiocese of Chicago under Cardinal Bernardin. And today, under Cardinal Cupich, a priest has to go into hiding to prevent himself from being ordered to a psychiatric facility against his will, for standing boldly against Montalbano’s filth, and his legacy.

Such is the “mercy” in the Church today. Father Kalchik says in his interview that what’s happening to him — going into hiding to avoid persecution from his bishop — is going to become more normal in the days to come.

I hope Chicago reporters are searching out those deacons to ask them what they saw. I hope Chicago reporters are checking police files to see if a report on Montalbano’s death remains on file.