Thomas J. Paprocki

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The Most Reverend
Thomas John Joseph Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
Bishop Thomas Paprocki with Scott.jpg
Bishop Thomas Paprocki (left) at 30th Anniversary Celebration of Center for Neighborhood Technology
See Springfield in Illinois
Appointed 20 April 2010
Installed 22 June 2010
Predecessor George Joseph Lucas
Ordination 10 May 1978
by John Patrick Cody
Consecration 19 March 2003
by Francis Eugene George
Personal details
Birth name Thomas John Joseph Paprocki
Born (1952-08-05)August 5, 1952
Denomination Catholic
Coat of arms
Styles of
Thomas J. Paprocki
Coat of arms of Thomas Joseph Paprocki.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style not applicable

Thomas John Joseph Paprocki (born August 5, 1952) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.[1][better source needed]


Early life and education[edit]

The third of nine children, Thomas Paprocki was born in Chicago, Illinois; he has six brothers and two sisters.[2] A lifelong fan of hockey, he began playing at a young age in the basement of his father's drugstore and supports the Chicago Blackhawks.[2] He graduated from Quigley Preparatory Seminary South in 1970, and then entered Niles College, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974.[3]

From 1974 to 1979, he studied at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, where he earned a Bachelor's in Sacred Theology (1976), Master's in Divinity (1978), and Licentiate in Sacred Theology (1979).[3]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Paprocki was ordained to the priesthood by John Cardinal Cody on May 10, 1978,[1] and then served as associate pastor at St. Michael's Church in South Chicago until 1983. In 1981, he earned his Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law and founded the Chicago Legal Clinic to assist the working poor and disadvantaged.[4][5]

Paprocki served as administrator of St. Joseph Church from 1983 to 1986, and as vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1985 to 1987.[3] He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he obtained a Licentiate in Canon Law (1989) and Doctorate in Canon Law (1991). Upon his return to the United States, he was named chancellor of the Archdiocese in 1992, and later pastor of St. Constance Church in 2000.[4] In 2013 he received an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.[6]

Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago[edit]

On January 24, 2003, Paprocki was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago and Titular Bishop of Vulturaria by Pope John Paul II.[1] He received his episcopal consecration on the following March 19 from Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., with Bishops Raymond E. Goedert and Ricardo Watty Urquidi, M.Sp.S., serving as co-consecrators.[1] As an auxiliary, he served as Episcopal Vicar for Vicariate IV, and as the Cardinal's liaison for Polonia and for Health and Hospital Affairs.[3] He is also a member of the Boards of Directors of the Polish American Association and the Polish American Leadership Initiative.[3]

When Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order in 2005 requiring all pharmacists in the state to dispense prescription contraceptives,[7] Paprocki condemned the order in Blagojevich's presence, saying, "I am dismayed that our secular society has reached the point that individuals are being required by law to violate their personal religious beliefs in order to accommodate the selfish demands of special interest groups."[8]

In November 2008, Paprocki spoke out against the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), saying, "It could mean discontinuing obstetrics in our hospitals, and we may need to consider taking the drastic step of closing our Catholic hospitals entirely. It would not be sufficient to withdraw our sponsorship or to sell them to someone who would perform abortions. That would be a morally unacceptable cooperation in evil."[9] In a subsequent interview with The Chicago Tribune, he reaffirmed his position, saying, "If Catholic hospitals were required by federal law to perform abortions, we'd have to close our hospitals."[10]

When remarking about who was responsible for the sexual abuse crises in the Catholic Church, he said that the devil was the principal force behind the lawsuits.[11]

Bishop of Springfield, Illinois[edit]

On April 20, 2010 Bishop Paprocki was appointed as the Bishop of Springfield by Pope Benedict XVI.[12] He was installed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on June 22, 2010. In November 2010, he organized a conference on exorcism.[13]

In April 2012, he was named as part of a three-member board of American Catholic Bishops (together with the chair, Seattle's Archbishop, J. Peter Sartain, and Toledo's Bishop, Leonard P. Blair, who had done some preliminary work beforehand) charged by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) with a multi-year investigation into the U.S. Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).[14] He coined the name of the Fortnight for Freedom, a campaign of the American bishops on behalf of religious liberty.[15]

In September 2012, Paprocki told his parishioners that voting "for a candidate who promotes actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy." His article went on at length discussing how the Democratic Party embraced objectionable doctrines.[16]

In November 2013, Paprocki said that Satan was behind Illinois recent legalization of same-sex marriage and held an exorcism ceremony, during which he read the exorcism rite, "in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage".[17]


Arms of Thomas J. Paprocki
Coat of arms of Thomas Joseph Paprocki.svg
The coat of arms was designed and adopted when he was installed as the Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
June 22, 2010
Arms impaled. Dexter: Or a cross throughout Azure; within the quarters four fountains, Proper, and at the center of the cross a crescent Argent. Sinister: Vert upon a Lattice Or an ogress charged with a cross patee throughout Argent; upon a chief Gules two pan-balances of the second below a heart of the third, encircled by thorns and enflamed of the second.
LEX CORDIS CARITAS - The law of the heart is love - This phrase, which is based on the texts from the Prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 31:33), Saint Paul’s Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 13:10) and the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on The Church (Lumen Gentium (LG-#9)).
The arms of his jurisdiction, the Diocese of Springfeld in Illinois, is seen in the dexter impalement (left side) of the design. Right bottom side, on a green field is seen a golden (yellow) lattice. On the lattice is displayed an ogress (a black circular device) on which is displayed a silver (white) Cross pattée. The upper portion of the design is red and contains a Sacred Heart, in silver and gold. The Sacred Heart is placed above two pan-balances.
The right side of the arms is his personal arms. On a green field is seen a golden (yellow) lattice, a device in which many individual slats form a single, integrated device of strength, far greater than all of its components. By the use of this device, Bishop Paprocki expresses that all aspects of Christian life, theology, church law and civil law, social involvements, form a framework of the total Christian. On the lattice is displayed an ogress (a black circular device) on which is displayed a silver (white) cross pattée. The cross is the “clan symbol” of the Paprocki’s family in Poland and by its use His Excellency acknowledges, with great love and devotion, the heritage that has come to him from his parents, John and Veronica (Bonat) Paprocki. The upper portion of the design, known as a “chief,” is red and contains a Sacred Heart, in silver and gold. The Sacred Heart is placed above two pan-balances, the symbol of justice and law, emblematic of the fact that Bishop Paprocki is both a civil and a church (canon) lawyer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Bishop Thomas John Joseph Paprocki". David M. Cheney. Retrieved 1 November 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Holy Goalie". USA Hockey Magazine. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Biographical Summary". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. 
  4. ^ a b "Pope Accepts Resignations of Chicago Auxiliaries, Names Three Others". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2003-01-24. 
  5. ^ "Thomas Paprocki is named Advocates Man of the Year". Illinois Bar. 
  6. ^ Diocesian Bio
  7. ^ "Gov. Blagojevich takes emergency action to protect women’s access to contraceptives". Office of the Governor. 
  8. ^ "Bishop Thomas Paprocki - Diocese of Chicago". Episcopal Spine Alert. 2005-04-16. 
  9. ^ Ertelt, Steven (2008-11-11). "Catholic Bishops Urge Huge Anti-FOCA Campaign to Stop Abortion Expansion". 
  10. ^ Brachear, Manya (2008-11-11). "Catholic bishops plan to forcefully confront Obama". The Chicago Tribune. 
  11. ^ Bruce Rushton (December 8, 2011). "Holy warrior: On the ice and in the pulpit, Bishop Thomas Paprocki takes hard shots". Illinois Times. 
  12. ^ Press Office of the Holy See
  13. ^ Laurie Goodstein (November 20, 1010). "For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived". New York Times. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (June 13, 2012). "Bishops Defend Fight Against Obama’s Policy on Birth Control Coverage". New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ Think and pray about your vote in the upcoming election, by Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Catholic Times, September 23, 2012
  17. ^ Illinois bishop plans gay-marriage exorcism

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
George Joseph Lucas
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Succeeded by