Thomas Paprocki

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The Most Reverend
Thomas Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield
Archdiocese Chicago
Diocese Springfield
Appointed April 20, 2010
Installed June 22, 2010
Predecessor George Joseph Lucas
Ordination 10 May 1978
by John Patrick Cody
Consecration 19 March 2003
by Francis Eugene George, Raymond E. Goedert, Ricardo Watty Urquidi
Personal details
Birth name Thomas John Joseph Paprocki
Born (1952-08-05) August 5, 1952 (age 66)
Chicago, Illinois
Denomination Catholic
Previous post Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Motto Lex Cordis Caritas
Styles of
Thomas Joseph Paprocki
Coat of arms of Thomas Joseph Paprocki.svg
Reference style His Excellency
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Bishop
Ordination history of
Thomas Paprocki
Priestly ordination
Ordained by John Patrick Cody
Date 10 May 1978
Episcopal consecration
Principal consecrator Francis Eugene George

Raymond Emil Goedert

Ricardo Watty Urquidi
Date 19 March 2003
Place Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago, IL

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]

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 - who is sometimes referred to in the media as the "Holy Goalie"[3][4][5][6][7] -, 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.[8]

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).[8]

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.[9][10]

Paprocki served as administrator of St. Joseph Church in Chicago from 1983 to 1986 and as vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 1985 to 1987.[8] He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he obtained a Licentiate of Canon Law (1989) and a Doctor of Canon Law degree (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.[9] In 2013 he received an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.[11]

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.[8] He is also a member of the boards of directors of the Polish American Association and the Polish American Leadership Initiative.[8]

When the Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, issued an executive order in 2005 requiring all pharmacists in the state to dispense prescription contraceptives,[12] 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."[13]

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."[14] 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."[15]

When remarking about who was responsible for the sexual abuse crises in the Catholic Church, Paprocki said that the devil was the principal force behind the lawsuits.[16]

Bishop of Springfield[edit]

On April 20, 2010, Paprocki was appointed as the Bishop of Springfield by Pope Benedict XVI.[17] He was installed at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on June 22, 2010. In November 2010, he organized a conference on exorcism.[18]

In April 2012, Paprocki 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).[19] He coined the name of the Fortnight for Freedom, a campaign of the American bishops on behalf of religious liberty.[20]

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.[21]

Paprocki is Episcopal Board Chairman for the Catholic Athletes for Christ, and is the author of Holy Goals for Body and Soul.[22]

Opposition to abortion rights[edit]

In February 2018, Paprocki officially upheld a previous decision to bar U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, a Catholic in his diocese, from receiving Holy Communion after the Senator voted against a 20-week abortion ban. "In April 2004, Sen. Durbin's pastor, then Msgr. Kevin Vann (now Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange, CA), said that he would be reticent to give Sen. Durbin Holy Communion because his pro-abortion position put him outside of communion or unity with the Church's teachings on life," Paprocki said. "My predecessor, now Archbishop George Lucas of Omaha, said that he would support that decision. I have continued that position."[23]

Opposition to LGBT rights[edit]

In November 2013, Paprocki said that Satan was behind recent Illinois 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".[24]

On June 23, 2017 Paprocki instructed priests in his diocese to deny communion, last rites and funeral rites to people in same-sex marriages – unless they repent. In the decree he sent to priests, deacons, seminarians and staff in his Springfield diocese last week, Bishop Thomas Paprocki sets forth a set of norms on same-sex marriage and related pastoral issues that he says are the policy of the diocese. Paprocki's decree bans priests and parish staff from performing same-sex marriages or allowing same-sex weddings or receptions at any Catholic facilities. People in same-sex marriages "should not present themselves for Holy Communion, nor should they be admitted to Holy Communion." A person in a same-sex marriage who is facing death may only receive communion after expressing "signs of repentance for his or her sins."[25] This was followed by strong criticism. Michael Sean Winters of the National Catholic Reporter called for Paprocki to be "sacked." Christopher Pett, incoming President of DignityUSA, described the decree as "mean-spirited and hurtful in the extreme." Paprocki defended his position as "a rather straightforward application of existing Church teaching and canon law."[26]

In July 2017, he stated publicly his belief that Catholic politicians who have been involved in making gay marriage legal in the United States should refrain from Holy Communion until they had sought forgiveness in the confessional.[27]

Opposition to unions[edit]

Paprocki dissented from the amicus brief filed by the Bishops' Conference in support of labor unions in the Janus case. The bishops had affirmed the Church's traditional teaching in support for unions, citing historic papal documents. Paprocki rejected this teaching. He instead supported the mandatory open shop for public employers.[28] Unlike many Catholic bishops, Paprocki has not been a visitor or spiritual guide at union halls but has collaborated with Legatus, and organization of Catholic corporate executives. He has also preached for lawyers and MBA executives.[29]


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. ^ Spearie, Steven. "The 'Holy Goalie': Bishop using hockey skills for charity". The State Journal. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  4. ^ "The Holy Goalie: A Bishop's Experience". Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  5. ^ ""Holy Goalie" bishop runs hockey camp | Cool 93.9". Cool 93.9. Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  6. ^ "'Holy Goalie' To Visit Blackhawks Practice". Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  7. ^ "Bishop Paprocki (@BishopPaprocki) | Twitter". Retrieved 2018-06-22.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Biographical Summary". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.
  9. ^ a b "Pope Accepts Resignations of Chicago Auxiliaries, Names Three Others". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2003-01-24.
  10. ^ "Thomas Paprocki is named Advocates Man of the Year". Illinois Bar. Archived from the original on December 19, 2007.
  11. ^ "About Bishop Thomas John Paprocki". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "Gov. Blagojevich takes emergency action to protect women's access to contraceptives". Office of the Governor. Archived from the original on June 5, 2010.
  13. ^ "Bishop Thomas Paprocki - Diocese of Chicago". Episcopal Spine Alert. 2005-04-16.
  14. ^ Ertelt, Steven (2008-11-11). "Catholic Bishops Urge Huge Anti-FOCA Campaign to Stop Abortion Expansion".
  15. ^ Brachear, Manya (2008-11-11). "Catholic bishops plan to forcefully confront Obama". The Chicago Tribune.
  16. ^ Bruce Rushton (December 8, 2011). "Holy warrior: On the ice and in the pulpit, Bishop Thomas Paprocki takes hard shots". Illinois Times.
  17. ^ [1][permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Laurie Goodstein (November 20, 1010). "For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived". New York Times.
  19. ^ "Vatican Names Archbishop Sartain To Lead Renewal Of LCWR". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  20. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (June 13, 2012). "Bishops Defend Fight Against Obama's Policy on Birth Control Coverage". New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  21. ^ "Think and pray about your vote in the upcoming election", Catholic Times, September 23, 2012.
  22. ^ Graves, Jim (December 15, 2016). "Bishop Paprocki on sharing the Gospel, running marathons, and building a culture of life". The Catholic World Report. Retrieved 17 August 2017.
  23. ^ Chasmar, Jessica (February 23, 2018). "Durbin barred from Communion by Catholic bishop of Springfield". Washington Times. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  24. ^ "Illinois bishop plans gay-marriage exorcism". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  25. ^ "Illinois Bishop Decrees No Communion, Funeral Rites For Same-Sex Spouses". Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  26. ^ Graves, Jim (June 28, 2017). "Bishop Paprocki responds to controversy, criticisms over decree on same-sex "marriage"". The Catholic World Report. Retrieved February 26, 2018.[]
  27. ^ "U.S. Catholic Bishop: Politicians Who Made Gay 'Marriage' Legal Must Not Receive Communion". CNS News. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  28. ^ "Catholic bishops side with labor unions in Supreme Court case - Religion News Service". January 20, 2018. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  29. ^ "Speeches and Homilies". Retrieved June 29, 2018.

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