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September 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — This week’s Faithful Shepherds “Bishop of the Week” is Bishop Thomas Paprocki. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Paprocki to be the bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. Prior to this appointment, His Excellency served as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago from 2003 to 2010.

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Throughout his time in the episcopacy, Bishop Paprocki has been a stout defender of the Church’s teachings. This fact can easily be seen in his long history of speaking out against pro-abortion politicians. In 2011, Paprocki co-authored a statement with five other Illinois bishops condemning the Catholic Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn, for presenting an award at a pro-abortion event. 

More recently, Bishop Paprocki made headlines following the passage of the Reproductive Health Act in Illinois in 2019 which declared abortion a “fundamental right. Paprocki issued a statement in accordance with Canon 915 which barred pro-abortion Catholic legislators from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield. Paprocki wrote that legislators who “obstinately persisted in promoting the abominable crime” of abortion will only be readmitted to Communion “after they have truly repented these grave sins” and “made suitable reparation for damages and scandal.” In 2018, he specifically barred U.S. Senator Dick Durbin from receiving Holy Communion.

Bishop Paprocki has also been a vocal defender of the Church’s teaching on marriage and homosexuality. In 2013, on the day same-sex “marriage” was legalized in Illinois, Paprocki held a special holy hour of “supplication and exorcism in reparation for the sin of same-sex marriage” in the state capital. Paprocki stated that the event was intended to “call attention to the diabolical influences of the devil that have penetrated our culture.” 

In 2017, Bishop Paprocki issued a decree to all clergy and staff of the Diocese of Springfield that “prohibits same-sex weddings to be performed” by diocesan personnel or on Church property. The decree restricted people living in same-sex unions from “receiving the sacraments or serving in a public liturgical role” unless they have repented.

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Bishop Paprocki has also promoted reverent liturgy. In 2015, he  requested that the pro-Traditional Latin Mass order, Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, operate a parish on the east side of Springfield. Although Paprocki noted that he did not receive a specific request for the Traditional Latin Mass by laity, he stated that this Mass is a “diocesan need.”

Bishop Paprocki has also been known to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. After the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C., Bishop Paprocki offered a Pontifical High Mass at St. Mary Mother of God Church. Then, in 2018, Paprocki celebrated a Solemn Pontifical High Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart at Sacred Heart Church in Springfield.

While upholding the Church’s teaching on issues such as homosexuality and abortion seems like a rather obvious task for Church leadership, so often today our bishops fail to do just that. Faithful Catholics must work to hold the Church hierarchy accountable. Visit Faithful Shepherds to find out more about your bishop’s views and past actions, as well as contact Church leaders via email, phone, or postcard.