DEAR WOMAN PRIEST, YOU’RE EXCOMMUNICATED…LOVE, BISHOP PAPROCKI
And P.S. – You’re not a priest.
That pretty much sums up Bishop Paprocki’s response to a local Catholic woman’s recent attempt to get ordained.
The woman in question is Mary F. Keldermans of Springfield. Bishop Paprocki wrote to her last month asking her to reconsider her plan, but evidently she ignored him and tried to be ordained a priest at a Unitarian church on May 5.
Bishop Paprocki promptly issued a decree of excommunication (and if you’ve never seen one of those before, they look like this).
The bishop also issued this statement to his diocese:
Please be advised that Ms. Mary F. Keldermans of Springfield, Illinois, has attempted to be ordained a priest for “Roman Catholic Womenpriests, Inc.” in a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Springfield on May 5, 2014. As a result, she has incurred an automatic excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.
That is what you call a bishop who’s not afraid to bishop.
At the same time, we should be careful not to tout this as some sort of righteous smack-down or triumphant display of authority. Bishop Paprocki is much too holy and charitable a bishop for that, and I have no doubt that his declaration of excommunication was issued with sorrow, not pleasure.
But he didn’t hold back from issuing the decree of excommunication either, or from publishing it prominently on the diocesan website.
This is one of the things I love about Bishop Paprocki. Whether it’s standing up forthe unborn, for marriage, or for Holy Orders, he doesn’t shy away from confronting those who threaten his flock, nor from explaining his position to themwith charity.
He prays intensely, he acts decisively, and he teaches clearly.
Lord, send us more bishops like this one!