Monday, April 26, 2010

Papo Gets His Own Diocese

The following is an op-ed piece presented for your review. It does not necessarily represent the "official" position of WEORC.

Papo Gets His Own Diocese

Is it good news for Springfield, or good news for Chicago?

We wish Tom Paprocki well in his first gig as the head bishop of a diocese. There is a human heart somewhere under those violet fringed robes, or at least there used to be. Years ago during his first priestly assignment, Tom received a civil law degree and opened up a law clinic for the underprivileged on Chicago’s Southside. Unfortunately that is being buried under a lot of Papal Bull.

Ambitious and self-promoting, Tom moved up the clerical pecking order with a Canon Law degree from Rome, Chancery positions, the Diocesan Chancellor role, and then on to Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago. Along the way he has been showboating his theological conservatism with traditionalist groups from here to the Vatican, who are bent on “reforming the reform” of Vatican II.

As John Paul II tried to reign in the use of the Communal Form of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then Chancellor Paprocki embarrassed Cardinal Bernardin by dissing nearly all the priests of Chicago. As reported in the papers, Papo effectively said any priest who used this popular form of the sacrament was lazy or ignorant, or both.

Paprocki is also infamous for a sermon he gave during a 2007 “Red Mass” for lawyers. He blamed the alleged victims of sexual abuse, and the media giving them coverage, for trying to destroy the Church. He went on to say, "We must use our religious discernment to recognize that the principal force behind these attacks is none other than the devil."

When the USCCB was weighing the FOCA bill, which was trying to gain traction in the US Congress, Paprocki addressed perceived threats to Catholic health care. “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… I do not think I’m being alarmist in considering such drastic steps.”

When Papo isn’t admonishing sinners, slackards and secularists on political or Church issues, he courts media attention with his” regular-Joe" activities, such as running and hockey. He prides himself in the moniker of “Holy Goalie”. However college classmates remember him more as a “holey” goalie.

Hopefully, a fresh start in a new job in a new location will give Bishop Tom Paprocki a chance to grow in wisdom, grace and humility.

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