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 for the 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 them with charity.

He prays intensely, he acts decisively, and he teaches clearly.

Lord, send us more bishops like this one!


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About Author

John White lives in the Chicago area with his wife and seven children.


  1. David M.Lord on

    Bravo, Bishop Paprocki!!!! such courage is rare in our prelates today! May God continue to grant you strength!!!!!!

    • I’m confused about one thing – how are they attempting to ordain women as Roman Catholic priests at a Unitarian church? Just fyi – good for our Bishop for standing strong.

  2. Bravo, Bishop Paprocki, Bravo!

    Thank you for fulfilling your leadership role as Bishop of the Springfield Diocese in IL. Over and over again, I am Thankful that you are our bishop.

  3. Ann Watkins on

    really we need to excommunicate her? ok well then you better excommunicate all the criminal that you have forgiven

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