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!



Categories:Church News Feminism

58 thoughts on “Dear Woman Priest, You’re Excommunicated…Love, Bishop Paprocki

  1. Sofia says:

    Thanks Bishop Paprocki we want you as a pope. An how we can excommunicate Francis.

  2. Susan Matthiesen says:

    Here’s my comment that was removed twice at a Yahoo blog on this situation.

    Since the Church is the Bride of Christ, and priests are “other Christs”, then a woman being a priestess would have the Church as her bride, which is lesbianism. That definitely isn’t what God had in mind, or else Christ would have been a woman – Christa, and the Church would be male, i.e., the Husband of Christa.

    St Joseph would then be the Blessed Virgin Father pictured holding a baby girl Christa. Would we then have a bare breasted Christa on the Cross hanging over the altar in every local church?

    A woman is called a priestess, not a priest, which is a male term. Also, how do people address a priestess or what does a priestess call herself? (Hi, I’m Mother Sue.) Will she baptize in the name of the Mother, the Daughter and the Holy Spirit? Is the Holy Trinity female? Is woman the head of man? Do men get pregnant and bear children?

    So much to rethink!

  3. Paul S. says:

    Two things need to be re-emphasized here…

    1. This was an AUTOMATIC–i.e., “laetae sententiae”–excommunication. The act itself is defined as separating one’s self from the Church.

    2. Ms. Keldermans was warned IN ADVANCE that this action would result in an automatic excommunication.

    Therefore, in a very real way, Ms. Keldermans left the Church of her own volition, with full knowledge of what she was doing. Nobody else excommunicated her. Bishop Paprocki’s decree merely explains what had ALREADY happened, for the benefit of those who have reason to know–e.g., sacramental ministers.

    Ms. Keldermans and Bishop Paprocki both need our prayers.

  4. Robert Haenggi says:

    I agree that it wasn’t intended as a “smackdown”. Sad that the title of this article implies it was.

    There are more charitable ways to communicate the headline. Heck, simply stating the fact would have been more tactful.

    1. Eric Johnson says:

      Obviously, the poster of this article added his own form of punishment to this lady in an attempt to demean her. I wonder if he was a bully when he was younger.

    2. Harry Smith says:

      I agree.

  5. PasadenaPapist says:

    good article

  6. Jesse Buckingham says:

    Praise God for Bishops who are willing to publicly stand up for the faith.

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