Bishop Paprocki: I Direct the Eucharist be Placed in the Center of the Sanctuary

 

His Excellency Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki; Ars celebrandi et adorandi

On the Art of Celebrating the Eucharistic Liturgy

Mother of the Eucharist

The art of celebrating the liturgy properly and adoring the Lord in the Eucharist devoutly (ars celebrandi et adorandi) is the key to fostering the active participation of the People of God in divine worship. (Part 1 of series)

The Reservation and Adoration of the Holy Eucharist

18. While the Holy Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle of every parish church in our diocese, the faithful in some places do not frequently come to pray before the tabernacle to be in the presence of the Lord. Several reasons for this certainly exist, but one among them is the reality that the tabernacle is not always easily found in many of our churches today. Over the past few decades, tabernacles all too often were moved from prominent places in the sanctuary to obscure and remote rooms that in some cases were previously supply closets.

19. The present legislation of the Church concerning the placement of the tabernacle states, “In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, conspicuous, worthily decorated, and suitable for prayer.”13

Regrettably, this is not always followed.

20. In some churches and chapels, the tabernacle is set on a “side” altar in such a way that the tabernacle, though noble, is neither prominent nor readily visible. The same is often the case with the location of some Eucharistic chapels, whether they be in the nave itself, behind the sanctuary, or in another room. They are not always prominent or readily visible.

21. The great majority of our parish churches and chapels were designed to house the tabernacle in the center of the sanctuary; removing the tabernacle from these sanctuaries has left a visible emptiness within the sacred space, almost as though the building itself longed for the return of the tabernacle. With the removal of the tabernacle from the center of the sanctuary, the architectural integrity of many churches and chapels has been severely compromised.14

22. Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Eucharist in 2007, “The correct positioning of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, the place where the Eucharistic species are reserved, marked by a sanctuary lamp, should be readily visible to everyone entering the church. … In any event, final judgment on these matters belongs to the Diocesan Bishop.”15

23. With this in mind, in order that more of the faithful will be able to spend time in adoration and prayer in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord, I direct that in the churches and chapels of our diocese, tabernacles that were formerly in the center of the sanctuary, but have been moved, are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuary in accord with the original architectural design. Tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary or are otherwise not in a visible, prominent and noble space are to be moved to the center of the sanctuary; tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary but are in a visible, prominent and noble space may remain.

24. Some may object to this directive and point, by means of example, to the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome to suggest that tabernacles should not be located in the sanctuary. Saint Peter’s, of course, is different from the average church or chapel in many respects. Chief among these differences is the number of tourists who visit the Basilica each day, with no intention of praying to the Lord therein. These tourists enter this remarkable edifice built to the honor of the Prince of the Apostles simply to look around, to see the architectural beauty and perhaps to see some aspect of Catholic worship, but not to pray. The Eucharist is reserved in a special chapel into which tour groups are not permitted so that the reverence and adoration due the Eucharist can be properly accorded him by pilgrims seeking to speak with him.

25. At the same time, it should be noted that the Eucharistic chapel in Saint Peter’s is itself larger than many of our parish churches. There is more than enough room to accommodate all those who wish to pray in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord in the chapel; it is not always so with every Eucharistic chapel in this Diocese.

26. This deep-seated desire to be in the presence of the Lord resounds in the heart of every person, even if they cannot at first name this desire for what it truly is. We should therefore do all that we can to help them encounter the Lord who waits for them to seek and find him. In this regard, I strongly encourage keeping our churches open to the public in so far as can be done with the safety of people and the building in mind. Pope Francis spoke about this in his Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel, Evangelii Gaudium: “The Church is called to be the house of the Father, with doors always wide open. One concrete sign of such openness is that our church doors should always be open, so that if someone, moved by the Spirit, comes there looking for God, he or she will not find a closed door” (no. 47).

27. Regularly scheduled times for exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist in a monstrance or pyx, as well as an annual solemn and lengthier exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament, are highly commended as ways to stimulate the faithful to spiritual union with Christ which culminates in sacramental communion. The norms in the liturgical books for Eucharistic exposition and benediction are to be observed.16

Bishop Paprocki Confirms “Womenpriest’s” Excommunication

Mary Keldermans was “ordained” as a priest for Roman Catholic Womenpriests Inc. Picture Credit David Spencer/The State Journal-Register

Be Warned: Catholics Attending “Womenpriests” Services Incur Automatic Excommunication

Statement from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki Regarding Attempted Ordination and Invalid “Masses”

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.

Please note also that a schismatic group called “Holy Family Inclusive Catholic Community” is being formed here in Springfield and is planning to conduct liturgical services at the Congregational Church UCC, West College Avenue, Jacksonville, Illinois.

The Christian faithful are cautioned that this attempted ordination and these purported “Masses” are invalid. Those who knowingly and intentionally participate in these schismatic activities also incur automatic excommunication in accord with canons 751 and 1364, with due regard for canons 1321-1324 of the Code of Canon Law.

– See more at: http://www.dio.org/communications/press-releases/358-statement-from-bishop-thomas-john-paprocki-regarding-attempted-ordination-and-invalid-masses.html#sthash.8t844Nsp.dpuf

Bishop Paprocki Defends Priest That Denies Communion to Catholic Politician

Citing Canon 915, Bishop Says Senator Durbin Is Not Allowed to Receive Holy Communion

by , Breitbart

Following the priest’s withholding of the sacrament, Bishop Thomas Paprocki replied to a pro-life activist’s email about the issue. Matt Abbott at RenewAmerica published the bishop’s response:

Dear Mr. [name redacted], Senator Durbin was informed several years ago by his pastor at Blessed Sacrament Parish here in Springfield that he was not permitted to receive Holy Communion per canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law. My predecessor upheld that decision and it remains in effect. It is my understanding that the senator is complying with that decision here in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki


Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Paprocki has been an ardent enforcer of the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of human life and marriage.

In October,  Bishop Paprocki derailed an attempt by the gay activist Rainbow Sash Movement to have prayer inside Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Springfield specifically for the Illinois legislature’s approval of a same-sex marriage bill.

Paprocki warned that people who call themselves Christians should not profane God by asking Him to publicly degrade the sacrament of matrimony.

The following month, Bishop Paprocki performed an exorcism at the cathedral on the day Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) signed the same-sex marriage bill into law.

Bishop Paprocki referenced Pope Francis’s words about same-sex marriage while he was archbishop of Buenos Aires, referring to it as “a move of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Highlights From Bishop Paprocki’s Exorcism and Supplication Mass

It Is Not Hateful To Call Immoral Actions Sinful…Rather It Is In An Act Of Love!

Please enjoy Bishop Paproki’s article, what a honor it is to have courageous Bishops.

 

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

To read Bishop Paprocki’s entire homily go here:

1.   I wish to preface my reflections by saying that I am conducting this prayer service and am speaking to you now with great reluctance. I did not seek to enter any controversy and I don’t relish being part of one. But I have given this matter a great deal of thought and prayer, which has led me to the conviction that God is calling me to speak out and conduct these prayers.

2.   Our prayers at this time are prompted by the fact that the Governor of Illinois today is signing into Illinois law the redefinition of civil marriage, introducing not only an unprecedented novelty into our state law, but also institutionalizing an objectively sinful reality.

3.   It is not hateful to say that an immoral action is sinful. On the contrary, the most compassionate thing we can do is help people to turn away from sin. To ignore another person’s wrongful actions is a sign of apathy or indifference, while fraternal correction is motivated by love for that person’s well-being, as can be seen by the fact that our Lord Jesus himself urged such correction. Indeed, the call to repentance is at the heart of the Gospel, as Jesus proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15).

4.   The Good News is that God’s mercy and forgiveness extend to those who repent. Mercy does not mean approving of something that is sinful, but does absolve the wrongdoer after a change of heart takes place in the sinner through the gift of God’s grace.

5.   I do not stand here before you as a self-righteous saint who has achieved spiritual perfection, but as a sinner who has received Jesus into his heart as his Lord and Savior.

6.   This is a key point which the secularists are missing: they think that stressing God’s mercy means that sins are no longer sins. On the contrary, God’s mercy is a great gift of grace precisely because sins are sins and they call for repentance and forgiveness.

7.   The fact is that a “minor exorcism” takes place in every Baptism and Confirmation ceremony when we renounce Satan and all his works and empty promises. This prayer service will be along those lines. I’m not saying that anyone involved in the redefinition of marriage is possessed by the devil, which, if that were the case, would require the remedy of a “Major Exorcism,” but all of us are certainly subject to the devil’s evil influences and in need of protection and deliverance from evil.

8.   Our prayer service today and my words are not meant to demonize anyone, but are intended to call attention to the diabolical influences of the devil that have penetrated our culture, both in the state and in the Church. These demonic influences are not readily apparent to the undiscerning eye, which is why they are so deceptive.

9.   The deception of the Devil in same-sex marriage may be understood by recalling the words of Pope Francis when he faced a similar situation as Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2010. Regarding the proposed redefinition of civil marriage in Argentina, then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote on June 22, 2010, “The Argentine people must face, in the next few weeks, a situation whose result may gravely harm the family. It is the bill on matrimony of persons of the same sex. The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy. . . . Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”   The Pope’s reference to the “father of lies” comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as “a liar and the father of lies.” So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex “marriage” comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.

10.   The work of discouragement by the Devil in same-sex marriage is apparent in the message being conveyed to defenders of traditional marriage that the universal redefinition of marriage is unstoppable, so we might as well just stop trying. But the legalization of abortion on demand forty years ago did not silence those who believe that abortion is contrary to God’s law. On the contrary, Roe v. Wade only heightened the need for more concerted efforts to protect all human life from conception to natural death. So, too, the legal redefinition of civil marriage does not put an end to the need for discourse and action to defend natural marriage in accord with God’s plan, but only serves to heighten the need for greater efforts in this regard.

11.   Politicians responsible for enacting civil same-sex marriage legislation are morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.

12.   We must also affirm the teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.” The Church loves homosexual persons and looks upon them with compassion, offering assistance through support groups such as the Courage Apostolate to live in accord with the virtue of chastity. Indeed, all people are called to chastity, which for a man and woman united in matrimony means for the husband and wife to be faithful to each other.

Catholic Politicians Who Voted To Advance Grave Evil Are Morally Complicit!

Same-Sex “Marriage” Comes From The Devil And Should Be Condemned As Such!

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield, said marriage between gays and lesbians is a union that “comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

Paprocki also blasted Catholic politicians who pushed for passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.

During a dramatic floor speech on the day of the vote, the House speaker, who is Catholic, cited Pope Francis’ recent, conciliatory remarks toward gays and lesbians as the basis for supporting the legislation that Quinn has said he will sign next Wednesday.

Such politicians, Paprocki said, are “morally complicit as co-operators in facilitating this grave sin.”

“It is scandalous that so many Catholic politicians are responsible for enabling the passage of this legislation and even twisting the words of the pope to rationalize their actions despite the clear teaching of the church,” he said.

“All politicians now have the moral obligation to work for the repeal of this sinful and objectionable legislation. We must pray for deliverance from this evil which has penetrated our state and our church.”

In his statement Thursday, Paprocki cited two-year-old statements from then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who wrote about same-sex marriage on June 22, 2010.

“’At stake is the total rejection of God’s law engraved in our hearts,’” Paprocki quoted the pope as saying when he was a cardinal. “’Let us not be naive: It is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a ‘move’ of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.”

Interpreting those remarks, Paprocki said, “The pope’s reference to the ‘father of lies’ comes from the Gospel of John (8:44), where Jesus refers to the devil as ‘a liar and the father of lies.’ So Pope Francis is saying that same-sex ‘marriage’ comes from the devil and should be condemned as such.”

Taken from the Sun Time Blogs.  (with Editing)

Bishop Thomas Paprocki Defends Cathedral from Rainbow Sash Event

“Affiliates with the Rainbow Sash Movement
will Not be Admitted into the Cathedral”

 

Statement of Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, Regarding Planned Rainbow Sash Event at Cathedral

The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m. just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”

It is blasphemy to show disrespect or irreverence to God or to something holy. Since Jesus clearly taught that marriage as created by God is a sacred institution between a man and a woman (see Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9), praying for same-sex marriage should be seen as blasphemous and as such will not be permitted in the cathedral.

People wearing a rainbow sash or who otherwise identify themselves as affiliated with the Rainbow Sash Movement will not be admitted into the cathedral and anyone who gets up to pray for same-sex marriage in the cathedral will be asked to leave.

Of course, our cathedral and parish churches are always open to everyone who wishes to repent their sins and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois

The State Has No Authority To Redefine Marriage!

States Cannot Pass Illegitimate Laws To Transform Society!

Hello everybody! Courageous Priest here.  In case you missed it, our Apostolate is having a fundraiser.  On the feast of the Sacred Heart we offered you a unique opportunity to get a museum-grade Sacred Heart framed image, like the kind you put over the mantle.  We added many bonuses like a five-year membership with The Association of the Miraculous Medal which comes out to 3420 masses offered for your family, a sterling silver Miraculous Medal necklace, the Sacred Heart Book from Tan, 10 miraculous medals for evangelization and the Sacred Heart E-book.  Please click here to find out the full details about the Sacred Heart Image. Oh yeah, the bonuses end this Friday and the fundraiser ends on Father’s Day.  So, please check it out before you forget.  Enjoy your article and thanks for being a faithful subscriber.

God bless,

John Quinn & Jeff Gares

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(CNA/EWTN News) – Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., explained that marriage is rooted in nature and exists prior to the state, which has the authority to recognize, but not redefine, the fundamental social institution.

“Marriage is a pre-political and natural phenomenon that arises out of the nature of human beings. The Catholic Church, along with virtually every religion and culture in the world, recognizes and supports this natural institution because without it, no society will exist or flourish,” he said.
The bishop explained that marriage is “a natural outgrowth of human nature, capacities and needs.” The natural desire to procreate and create a family “can only be fulfilled through the union of a man and a woman.”

Other unions that are “essentially different” from marriage will not become marriages “simply by taking on the institutional guise,” he said.

“Those involved in same-sex relationships are looking for social validity and legal approval. All of this is understandable, but that doesn’t make it possible.”

His comments came during a May 31 debate sponsored by the Jesuit Alumni in Arizona, held at Phoenix’s Shadow Rock United Church of Christ. The bishop debated Sr. Jeannine Gramick, S.L., the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, which has been criticized by both the Vatican and the U.S. bishop for its dissent from Church teaching on homosexuality.

Although the debate was originally entitled “Two Catholic Views on Gay Marriage,” Bishop Paprocki clarified that there is “only one authentic Catholic view” on the subject.

Noting that advocates of marriage redefinition describe their cause as “marriage equality,” he criticized equality as “one of the very few unquestioned values” of post-modern philosophy.

Attempts to recognize all moral positions in the law are “logically impossible,” he said, because even morally neutral positions are “moral choices that deny recognition and equality to those who disagree.”

The bishop rejected utilitarian and morally relativistic approaches to marriage.

“If the government says that an apple is now the same as an orange, and the law requires everyone to call apples ‘oranges,’ the state would have the power to punish anyone who calls an apple an ‘apple’ instead of an ‘orange,’ but it would be a totalitarian abuse of raw power and would not change the biological reality of the nature of the fruit in question. So too with the definition of marriage,” he said.

Bishop Paprocki said advocates of homosexual unions must show that they are as necessary and beneficial to the common good as heterosexual marriage.

He noted that marriage helps protect the vulnerability of relationships with the potential for children and helps unite the complementary sexes.

Even artificial reproduction, he said, only finds ways to “mimic the union of a man and woman in order to be successful.”

The bishop rejected arguments that legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman privileges one religious view over others. Marriage was not invented by the Church or the state, but precedes them both as an institution rooted in nature, he stressed.

As a result, he said, the state has no authority to redefine marriage or family, which make up “the first cell of society, from which the state receives its existence.”

A law recognizing same-sex relationships as “marriages” is thus “devoid of any intrinsic moral legitimacy,” he explained. The state “exists to serve the family” and the family’s “own legitimate nature and identity.”

Bishop Paprocki also recalled the Catholic Church’s experience with 20th century totalitarian movements which sought to remake family life to advance state goals of racial purity or Marxist ideology. This experience, he said, led to the more refined Catholic teaching that “it is not legitimate for the state to interfere with the fundamental nature of the family.”

“(I)t is never legitimate for the state to decide that it will use marriage and the family as mere instrumentalities to be manipulated to achieve the state’s own goals of cultural transformation,” the bishop insisted.

In addition, he said, it is “naive” to assume that the redefinition of marriage poses no threats to religious freedom. Rather, it is “quite likely” that the Church will be pressured for its opposition to same-sex “marriage,” just as it is pressured to provide contraceptives and abortions.

He noted the cancelation of Illinois state contracts with Catholic Charities adoption services and foster care because the government refused to accommodate Catholic teachings against placing children with same-sex or unmarried couples.

Bishop Paprocki also voiced concern over unequal treatment in the media. He lamented the brutal 1998 murder of college student Matthew Shephard in Wyoming because he was a homosexual. However, he also noted that his own former parish secretary, Mary Stachowicz, was “brutally murdered” by a co-worker in 2002 after she urged him to quit the gay lifestyle.

Her murder was “widely ignored by the media, despite the fact that she died as a martyr for the faith,” he said.

Recognizing that it is an “uphill struggle” to convince people that same-sex relationships are not the same as marriage, the bishop emphasized that “the ethical or moral analysis of an issue is not properly based on polls or surveys of public opinion, but on values, virtues and principles.”

____________________

Please don’t forget to check out the Sacred Heart frame image before it closes this Friday.

Of Children, Emotional Fulfillment, Marriage, Freedom, And Bigotry…Oh Boy!

paprockiBishop Paprocki Weighs In On The Fraudulent Religious Freedom And Marriage Fairness Act.

Please read Bishop Paprocki’s letter addressing the legalization of so-called “gay marriage.” It will be read at all masses in his Springfield, Illinois diocese this coming Sunday.

Please “share” with your friends and family as this message must be heard!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Our state’s elected lawmakers will soon consider a bill called “The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.” A more fraudulent title for this dangerous measure could not be imagined. The proposed law is, in truth, a grave assault upon both religious liberty and marriage. All people of goodwill, and especially Christ’s faithful committed to my pastoral care in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, should resolutely oppose this bill and make their opinions known to their representatives.

The pending bill would, for the first time in our state’s history, redefine marriage to legally recognize same-sex “marriages.” But neither two men nor two women – nor, for that matter, three or more people – can possibly form a marriage. Our law would be lying if it said they could.

The basic structure of marriage as the exclusive and lasting relationship of a man and a woman, committed to a life which is fulfilled by having children, is given to us in human nature, and thus by nature’s God. Notwithstanding the vanity of human wishes, every society in human history – including every society untouched by Jewish or Christian revelation – has managed to grasp this profound truth about human relationships and happiness: marriage is the union of man and woman.

The bill’s sponsors maintain it would simply extend marriage to some people who have long been arbitrarily excluded from it. They are wrong. The pending bill would not expand the eligibility-roster for marriage. It would radically redefine what marriage is – for everybody.

It would enshrine in our law – and thus in public opinion and practice – three harmful ideas:

1) What essentially makes a marriage is romantic-emotional union.

2) Children don’t need both a mother and father.

3) The main purpose of marriage is adult satisfactions.

These ideas would deepen the sexual revolution’s harms on all society. After all, if marriage is an emotional union meant for adult satisfactions, why should it be sexually exclusive? Or limited to two? Or pledged to permanence? If children don’t need both their mother and father, why should fathers stick around when romance fades? As marriage is redefined, it becomes harder for people to see the point of these profoundly important marital norms, to live by them, and to encourage others to do the same. The resulting instability hurts spouses, but also – and especially – children, who do best when reared by their committed mother and father.

Indeed, children’s need – and right – to be reared by the mother and father whose union brought them into being explains why our law has recognized marriage as a conjugal partnership – the union of husband and wife – at all. Our lawmakers have understood that marriage is naturally oriented to procreation, to family. Of course, marriage also includes a committed, intimate relationship of a sort which some same-sex couples (or multiple lovers in groups of three or more) could imitate. But our law never recognized and supported marriage in order to regulate intimacy for its own sake. The reason marriage is recognized in civil law at all (as ordinary friendships, or other sacraments, are not) is specific to the committed, intimate relationships of people of opposite-sex couples: they are by nature oriented to having children. Their love-making acts are life-giving acts.

Same-sex relationships lack this unique predicate of state recognition and support. Even the most ideologically blinded legislator cannot change this natural fact: the sexual acts of a same-sex couple (regardless of how one views them morally) are simply not of the type that yield the gift of new life. So they cannot extend a union of hearts by a true bodily union. They cannot turn a friendship into the one-flesh union of marriage. They are not marital. This is not just a Christian idea, but one common to every major religious tradition and our civilization’s great philosophical traditions, beginning with ancient Greece and Rome.

The pending bill is not only a dangerous social experiment about marriage. It is also a lethal attack upon religious liberty. This so-called “religious freedom” would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex “weddings.” It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally “married” to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so “married” from senior leadership positions. Nor would it protect me, the Bishop of Springfield, if I refused to employ someone in a same-sex “marriage” who applied to the Diocese for a position meant to serve my ministry as your bishop. This “religious freedom” law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called “Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act” forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.

These threats do not raise a question about drafting a better law, one with more extensive conscience protections. There is no possible way – none whatsoever – for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an “unfair” view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry – which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.

The only way to protect religious liberty, and to preserve marriage, is to defeat this perilous proposal. Please make sure our elected representatives understand that and know that they will be held to account.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois