SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — A Chicago bishop who once blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church and proposed shielding the church from legal damages has been named to lead an Illinois diocese.
Thomas Paprocki, an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Chicago, was announced Tuesday as the church's ninth bishop of Springfield.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it was disappointed with Paprocki's promotion [has SNAP been pleased with the appointment of any bishop?].
"It says to us that the Vatican is more interested in doctrinal purity than child safety — or at least that child safety isn't the No. 1 priority," said David Clohessy, SNAP's executive director [then they haven't been listening to or reading anything of what Pope Benedict XVI has been saying recently. Maybe Clohessy should read the letter to the Irish Church].
Paprocki, 57, said three years ago that the principal force behind the waves of abuse lawsuits was "none other than the devil." [Note again that he said this in reference to the lawsuits and not to the victims.]
He said the cost of litigation was making it more difficult for the church to perform charitable works [which is true]. An attorney himself, Paprocki proposed that the courts revive an old policy of shielding nonprofit organizations from lawsuits over negligence and abuse [what, precisely, did he say in this regard?].
"The settlement or award of civil damages is punishing the wrong people, namely the average parishioner or donor whose financial contributions support the church but who have no role in the supervision of clergy," Paprocki said in October 2007 during a special Mass for judges and attorneys [and he's right].
Paprocki didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon [it could be because he was in Springfield in the morning and returned to Chicago in the afternoon for a Confirmation that evening]. A message seeking comment also was left Tuesday afternoon with the papal nuncio's office in Washington.
In a news conference earlier in the day, Paprocki said the church must address sexual abuse to help restore trust. "I know what a painful and what a troubling issue that this sin and this crime is that confronts us in the church," he said, according to The (Springfield) State Journal-Register.
Paprocki was ordained in 1978. He co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic to offer legal services to the poor and later became a top aide in the Chicago archdiocese.
He succeeds Archbishop George Lucas, who was named to lead the Omaha archdiocese last June.
22 April 2010
AP picks up the story
The Associated Press is carrying the story published in the State Journal-Register about comments made by Bishop Paprocki in 2007. The text of the AP story, "New bishop once blamed devil for abuse lawsuits," with my emphases and comments [the innacuracy of the headline should first be noted: Bishop Paprocki was ordained a bishop in 2003 and, hence, is not a "new bishop"]: