Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki

Adjunct Professor of Law

Phone: 217-698-8500
CV: View

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki is the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield in the Capital of Illinois. After being ordained a priest, he obtained a law degree from DePaul University College of Law and was admitted to the bar.

He co-founded the South Chicago Legal Clinic (now called the Greater Chicago Legal Clinic) to help answer the need for legal services for the poor. Then-Father Paprocki was the recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Weigle Award in 1985 for recognition of his outstanding service to the legal profession. He received an award from Loyola University Chicago at its annual Public Interest Convocation in 1992 for his pro bono activities. He was named the 2003 Catholic Lawyer of the Year by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago.

Bishop Paprocki obtained his doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1991. He then served as the Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago and as an advisor on canon law to the Archbishop of Chicago, first with Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and then with Cardinal Francis George. He served as Pastor of St. Constance Parish in Chicago from 2001 to 2003. Pope St. John Paul II appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 2003. In 2010 he was named Bishop of Springfield in Illinois by Pope Benedict XVI. His received his MBA degree from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame in 2013.

Bishop Paprocki is a member (and past Chairman) of the Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He is a past member of the USCCB’s Committee on Religious Liberty and is a current member of the USCCB Committee on Budget and Finance and the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. Bishop Paprocki is the Episcopal Moderator of the Bishops’ Plan Insurance Company. He also serves as Vice-President of the Illinois Catholic Health Association and as Chairman of the Episcopal Advisory Board of Catholic Athletes for Christ. He taught as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law from 1999 to 2015. He joined the Adjunct Faculty of Notre Dame Law School in 2016.

Courses Taught

LAW70833, Introduction to Canon Law

LAW70836, Health Care Issues in Canon Law


“Eucharistic Coherence,” First Things, August 2021.

Running for a Higher Purpose: Eight Steps to Spiritual and Physical Fitness, Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2021. 

“Social Shutdowns as an Extraordinary Means of Saving Human Lives,” National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, vol. 20, n. 3, pp. 545-559, Autumn 2020 (expanded version).

“Social Shutdowns as an Extraordinary Means of Saving Human Lives,” Ethics & Medics (A Commentary of The National Catholic Bioethics Center on Health Care and the Life Sciences), vol. 45, n. 9, September 2020 (abridged text). 

“Conducting a Diocesan Synod in Service of Missionary Discipleship,” CLSA Proceedings 2019 (Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 2019).

“Doing as I Please or Pleasing as I Do,” published online in The Catholic World Report, September 22, 2019.

“The Chancellor as Minister of Administrative Justice,” Studia Canonica 50 (2016) 277-289.

“Implementation of Mitis Iudex Dominus Iesus in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois,” The Jurist 75 (2015) 593-605.

Holy Goals for Body and Soul: Eight Steps to Connect Sports with God and Faith, book co-authored with Joe Paprocki. Notre Dame, Indiana: Ave Maria Press, 2013.

“Caring for the Sick: The Catholic Contribution and Its Relevance,” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy, Notre Dame Law School, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2011), pp. 447-461.

“Recent Developments Concerning Temporal Goods, Including Complementary USCCB Norms,” CLSA Proceedings 2008 (Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 2008).

“As the Pendulum Swings from Charitable Immunity to Bankruptcy, Bringing it to Rest   with Charitable Immunity,” Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, Vol. 48, No. 1 (2008), pp. 1-18.

“Charitable Immunity, Bankruptcy and Viability,” Origins, Vol. 38, No. 4 (June 5, 2008), pp. 54-60.

“Marriage, Same-Sex Relationships, and the Catholic Church,” Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Winter 2007), pp. 247-264.

“Presumption as a Matter of Law and Eternal Salvation,” Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, Vol. 45, No. 1 (2006), pp. 177-182.

“Methods of Avoiding Trial” and “The Method of Proceeding in Administrative Recourse and in the Removal and Transfer of Pastors,” New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, ed. John P. Beal, James A. Coriden and Thomas J. Green; commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America (New York, N.Y./Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 2000), pp. 1803-1805 and 1818-1852.

Contributor of various canonical opinions published in Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions (Washington, D.C.: Canon Law Society of America, 1996-    ).

“Parish Closings and Administrative Recourse to the Apostolic See: Recent Experiences of the Archdiocese of Chicago,” The Jurist 55 (1995) 875-896.

“Option for the Poor: Preference or Platitude?” America, vol. 172, no. 14 (April 22, 1995) 11-14.

“How Are One's Rights Vindicated in the Church?” The New World, April 29, 1994.

“Ethics in the Everyday Practice of Law,” The Catholic Lawyer, vol. 35/2 (1993) 169‑180.

“Vindication and Defense of the Rights of the Christian Faithful through Administrative Recourse in the Local Church.” J.C.D. diss. excerpt, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, 1991; full text revised and reprinted, Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International, 1993.

“Rights of Christians in the Local Church: Canon Law Procedures in Light of Civil Law Principles of Administrative Justice.” Studia Canonica 24 (1990) 427‑442.

“Protection of Rights in the Local Church.” Pastoral Life 38 (September, 1989) 16‑26.

“Clergy Malpractice and the Law.” The Priest (Sept., 1987) 13‑19.

“Malpractice in the Ministry.” The Compleat Lawyer (Spring, 1986) 18‑20.

“Tax‑Exempt Nonprofit Legal Clinics.” The Compleat Lawyer (Fall, 1984) 6‑7.