Vatican Tribunal Imposes Penalty on Father Joseph Nicolosi
Statement from the Diocese of Rockford
May 5, 2022
DIOCESE—Father Joseph P. Nicolosi, a priest of the Diocese of Rockford ordained in 1997, has had a penalty imposed upon him by a judicial sentence of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, which serves as an appellate ecclesiastical court in Rome.
Bishop Thomas G. Doran restricted the ministry of Father Nicolosi in September 2011. In April 2017, following a penal process in the Diocese of Rockford conducted in accordance with canon law, Father Nicolosi was found guilty of the delict of living in concubinage with an adult woman (canon 1395 §1), as well as guilty of two other related delicts.
Father Nicolosi appealed the judicial sentence to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. The Roman Rota has sent notice that it has upheld the conviction of the delict of concubinage established by canon law but overturned the convictions on the other two delicts. As part of this decision, the Rota imposed upon Father Nicolosi the penalty of a six-month prohibition from the exercise of the power of orders except for the celebration of Mass without other people present. In determining this penalty, consideration was given to the fact that Father Nicolosi’s ministry has been restricted since 2011, and it was noted that the six-month penalty imposed by this sentence should therefore not be viewed as a light penalty. With this sentence from the Roman Rota, this penal process against Father Nicolosi regarding the above-mentioned case is now completed.
At this time, Father Nicolosi is forbidden from exercising the power of orders (e.g., celebrating Mass or the sacraments, etc.) except for celebrating Mass without anyone else present.


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