STATEMENT FROM THE DIOCESE OF ROCKFORD
(Published in the March 11, 2022 Observer Catholic Newspaper)
Vatican Tribunal Upholds Suspension for Father Michael Black
DIOCESE—Father Michael Black, a priest of the Rockford Diocese ordained in 2000, is suspended following a recent decision of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court.
Father Black’s ministry has been restricted since November 2015, and due to his refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the decree that restricted his ministry and his repeated violations of it, a penal process concerning the violations was initiated.
At the conclusion of that penal process in August 2020, a decree was issued which imposed upon Father Black the penalty of suspension prohibiting him from celebrating the sacraments both publicly and privately.
Father Black appealed that decision to the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome which subsequently recognized the legitimacy of the restrictions on Father Black’s ministry, affirmed that he is obligated to adhere to those restrictions, and determined that his appeal had no basis in law or in fact.
Father Black subsequently appealed the decision from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
The Signatura recently sent notification that Father Black did not complete all the requirements for his appeal to the Signatura within the time limit given to him by the Signatura. As a result, the Signatura declared his appeal concluded. Therefore, the previous decision of the Congregation for the Clergy stands, and Father Black is bound to obey it.
At this time, Father Black remains obligated to abide by the restrictions to his ministry and the penalty of suspension meaning he continues to have no permission to engage in ministry or to celebrate Mass or the sacraments publicly or privately.