Old and sick clergy


#1

Does the Church do enough for its elderly or sick clergy? I have heard of examples where retired Nuns, but also Priests and others, who had become old or ill who were not really provided the proper level of help. I do not like to base my views only on isolated anecdotal incidents. I am not accussing the Church of anything. Although I am not Catholic, I have known many fine people, some in my family, who have given their lives to the Church. I would just like to suggest that this is may be something Catholics might want to look at to make sure its sick and elderly are cared for as they should be.


#2

This post was moved from apologists. Thats okay. Maybe it was in the wrong place. I do worry that no one may read it here.

One of my intentions in posting it, and another I am considering, is to encourage some people to think about their clergy in a broader way. I mean it is often a kind of selfish relationship. "Father I have this problem" "Sister I have that problem" Well maybe they have some problems of their own. Whether its getting old or sick, as in this post or something else like having a difficult coworker or boss. Or maybe just being alone in a different country or area away from family.

I do think the issue of proper care of elderly and sick clergy is important. And that it may not be given enough attention. But I had also wanted to talk about parishiners sometimes thinking a little bit more about what they can do for them rather than always thinking about what the clergy can do for them. Maybe some of the Nuns would like to go out to a show or lunch sometime. Or maybe sometimes after a night listening to a mile long parade of teenage boys confess the same sin, Father could use a few hours watching a ballgame and sharing a pint or two. After all they are people too.

Kind of funny that I think of this and I am not even Catholic anymore.


#3

It depends. If the clergy are members of a religious order, then the order takes care of them. However, if they are just plain, garden-variety diocesan priests, they're on their own. Good luck, Fr. Charlie. Usually, though, the older priests may get together and share a home or something like that. But it's not from any organized function of the Church.


#4

Yes, the Church does indeed take adequate care of its sick and elderly. While some communities have had financial difficulties in the past, this has largely been taken care of. Many communities have consolidated, and each and every year there are special collections taken nationally to support the elderly and sick clergy and religious.

My grandfather was a Free Methodist Minister for 55 years. He "retired" after 40 years, and his denomination paid him $8.00 per month on average (some months less, some moths more). Even in the 1940's, this was NOT enough to live on, on even a marginal basis.

I obtained copies of all of the obituaries of my family members that were Free Methodist Ministers (17 in all), all of whom died between 1925-1955. Those obituaries were published in the official magazine of the Free Methodist Church. In each and every one of those magazines (I obtained a full page printout of each page of the obituaries and notices), there were exhortations to the people to donate more to the fund to support sick and retired clergy. It kept pointing out that many of them lived in abject poverty.

My grandfather had to work outside of the church to support his wife and himself. He worked, right up till his dying last illness (at the age of 80) in 1955. His denomination paid NONE of his medical bills, and they also did not pay for his funeral. His little two bedroom house (which he had built himself, with the assistance of my older sister) had to be sold to partially cover his last medical bills.

So, please do not come on here, asking questions about how well Catholics care for their elderly and sick Priests and Religious, unless you can assure us that all Protestant denominations do the same thing. In the past, all too many Protestant denominations left the care of each retired minister up to the local congregation. Thankfully, that has changed in most denominations.

Just as things have very much changed for the better, as communities have consolidated, sold off excess land and buildings, and have received vastly more support from the Church and its people.

As it says in the Bible, "Don't look for the mote in the eye of another, when you ave a log in your own eye."


#5

[quote="The_Old_Medic, post:4, topic:245423"]

So, please do not come on here, asking questions about how well Catholics care for their elderly and sick Priests and Religious, unless you can assure us that all Protestant denominations do the same thing. In the past, all too many Protestant denominations left the care of each retired minister up to the local congregation. Thankfully, that has changed in most denominations.

Just as things have very much changed for the better, as communities have consolidated, sold off excess land and buildings, and have received vastly more support from the Church and its people.

As it says in the Bible, "Don't look for the mote in the eye of another, when you ave a log in your own eye."

[/quote]

I am not a Protestant. I am a Humanist Heathen !
Seriously, I was not criticising. My Father was a Brother. I have a cousin who is a Nun nurse in Africa. I have known Priests and Nuns most of my life.

In discussion with my Mom it came up that a friend she went to high school with, who had became a Nun, was now old and sick. She did not think the diocses was doing as much for her as they should have. So she called up the Bishop and told him off. Old ladies seem to have some secret powers.

I just thought it would be good to ask about this issue here on a site for Catholics. Perhaps to remind people that clergy have given a great deal. And that they have real human problems. I just happen to come from a Catholic background. I could just as easily asked the question of any religion. I am sorry that you seem to be offended.
I really did not mean anything except to ask if enough is done for the old and sick.


#6

A diocese has absolutely NO responsibility for any Nuns or Brothers that may have served in, or lived in, that Diocese.

The particular Religious Community has sole and complete responsibility for all of its members. Nuns, brothers and religious Priests are NOT under to control of the Diocese (except in the broadest sense, in that the Bishop can either allow them to function or bar them from functioning in his Diocese).

The particular Community that the Nun belongs to (Dominicans, Holy Cross, Franciscans, etc.) is responsible for her care and upkeep.

So, your Mom was berating the wrong people, in her ignorance. If that story is even true, because any Diocese would very quickly inform anyone that called about something like that they they were talking to the wrong people.


#7

Look Pal,

My when you're in your eighties like my mom you might forget a few things. Maybe she called them and they told her to contact some one else. It really is not that important. What is important is to realize that the sick and elderly require advocates in order to get the best care they can. It is also important to occasionally check to make sure retired clergy, some of whom may not have anyone, are getting the proper care and attention. At least I think it would be to anyone that calls themselves Catholic

I mean really what are you the self appointed Catholic Gestapo?
I made a polite enquiry about the care of retired clergy, and you're crawling up my behind about it. I made a friendly reply to your off base response. But now you persist.
At this point, I have two words for you. And they aren't Felix Unger.


#8

your point is well taken

the US bishops have an annual collection to support retired priests and religious, since many of those in the older generation worked before there were salaries and SS/medicare deductions for them. This diocese just completed a bishop’s appeal that enabled us to build badly needed residences for retired priests and some lay Catholics are working with the bishop on acquiring more housing. We also have a nursing home that began as a place to care for the needs of elderly priests and religious, as do some religious orders.

most of the pastors here seek out older nuns who still want to work in parish life so they can give them stipends that cover living expenses, because this reduces the burden on their home convents which often struggle if most of the members are retired. But other posters are right, the responsibility for its members rests with the religious order. The trouble is many orders have not had new vocations for years, or very few so the number of those working for salaries in Catholic institutions is not enough to support the preponderence of retired members, who may also be in poor health.

so if you were taught or cared for in your youth by these religious sisters and brothers, particularly if you see appeals from their orders, do consider making a gift in gratitude for that service.


#9

[quote="mcteague, post:5, topic:245423"]
I am not a Protestant. I am a Humanist Heathen !
Seriously, I was not criticising. My Father was a Brother. I have a cousin who is a Nun nurse in Africa. I have known Priests and Nuns most of my life.

In discussion with my Mom it came up that a friend she went to high school with, who had became a Nun, was now old and sick. She did not think the dioceses was doing as much for her as they should have. So she called up the Bishop and told him off. Old ladies seem to have some secret powers.

I just thought it would be good to ask about this issue here on a site for Catholics. Perhaps to remind people that clergy have given a great deal. And that they have real human problems. I just happen to come from a Catholic background. I could just as easily asked the question of any religion. I am sorry that you seem to be offended.
I really did not mean anything except to ask if enough is done for the old and sick.

[/quote]

I can speak only for the sisters. Back in the days when they ran all the schools and they were abundant and young, they were paid only a pittance by the dioceses they served. No one bothered to collect social security for them; I don't think that the feds bothered with it or the superiors of the convents bothered--they would never need it. Somewhere along the line, someone woke up and realized how much income the sisters weren't collecting. So they started contributing minute amounts based on their tiny salaries, and also contributed into and started collecting Medicare. By the time massive numbers of sisters were retiring there was some money in the till, but not nearly enough, especially as sisters live long lives. SOAR, a group devoted to collecting money for retired religious was formed, but most of the money has been collected by individual orders for members of their orders.

It is all a real tragedy that far-seeing superiors didn't realize far in the past that social security money wouldn't become essential and would have to build over time. It's all very easy in retrospect.

One thing I will say this that aging congregations have been very successful in raising large amounts of money for their retirement communities. I think that this reflects the very strong support that these congregations have from the laity.


#10

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