Priest retirement


#1

I was recently told that priests have to retire at age 75. There is a priest at my parish that fought in WWII. This isn’t hearsay. I have heard these words out of his mouth. That would definitely put him over 75 year mark. Were they mistaken? Do priests have to retire at 75? Thanks!


#2

I believe Canon Law requires a diocesan priest to offer a letter of resignation to his Bishop at 75, however the priest may express a desire or a willingness to continue serving. And the Bishop has the authority to accept the resignation or ask the priest to remain active.

Most diocesan priests continue to celebrate Mass on a part time basis (covering for vacations and illnesses, etc.)

I am not sure if ordered priests in community are bound by that age of 75 …but we have an Augustinian serving in our parish who just turned 75. He submitted a letter to the Archbishop but let him know he is willing to keep active. If the Archbishop accepts the resignation I am not sure what/where his Augustinian order will assign him. I am fairly certain our little parish will close or be assigned an administrator with visiting priest …so we hope and pray the Archbishop rejects the letter.


#3

A pastor might be required by particular law to resign that post, but a priest is always a priest – he never ‘retires’ from his vocation. :wink:

(In my diocese, pastors offer letters of resignation from their positions upon reaching a particular age, but are (not uncommonly) retained as administrators in their parishes. This is, as it were, a particular formality, with canon law effects, but not much difference in day-to-day realities. :thumbsup:)


#4

They do retire at 75, but most stay on in residence somewhere and continue to help out. They still are priests, but do not have the responsibility of running a parish or hold a specific job with the diocese.


#5

We have older priests in England but they tend to assist the parish priest or help out if the priest has gone away somewhere.


#6

A very good friend, who is a Dominican priest, told me that diocesan priests retire but Dominican’s “die with their boots on”. In other words, Dominicans die in service of the Lord.

I know a retired Jesuit priest who at 84 years young is retired but serving fulltime.

I believe the 75 Y.O. age thing is a requirement of Bishops by the Vatican.


#7

In our diocese pastors resign their position at 75, but they frequently remain with the parish, or another parish as pastor emeritus or senior priest. They continue to serve as age and health permit.

One of our monsignors was still serving as he went into his nineties. He was quoted to have said: “What is this retirement. I like being a priest.” He did have to give up his position as chaplain to fire departments; his use of a walker made it too difficult for him to get around at disaster sites.


#8

Yes, which is why I mentioned that ‘retired priests’ often fill in for priests on vacation or when sick … they also participate in parish reconciliation services where [like my parish] there are 10 or more priests to hear confessions during Advent and Lent …I have some retired priest friends who offer retreats a few times each year. However, though they remain always a priest - they refer to themselves as retired, the Archbishop refers to them as being retired, they take a collection each year for "The Retired Priests and Religious’ …Diocesan priests continue to serve after retirement just not assigned to a parish.

(In my diocese, pastors offer letters of resignation from their positions upon reaching a particular age, but are (not uncommonly) retained as administrators in their parishes. This is, as it were, a particular formality, with canon law effects, but not much difference in day-to-day realities. :thumbsup:)

In my diocese ‘retired’ priests do not routinely stay on as administrators of their last parish. There is a fairly consistent rotation of priests in my diocese … pastors are assigned for 6 years with the possibility of one extension - typically [One exception - if they are within 2 years of 75 they can request to stay until their 75th B’day - if they don’t retire then at 75 they are reassigned]. Associate pastors are assigned for 3 years - never extended … That means a parish will have a Pastor for 12 years and if two priests are assigned to a parish that Pastor will have served with 4 Associates Pastors.

The parish with the Augustinian that I mentioned earlier is not in the normal rotation - he has pastored that parish for over 30 years - the parish would have closed 30 years ago except he and the Augustinians are willing to keep him there …My fear is that if that parish cannot find the means to become economically self sufficient - its not currently then it is most likely to close once Father is physically unable to continue there or if the Augustinians need him somewhere else. The Archdiocese may consider the hardship and try to find a similar solution or move to a non clergy administrator with visiting/traveling priest in order to keep it open … If it closes the nearest town with a parish is 20 miles away… those living closest to the parish now will have to drive 40 miles round trip for Mass … I live out of town - from my house it will be a 50 mile round trip for some the trip will be even longer.

I Pray for vocations and financially support our local seminary and seminarians. I try to give generously in support of both parishes I attend - especially this small rural parish … and I pray for Father’s health and happiness and the Augustinians :wink:


#9

He’s one of four priests at my parish so he probably doesn’t have the bulk of responsibility, but he doesn’t just help out when someone is on vacation, unless others vacay a lot! Lol.
Thanks for all of the responses!


#10

Actually, a pastor is required by universal law to submit his resignation:

Canon 538 §3. When a pastor has completed seventy-five years of age, he is requested to submit his resignation from office to the diocesan bishop who is to decide to accept or defer it after he has considered all the circumstances of the person and place. Attentive to the norms established by the conference of bishops, the diocesan bishop must provide suitable support and housing for a retired pastor.

[quote=corsair]I believe the 75 Y.O. age thing is a requirement of Bishops by the Vatican.
[/quote]

In addition to pastors, canon law also requires bishops and cardinals to submit their resignations at age 75.


#11

Since I’ve been here we’ve had one Pastor reach his 75th birthday. He told me that he had submitted his resignation but the Bishop did not accept it. He stayed another two years but then had to head to his congregation’s retirement home due to ill health.

Our present Pastor is in his early 70s and says he has no intention of leaving our parish other than in a box. He says he told the Bishop that this will be his last assignment, he has no intention of moving again. Remains to be seen if the Bishop agrees.


#12

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