Priesthood Question

I pray that this is a few and far between scenario in the real world, and I wanted to get some insight on Church positions.

If an active Catholic priest formerly resigns from the priesthood for personal reasons, whether sickness or pursuing a relationship, would that priest be able to request a priestly assignment in the future? Would the Church allow it at all, would it be a Diocesan decision, through the Vatican, or other? Thanks in advance for your insight!

It all depends.

There are different levels of resignation.

If he loses “the clerical state” (that has a technical definition in canon law, so I put that in quotes) then the only way he can be reinstated is by a rescript from the Holy See.

If it’s a more “simple” resignation (like illness) that was submitted only to the local bishop, then the local bishop can reinstate him.

Technically, retired priests resign their offices–so resignation is not always a bad thing. A retired priest who wants to return to active ministry would need only the local bishop’s permission to do so, and would then need to be assigned some office by the bishop.

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