Re instating ‘fallen’ clergy query

Genuine question - What would be the answer if say for the sake of argument this bishop made a full public confession and apology, served jail time, the victims were financially compensated, and he made a full sacramental confession. Would he be allowed back in to his former position ? Would people be prepared to forgive him and accept him back? I for one would find it very hard eg handing over a baby to be baptised but is that what we need to be thinking like ?

I honestly don’t think he could ever be a clergy again in those circumstances. It would be great for his soul that all of this was done but it wouldn’t give him the pathway back to being a clergy.


Yeah like would he be on some sort of probation - presumably he would have to be

He may be able to remain an active priest as a prison or convent Chaplin.

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He would never pass a background check, would be? He wouldn’t be allowed to resume his ministry. Perhaps there would be a place for him as the chaplain in a religious community if he hasn’t been laicized.


So, there’s a difference between being a priest and having been granted faculties to minister.

Unless the priest in question was ‘laicized’, he would still be a priest, throughout it all. However, his faculties would have been removed, we’d assume.

And, I would think, it would be doubtful that he would be permitted to resume ministry. Having received sacramental absolution, he’d be in a state of grace. Nevertheless, it would seem highly irresponsible for a bishop to allow him to return to the kind of ministry that facilitated his criminal behavior, wouldn’t you think?


Well yes I agree but in the event that he has proven himself to be totally repentant ? It’s never gonna happen probably but I just worry about a shortage of priests and such like

Sin has consequences, even when you repent. And for Catholic clergy, one of those consequences is that someone credibly accused of sexual abuse is removed from ministry.

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I get that x

Right. And, the fruit of repentance is forgiveness, not amnesia. :wink:

@SuscipeMeDomine hit it square on the head – we might forgive a repentant embezzler, but the consequences are that he’ll never be put in charge of parish finances. We might forgive a repentant child abuser – whether lay or clergy! – but we’ll never put them in a position of leadership around children.

Ahh… I get it, now: your concern is that the Church might, at some point, say, “well, he’s a child molester… but he’s a priest! So, better a ‘child molester pastor’ than no pastor at all!”…?

Yeah… ain’t. gonna. happen.

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No need to be sarcastic. I am not saying what they did is ok. am just saying if they truly repented to the point where God has worked on them to change , can they come back? For you that’s a no and I accept that

Not trying to be sarcastic. Just pointing out that an “I’m sorry” – no matter how heart-felt or true – doesn’t mean “I’m not going to be tempted to sin in that way again, or fall to that temptation.”

Whether or not God has worked on them, they’ve violated the trust of the community in a way that’s so egregious, that they cannot be invited to return to ministry in the community.

And, let’s also look at this from the perspective of the standards of stewardship. If a bishop – knowing a man was convicted of a particular crime against children – places that man in a position of leadership, and that man subsequently sins again… then that bishop has placed his parish and diocese in a position of profound legal jeopardy. It simply is not good stewardship to risk the resources of our communities in a way that will have dire financial consequences on those communities.

No I get that completely - but are we saying there is truly and eternally no way back for that person ? That seems to contradict the whole Christian message.

Yeah, it’s a no for me as well. If they truly repent, awesome. But that doesn’t mean they get to go back to active ministry

Temporal forgiveness - or freedom for that matter - might not come to him in this life, irrespective of any repentance and penance.

I disagree. The Christian message is “forgiveness”, not “return to prior activities.”

Take a look at the parable of the Prodigal Son. He does not receive more money; he’s squandered it. However, he does receive forgiveness and his father’s love. (The father tells the elder son, “all I have is yours”, which means that no more of the father’s resources will be given to the profligate son. Yet, the son does have a place at his father’s table.)

I really think you’re conflating ‘forgiveness’ with something else. :man_shrugging:

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I pray that their lives act as powerful testimonies to forgiveness then with whatever else they do

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