Retired Priests

I just read on another forum that in many dioceses, that retired priests are on their own.

They do not receive a pension, nor any help from the Church. Many are ill and some even go to organizations who serve food to the poor to be able to eat. They also have no medical insurance at a time in their lives when they truely need it.

I was shocked to hear of such a situation in the Church for those who served the Church for many years and now some cannot even afford a place to live.

Does anyone have suggestions that they can approach the dioceses and ask if they support these priests and if not why not? This troubles me greatly as these men have devoted their lives to the Church and are now forgotten.

The Bishops should be providing financial aid to all retired priests in my opinion.

Just felt the need to let others know of what has happened to many of our beloved priests.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


I am fairly sure that every US diocese has a retirement plan for priests. You can certainly ask your diocese about its’ retired priests.

Every diocese I’ve ever lived in has taken up a collection for their retired priests’ fund.

Those on the other forum–can they possibly show us which dioceses do such a thing?

There are a couple of religious communities who take care of retired priests.

If what you say is true, they are in the same boat as some veterans.


This is news to me :eek: Shocking, if accurate. I, too, find this possibility deeply troubling.

Where I live, there are two kinds of retired priests: the kind that are past the age of mandatory retirement (75) but continue to serve in some active function (support for pastors and parochial vicars, chaplains for various associations, hospital ministry, etc.) and the kind that are truly retired (generally in their mid-80s or older). The former are usually set up as residents in a parish. For the latter, we have some retirement homes specifically for the clergy, and I have not yet heard of an instance where a priest was turned away from one of those. Priests who can afford it (or are stubborn ;)) live on their own.

In addition to taking up regular collections for retired priests, my archdiocese has a lay apostolate called “The Friends of the Old Priest.” It provides practical and material assistance to any retired priest in need, particularly those of very advanced age and/or limited mobility. I would so love to join in that effort; what stops me is lack of car and a very demanding pastor, two situations that can’t last forever (although the former will surely be resolved long before the latter :p).

I imagine there is more need than resources to meet that need, but at least we’re trying to do something

Now, if there are indeed dioceses that don’t support their retired clergy, I think rather than asking if they do and if not why not, it would be far more productive to come up with some ideas for helping out retired priests as well as plans for implementing these ideas and people committed to making them happen THEN approaching the diocesan offices. If they do have plans already in place, so much the better. But if not and the reason is lack of resources, then whoever is asking will already have possible solutions in hand and ways to makes those solutions reality. Perhaps the lay apostolate I mentioned would be a viable option for any diocese that doesn’t already have an effective way of meeting the needs of its retired priests.

No matter what, though, it boggles the mind that there would be dioceses that don’t even take up collections for their retired priests. I mean, that’s a no-brainer in my world. :confused:

Diocesan priests are considered to be employees and are responsible for providing for their own retirement, just like anyone who works at a job where there is no pension plan (like my place of employment).

In Canada, diocesan priests are paid a salary and pay into the Canada Pension Plan (that’s not optional for anyone and is a percentage of your income). Granted, since they are not paid very much they don’t pay much in – but the salary varies by diocese. I’m pretty sure a priest in outport Newfoundland and Labrador is not paid the same salary as a priest in Toronto.

I’m not an expert on all dioceses but I know that priests in my diocese are also encouraged to pay into a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (similar to a 401K, I think) and the diocese will collect the money and do that for the them.

If they’re smart, while they are young they’ll also get health insurance that will pay for medication & eyeglasses and unforeseen medical expenses such as physio-therapy. Regular visits to the doctor or hospital admissions are covered by our universal health care program.

Upon retirement they would collect CPP, Old Age Security, the returns on their own private plan and, depending on how much that totals, they might also collect the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

That’s not going to allow them to live in luxury, but it’s no different from someone who’s lived hand to mouth all his life at minimum wage jobs.

My diocese also has the “Shepherd’s Fund”, money which is collected from parishioners and invested to provide priests with money they many need for emergencies.

Most retired priests offer their services to celebrate Mass in parishes where a pastor wants to go on holiday or on retreat and they will often celebrate Mass for groups having special celebrations (one did that for us when we had our family reunion.)

Religious priests, of course, are cared for by their order/congregation. They would receive the Old Age Security but that would most likely be turned over to their bursar and they would be given an allowance.

Did someone just say this or did they have any kind of evidence at all to back this up? Maybe you can ask your own Diocese if there is a retirement plan for their priests. Priests get salaries of course, and pay takes and pay into Social Security. If you have a link to the information, please post it.

These are good questions. I have a friend who volunteers at a nursing home and some of the catholic priests have told her that their friends get better care from the nursing staff at the Protestant nursing homes than from the nursing staff at the Catholic nursing homes. And alot of these devout men are not treated with the respect and dignity that all people deserve. And remember they also gave up the luxury of having a wife and family and many do not have many relatives left and have no one to visit them on a regular basis. Pray for a solution.

This must be in the air. I just got a call from the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate regarding the same thing.

There may not be any “blanket” solutions. Each has to be decided upon according to individual needs.

Our Lord said that those who follow Him into ministry would be blessed with a great number of family members. We need to see that family swing into action–now.

Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for them!

May St Peter and the apostles pray for their successors.


Don’t the OMI look after their own? The ones I know have a few retirement communities they go to when they can no longer be in a parish full time. But they are a Province of Canadian Oblates. I don’t know about the entire congregation.

Yes, they do look after their own. This call was soliciting funds for the group in Missouri.


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