What does a retired priest do?

From my understanding, they can still offer the mass and the sacraments. What I don’t understand is if they are listed as retired how can they be if they are still working for the diocese? Is there a difference with a retired priest and a active priest?

In my diocese, when a priest retires, it is usually from “active ministry”. For example, let’s say say a priest was a pastor of a church. When he retires, he is no longer *obligated *to carry out the administrative duties that go along with that title. He may still help out at that parish or he may choose to reside and help out at another parish. He may spend more of his time on ministries that he enjoyed or felt called to, but could not dedicate himself to because of his role as pastor, such as hospital/hospice ministry, prison ministry, spiritual direction, etc.

A priest is a priest forever. Holy Orders works an ontological change in the priest: he is not the same man after ordination as he was before. It is an indelible character on his soul that can never be effaced, just like Baptism. A priest who is dismissed from the clerical state nevertheless still bears this character; he can, for instance, still give absolution to a person in danger of death. A priest never ceases to be a priest even after death. Even if a priest were so unfortunate as to go to hell, he would still be a priest even there.

There is therefore no substantive difference between an active priest and a retired one. Assuming no restrictions on his faculties, a retired priest can still administer the sacraments; assuming no dispensations for health or other reasons, he still has all the obligations that an active priest has.

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The few I know are busier than ever with what ever the local Church need is.

We had one who came home to die (my the Lord bless him and keep him) but he offered Mass every Friday at my dad’s senior village, even dragging along a oxygen tank, until he just was no longer physically able to. Heroic virtue.

Our current Dean is a retired priest. In his very late 80’s he still as active as he can be.

The following describes secular/diocesan priests. Priests who belong to religious orders will “retire” as is customary for the order.

The difference between an active priest and a retired priest is that the priest no longer gets his salary and begins to draw on whatever retirement pay he may have.

He might have the opportunity to continue living in the parish rectory or he might have other arrangements. He will probably help out at his previous parish or at another near where he chooses to live as a kind of independent contractor – in other words he will get a stipend for saying Masses and such. But like any other independent contractor he can pick and choose according to his capabilities.

I know many that live in Catholic Retirement/Nursing Homes, until they are unable to do so they offer daily masses at that facility. I also know many that continue working at local parishes, hospitals, hospice, etc.

This must vary from diocese to diocese, because my priest has been “retired” for a while now, yet is compelled to do many things at the parish level.

Do they still have to attend classes (upcoming new missal instructions) and retreats required by the diocese as any other priest does? Do they still get vacations etc. If they come to a parish to help out is that considered a free choice from them since they are retired and are not instructed to go to whatever parish the bishops tells them to? In other words are they more free base since they are retired and doing this out of love for Christ being retired?

That’s why I ask these questions because we have a retired priest who is offering the mass and sacraments more then our parish priest is lately. I wonder if he was assigned to do this or is simply doing this out of free will after retirement. Either way God Bless him.

He may be the same priest!

I care about him, and have wondered the same thing.

It’s similar for priests in religious orders, of course. If, for example, they were teaching in a school run by that Order, they would no longer teach (no active ministry) but instead choose to do things like lead special retreats if the Order has a retreat house, write or continue to write on theology and spirituality, do whatever travel their personal budgets allow, and enjoy restful free time the way non-priest retirees do. I’m sure that when leading retreats they do naturally offer the sacraments.
:slight_smile:

The retired priests around here help out with saying Masses, visiting the sick, visiting nursing homes----and golf.:slight_smile:

The secular ones I have known, if they remain in the diocese, retain the faculties the bishop had granted them and help out, at their leisure, the various parishes that wish to employ them.

We had one such celebrate Mass for our family at a family reunion since no ‘active’ priests could have been able to trinate just because we wished to have a family Mass. This same priest also celebrates Christmas Masses at 2 of the parishes in our 4-parish Pastoral Unit. What money he gets from providing these services help to make his retirement a little more comfortable.

The religious ones I know, go live in a retirement home for their congregation and from there take ‘contracts’ to do ‘replacements’ in the various parishes around. Two of them even took 3 month stints in our parish when we were between pastors for 9 months.

they are retired if they have reached the mandatory retirement age in their diocese and their retirement has been accepted by their bishop or religious superior. That means what it always means, they no longer have a set job with a set salary and benefits, and they now live on their retirement plan, SS, support of religious community, or family support. Like many if not most retired people (at least here) they continue to be ask active in ministry as their health allows, and receive stipends when they assist with Masses, sacraments, teaching and other ministries.

In this diocese a retired priest who is physically able usually works at least 40 hours a week until he literally drops dead. The same is true of deacons. harsh but true.

One retired priest explained it this way: you know have more time for pastoral care of souls, because you don’t have to attend meetings any more.

As far as I understand the retired priest do what any white collar retired men does: they work on their field, without strict obligations, and without regular salary.

The usual retirement age is age 75 or later, so their active times soon gets to end. They slow down but stll capable to serve God with Masses, prayers, and suffering.

Let my God help them.

Wow, what spirit!

Our Bishop Emeritus is very active. He makes many sick calls and helps cover Confirmations. He has lead a couple of parish missions for us. He has some wonderful stories. He was a friend of Mother Theresa as well as her confessor.

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