What happens to a priest who can no longer preform sacraments?

I understand that Priests have duties and obligations that they must carry out.

But what happens to a priest if, through no fault of his own, he can no longer do these things? I am aware that, barring cases of misconduct, priesthood is permanent.

What happens to a priest who can no longer preform sacraments or other duties as a result of advanced age or dementia?

What happens to a priest who can no longer preform sacraments or other duties as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury or other forms of permanent brain damage?

Priests can retire. A priest with disabilities can go to a care facility just like anyone else.

My great uncle (a monsignor) suffered from Alzheimer’s. Whhen he was unable to fufil his duties, he lived out the remainder of his days in a nursing home.

A priest is, after all, still a person.:shrug:

The priest would simply retire, and live off a small pension from his former diocese. A severely disable priest would live in a rest home or nursing home.

That makes sense. But would the care facility be owned by the church or would it be public? And if a priest retires, is he still a priest?

He will always have the sacramental seal; many who simply retire due to age continue practicing part time, covering masses for priests on vacation/retreat, etc. Those who are infirmed or mentally impaired would likely not practice any more. Very rarely, would a priest be dismissed from ministry entirely.

Some who are infirmed live in diocese owned retirement homes, some will live in a home owned or operated by a religious order, or some will live in a secular home. Homes owned by church entities are becoming more rare; a retirement home in New York near West Point, for instance, was converted to a retreat center a little over a decade ago.

He will be a priest forever. The church normally looks after its own.

They are required to by Canon Law.

A priest always remains a priest, even if he is prevented through no fault of his own from carrying out priestly duties. As priests age, they retire–well, more like semi-retire, as they still celebrate Mass privately. They also will often celebrate publicly and hear confessions as the Church needs and their health allows. One of my favourite confessors, for instance, is well into his 80s. Another retired priest I know is often called upon to baptize infants, and he loves it. Many retired priests have told me that they love retirement, as it releases them from a lot of pastoral and administrative duties and allows them to focus on the sacraments wholeheartedly.

As their health declines with age or in the event of an unfortunate accident or illness that makes them completely unable to fulfill the duties of their state, their bishops always make provisions for them.

God bless.

Ordination to holy orders creates an ontological change of the priest’s soul, so even if a priest is returned to the lay state, he is still a priest.

A priest never loses his ability to administer the sacraments, even if it appears so. God can and does work miracles. Furthermore, such a priest would remain a priest.

I think it depends on the resources of the diocese. Our diocese has a retirement/nursing facility for aging priests and religious.

Remember this when they do the annual collection for the Retirement Fund for Religious. :slight_smile: They are certainly in need of our support.

Corki, the Retirement Fund for Religious is not for secular (diocesan) priests. It is exclusively for members of religious congregations. But usually whatever diocesan annual appeal exists in your area would include support for such a retirement facility (our diocese has 2, as well as other possibilities for priests, including a wing of an independent living apartment complex).

Yeah, I couldn’t remember the exact name of the special appeal that the diocese does. I tried google :o

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