What happens to priests who molest children?

what happens to priests who were caught of child molestation? do they get fired?

my friend questioned me on this and he added that those priests are still in the church… shouldn’t they get fired? I couldn’t give a definitive answer…


Many times a priest is accused but the accusation is without merit or cannot be proven, so the priest remains in ministry.

A priest who is found guilty of molestation is not “fired”, but rather he can be laicized (more commonly known as being “defrocked”) which is to dismissed from the clerical state as a penalty for certain grave offenses… bascially means to remove their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry.


You know at first they didn’t know what to do…was this really happening? I heard that there are more Non-Catholic clergy who molest, but since they’re all separated, and the devil is always trying to destroy Christ’s Church it is never seen in it’s true light. My father was molested in Catholic orphanages his entire life.(obviously my family was disgusted when I converted to Catholicism) those priest are probably all dead today. It was well known what was going on. I think when people started to speak up the popes, cardinals and bishops probably didn’t know how big it was and thought they could just “re-assign” , or deal with it internally. Problem was, they weren’t just mortal sins against the Church, but criminal in nature…this is when it “hit the fan” there are so many stories about priests who knew but didn’t speak up etc. Now that it is all out and even mentioned in Church bulletins on what to do if you or someone you know was a victim…here’s who to call. I know some priests have gone to jail/prison. The problem is…They all received the sacrament of holy orders…and just as you can be UN-baptized, you can’t be UN-ordained. What the Church is doing when these priest come out of prison, or are exposed is really unknown by anyone I know. Maybe a type of annulment? One thing I might suspect may happen is they live out in monasteries, out of the public completely. My spiritual adviser told me he knew of a man who had been convicted of I think manslaughter. He had a religious experience in prison, but do to his record, he became a brother, living in a hermitage. I wonder about your question all of the time. I may get the guts to just straight out ask my spiritual adviser what happens. If he knows…I will get back on this thread and reveal what I know. Maybe there is someone on this sight however who works more intimately in diocese work and may know. Awesome question…wish I knew more than that they can’t lose their ordination. Thanks for making me think…this question is sure to come to me one day!

At first, back in the 60’s and 70’s they thought they could be cured so they sent them to psychological therapy until the Psychiatrists declared that they were no longer a danger. As it turns out, that particular proble can’t be cured. What they do with them now is just turn them over to the law and they go to prison, as they deserve.They are definitely not still in ministry.

It is important for the OP to know that they remain priests.

They may be deprived of their faculties to administer the sacraments, laicized, or othewise prevented from acting as a priest, but they cannot ever be unordained. They are priests by virue of the sacrament of Holy Orders which they recieve when they are ordained.

Holy Orders is a sacrament. God’s sacraments cannot be undone. They are ordained and are priests for life. Nothing the priest does can ever take that away. Even the Pope cannot undo a sacrament.


and also they have been and any who do will be prosecuted under the laws of the country they reside in.

Well, they’re still priests, even if laicized. You can’t “unordain” a priest; that’s like “unbaptizing” a layman. The concept just doesn’t make sense. (You can suspend his faculties, of course, and you can laicize him, prohibiting him from acting publicly as a priest; but you can’t make him not be a priest).

As for laicizing the priests, why would you want to do that? (I’m assuming, of course, that the criminal authorities are powerless, either because the complaint came too late and the statute of limitations had run, or because the offender has already served his time following conviction).

A laicized priest:
*]Can go where he wants, when he wants, for whatever reason he wants.
*]Can move to another city without telling the Church.
*]Can get close to other children and victimize them.
*]Can claim to be a priest (or other trust-inspiring professional).
*]Can act completely outside the control of the Church, because the Church in fact has no control over him.
A priest who is kept in the Church as a priest:
*]Can be sent to a monastery where he’ll never see any kids under any circumstances, ever again.
I just don’t see the comparison. To me, there’s no contest.

I really never thought of it like that…really good. reminds me of what they say, in a way about “keeping your friends close and your enemies closer”…not that the priests are always wrong, but like you said, if it’s past the statute of limitations or a lack of physical proof, then keep them in monestaries like you said. the priests where there is physical proof, then the judicial system will deal with them in the way they deal with any other convicted sex offender.

Not if they are in prison for child molestation. At least I hope not.

Not if they are in prison for child molestation. At least I hope not.

From the original post that you snipped out:

Many are kept VERY close and watched even closer to the Chancery. Many have a “Gatekeeper” and are not allowed in ministries that involve children in any way.

Actually, very few are “kicked out of the church”, We want to keep an eye on them so they aren’t a danger to anyone else. That is if the criminal justice system is finished with them.

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