Can Priests "Quit the Job" and Marry?

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SwissGuard

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I have a cousin who is a Jesuit priest. Recently, my family learned that he is leaving the priesthood so that he can marry a woman that he met awhile back.

Are priests even allowed to do this? If so, how do they go about it? If not, what are the repercussions/consequences?

So far I haven’t been able to get any straight answers. Does anyone know?
 
It is possible for a priest to undergo laicization, or reduction to the lay state. The ordination itself cannot be undone, but the priest will then be allowed to live as a lay person. He will be forbidden to perform priestly duties unless for someone who is in danger of death.

The process takes several years, and the paperwork must go to Rome. Usually, the priest first leaves active ministry and has a regular job. During this time, he is still bound by celibacy. After a period of time, the priest can apply to be laicized. In order to marry, he must also be dispensed from the promise of celibacy (which is separate from laicization).

Certain conditions are often placed on the laicized priest prohibiting him from performing certain liturgical or catechetical roles. These are done to avoid scandal and confusion. I’m not sure of the details.

One priest told me that priests who leave usually leave because they stopped praying. In turn, we must also pray for our priests. While it may be allowed at times, it is always tragic when a priest leaves his ministry.

David
 
David,

This happens more often than you would think. There was a veritable flood of this in the 70’s. Many of them were officaially laicized either before or after they married, usually outside the Church. However, John Paul II tightened the reigns on the laicization of priests starting in the early 80’s and many of them left and married without ever going through any cannoical process. No one and nothing but their own conscience can stop them, just as the same is true about men and women who abandon their marriages or divorce and remarry. Keep them all in your prayers. There are many Catholic families that have been affected by one or both of these particalar scenarios. My family is one that has been affected by both.
 
Hi SwissGuard,
My priest told me that priests may leave and get married, but they are still priests.
Just like if we leave, we are still Catholics.
They arent allowed to perform Mass, and if they ever want to come back as a full priest, that is celebrate Mass, and adopt celibacy again, then there is a long process involved.
He explained it that the process is long as you couldnt possibly expect a congregation to accept one day a priest believes in what he professes, then changes his mind, then changes again.
Love Kellie
 
WHOA, can you guys provide me with links to the catechism or the Code of Cannon law or anything supporting this information you are presenting. I am under the impression that it is not possible to retrun to the lay state once you have become a priest. There is a indelveable mark that is made on your soul when you are ordained that can not be removed. “You are a priest forever in the order of…” Please help me out here.
 
Tyler:

There are in essence two ideas that ordinarily go together, but which are distinct, that you are perhaps confusing. These ideas are “ordained”-v-“not ordained” and “clergy”-v-“laity.”

Ordination cannot be undone. But one’s status in the Church can be determined by legitimate authority. For example, at one time the clerical state was conferred at “first tonsure” – distinct from ordination. Now the clerical state is conferred at ordination to the diaconate. (can. 266)

In the Code of Canon Law, for example, Book II, Part I, Title III, Chapter IV is entitled “Loss of the Clerical State,” and covers canons 290 - 293.

Pax,
Joe Prioli
 
Tyler Smedley:
WHOA, can you guys provide me with links to the catechism or the Code of Cannon law or anything supporting this information you are presenting. I am under the impression that it is not possible to retrun to the lay state once you have become a priest. There is a indelveable mark that is made on your soul when you are ordained that can not be removed. “You are a priest forever in the order of…” Please help me out here.
Go to the Ask An Apologetist forum, in there they have a real good response to this questions of leaving the priesthood.
 
Tyler Smedley:
WHOA, can you guys provide me with links to the catechism or the Code of Cannon law or anything supporting this information you are presenting. I am under the impression that it is not possible to retrun to the lay state once you have become a priest. There is a indelveable mark that is made on your soul when you are ordained that can not be removed. “You are a priest forever in the order of…” Please help me out here.
Go to the Ask An Apologetist forum. It answers this questions about leaving the priesthood very well.
 
I just learned a few weeks ago, that a priest I had during my grade school years, had left the priesthood and got married and had children.

I am sure since he left the priesthood, his family was reared deeply in the faith.
OR he had a disagreement with something, that could be possible.

go with God!
Edwin
 
Just remember that priests are human too. I think too often we Catholics put them high on a pedestal and expect too much of them. They have human longings, they undergo personal change, they fall in love. It’s hard to be human, I myself have fallen short many times.

I agree, we must pray for our priests.
 
I had my Priest leave the Priesthood and immedeatly marry, he told me that he was forbidden from *publicly *saying Mass, however he has told me that he continues to celebrate a valid Mass privately, though he admitted that the Mass may be illegal on some level, kind of like an SSPX Mass. He also told me that should he outlive his wife he can go right back into the archdiocese at anytime.

I read in a Catholic publication a while ago about a situation which illustrated that a widowed priest can fully return to the Priesthood. This particular Priest Married a former nun, had several children, one of whom became a Priest. He ended up outliving his wife and returned to the Priesthood and this article dealt with the unusual occurence of a Father and Son celebrating Mass together as Priests. If I can find this online I’ll post the link.
 
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