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preyonfire
09-20-2010, 05:00 AM
...

MissMacchiato
09-20-2010, 05:05 AM
Don't quote me on this, but...


I think they'd be stripped of their robes, or at least suspending from 'duty' or whatever it's called, in a similar way to a police officer.

It would be at the discretion of their superior, or THEIR superior, depending on the seriousness of the crime, I'd imagine

JoNightshade
09-20-2010, 05:07 AM
What kind of priest? Catholic?

Elwolf
09-20-2010, 05:13 AM
I would think that they would be excommunicated for any of that stuff. And, if the priest was found to be innocent, well, I don't think the Catholics are the type to let the guy right back in just like that. He would probably be permanently let go just for going to jail.

Just my opinion. Maybe you should ask an actual priest? :)

Giant Baby
09-20-2010, 06:01 AM
If a priest is sentenced to prison for abusing a child, murder, rape, or any other serious crime, do they remain a priest while in prison or are they essentially kicked out of the priesthood?

And if they were found innocent after serving 10 years in prison, can they still be/become a priest again?

Is this happening today?

Echoing what JoNightshade asked, what religion/denomination?

Was the priest found to be innocent, or found to be not guilty (you phrased it well, just checking that it wasn't a technicality, etc)?

By "become a priest again," do you mean that s/he'll be re-instated to the priesthood or that s/he'll be reinstated to the priesthood AND lead a congregation again? Many priests are teachers, social workers, politicians, drug counselors, workers at the Gap, etc. What are you looking for in this character's case? Religious reconciliation or reinstating to a post?

Williebee
09-20-2010, 06:46 AM
For the purposes of your story they could allow the civilian authorities to toss him in prison and not excommunicate him. That way, he'd be, in the eyes of the church, good to go for what they want of him. A holy man in prison is going to see a lot of demons, first hand, and learn a lot of about their influence and effect on men. That knowledge could make him very powerful. It might even give him access to secrets his bosses at the church don't know he knows.

scarletpeaches
09-20-2010, 06:49 AM
How would the clergy have an influence on having him released from a secular prison?

Giant Baby
09-20-2010, 07:41 AM
How would the clergy have an influence on having him released from a secular prison?


I think you're underestimating the power that religion has. Throw in some political corruption, some money and/or religious government officials with some pull and there you go... in the eyes of the public the Priest would be a reformed member of society... or even, perhaps it was the church that was influencing his parole?

Perhaps he's thrown into a third world prison where nothing is done by the books?

Money.

Religion.

Power.

Same shit, different stink...

WTF?

My first question now is to ask whether you're comfortable revealing your age, I suppose. That might help.

frimble3
09-20-2010, 08:13 AM
Sorry, but it doesn't have to be all that complicated or all that religious. He was apparently convicted of killing someone in the course of an exorcism? Don't know what that charge would be, but, say he gets more than 20 years, which seems unlikely, but ... . In any case, if he's been a 'good' prisoner for those 20 years, if his old employers went to the authorities and asked for his release, into their care, assured the authorities that they would supervise him, he wouldn't be allowed to kill anyone, etc, what with prison crowding, I'll bet they'd let him go out on parole. No need to prove his innocence, or his lack of guilt. Probably the only reason he'd still be in prison is that he refused parole, previously. Guilt, maybe?
Especially as it's not likely that he's going back to a congregation, if it's some sort of 'special' job.
As to whether he'd be excommunicated, Google what happens to other priests who are sent to priison. I'm betting they aren't: it's a sacrament, I believe, very hard to take back. And, a church matter, not a secular one, so I doubt it matters to the prison authorities.

citymouse
09-20-2010, 08:44 AM
If a crime has been established and if he is convicted then he may go to jail.

As for his priestly functions none can be taken away. When a priest is ordained the presiding bishop says to him, in the company of witnesses,
Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Once priestly powers have been conferred they cannot be revoked. However, he can and would be forbidden to perform any public rites, especially the sacraments, with the interesting exception of the sacrament of Reconciliation. This ban would be in force while he is in jail. After his release the priest may elect to go to monastery where he will be permitted to offer Mass, hear Confession, administer the sacrament of Anointing of Sick (Extreme Unction), and Baptize, He will not preside over marriages. If he is/was a bishop the pope would probably remove him as a bishop and thus he would not Confirm baptized persons or Ordain priests.
Excommunication requires very specific offenses and even then the person is given multiple opportunities to remain within the Mystical Body of Christ. There are sins which automatically make an excommunicate, but even these can be "set aside" upon "reconciliation".

The mixing of civil jurisdiction, in this case crime and punishment, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction and sanctions doesn't apply in today's western society. That said, even if no crime is proven or conviction made the priest's bishop may, due to the scenario you suggest, "suspend" his public functions and confine him to private worship. However, you'd have to set the background for this rule so that the reader knows what's happening and why. It probably would be better presented in dialogue than in narrative.
BTW if a baptized person receives a sacrament from a priest who's functions have been suspended the sacrament is valid for that person, as long as the recipient is unaware of the priest's suspension. The validity of a sacrament rests with the recipient not the priest.
Hope this helps.
C

Qbynewbie
09-20-2010, 08:54 AM
There's a story in the news this month that is somewhat related: http://www.speroforum.com/a/39412/Catholic-priest-sentenced-for-sexual-assault-of-8-yearold-boy

And another (http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1280181&srvc=rss), in which the priest was "barred from any public ministry after new allegations emerged involving minors dating back as far as four decades, the Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday" . . . and assigned "permanent disability status".

And yet another: http://www.suite101.com/content/roman-catholic-priest-bill-casey-admits-to-sexual-abuse-a227204. These are not too hard to find, as it turns out. I guess that's a sign of the times.

However, all of these have to do with removing the priest from a position of authority and his ability to minister publicly. The Church can dismiss a priest from the clerical state through a process that's variously referred to as defrocking or laicizing. Priests can be laicized because of grievous actions counter to the interests of the priesthood or (more often) because they request it. But even laicized priests remain priests in the eyes of the church; they simply are forbidden to exercize all of the duties of a priest except (if I remember correctly) administering last rites in circumstances when there are no other options. According to Catholic doctrine, a priest who has once been ordained is a priest forever. This can lead to interesting situations itself: suppose a laicized priest decides to administer Holy Communion to his family at the dinner table. When he performs the sacrament, is it real (according to doctrine)? The answer is yes: he is and remains always a priest. However, his actions are illegal -- but the actions of the others who take communion from him are not illegal (I think).

Finally, a defrocked priest can be "re-frocked" (I just made up that word :D) in some circumstances, although some of those circumstances require permission from the current Pope.

HTH

Qbynewbie
09-20-2010, 08:58 AM
If a crime has been established and if he is convicted then he may go to jail.

As for his priestly functions none can be taken away. When a priest is ordained the presiding bishop says to him, in the company of witnesses,
Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Once priestly powers have been conferred they cannot be revoked. However, he can and would be forbidden to perform any public rites, especially the sacraments, with the interesting exception of the sacrament of Reconciliation. This ban would be in force while he is in jail. After his release the priest may elect to go to monastery where he will be permitted to offer Mass, hear Confession, administer the sacrament of Anointing of Sick (Extreme Unction), and Baptize, He will not preside over marriages. If he is/was a bishop the pope would probably remove him as a bishop and thus he would not Confirm baptized persons or Ordain priests.
Excommunication requires very specific offenses and even then the person is given multiple opportunities to remain within the Mystical Body of Christ. There are sins which automatically make an excommunicate, but even these can be "set aside" upon "reconciliation".

The mixing of civil jurisdiction, in this case crime and punishment, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction and sanctions doesn't apply in today's western society. That said, even if no crime is proven or conviction made the priest's bishop may, due to the scenario you suggest, "suspend" his public functions and confine him to private worship. However, you'd have to set the background for this rule so that the reader knows what's happening and why. It probably would be better presented in dialogue than in narrative.
BTW if a baptized person receives a sacrament from a priest who's functions have been suspended the sacrament is valid for that person, as long as the recipient is unaware of the priest's suspension. The validity of a sacrament rests with the recipient not the priest.
Hope this helps.
C

Nice post. And I wish I'd seen it before I wrote mine because I think you are correct and I am not. :D When I wrote that I thought that the actions of the recipients of Communion administered by a laicized priest would be legal, I wasn't remembering clearly enough that the validity of a sacrament rests with the recipient.

It's been a loooonnnng time since I thought much about Catholic doctrine.

johnnysannie
09-20-2010, 05:18 PM
If a crime has been established and if he is convicted then he may go to jail.

As for his priestly functions none can be taken away. When a priest is ordained the presiding bishop says to him, in the company of witnesses,
Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Once priestly powers have been conferred they cannot be revoked. However, he can and would be forbidden to perform any public rites, especially the sacraments, with the interesting exception of the sacrament of Reconciliation. This ban would be in force while he is in jail. After his release the priest may elect to go to monastery where he will be permitted to offer Mass, hear Confession, administer the sacrament of Anointing of Sick (Extreme Unction), and Baptize, He will not preside over marriages. If he is/was a bishop the pope would probably remove him as a bishop and thus he would not Confirm baptized persons or Ordain priests.
Excommunication requires very specific offenses and even then the person is given multiple opportunities to remain within the Mystical Body of Christ. There are sins which automatically make an excommunicate, but even these can be "set aside" upon "reconciliation".

The mixing of civil jurisdiction, in this case crime and punishment, with ecclesiastical jurisdiction and sanctions doesn't apply in today's western society. That said, even if no crime is proven or conviction made the priest's bishop may, due to the scenario you suggest, "suspend" his public functions and confine him to private worship. However, you'd have to set the background for this rule so that the reader knows what's happening and why. It probably would be better presented in dialogue than in narrative.
BTW if a baptized person receives a sacrament from a priest who's functions have been suspended the sacrament is valid for that person, as long as the recipient is unaware of the priest's suspension. The validity of a sacrament rests with the recipient not the priest.
Hope this helps.
C

Excellent post.

RJK
09-20-2010, 05:40 PM
You may want to watch this movie (http://tv.blinkx.com/movie/the-exorcism-of-emily-rose/u8OJLYrATOjT8u9w). To see how deaths from exorcisms are handled in the secular world.
The Church would not publicly abandon the priest (privately would be another story). They would offer him the sacrament of confession and absolve him of his sins after an appropriate penance. If he were placed in an Italian prison, the Church would have a lot more influence on his parole.

PeterL
09-20-2010, 07:02 PM
Well, for my story I was thinking he's a Catholic priest who is abandoned by the church (his superiors anyway, who believe exorcism to be a primitive and barbaric practice) when an exorcism goes wrong and he's thrown in prison. Whether he's actually guilty or not is a mystery... but either way, the church wanted to make an example of him.

20 years later the church (yea, those guys that left him to rot in prison) come crawling back to him because he seems to be only one equipped to handle a situation that has emerged. So with their power they have him released from prison.... you get the picture.

I know that I can just have the church reinstate him in my story, but I was curious to see how it would be handled in the real world.

Thoughts?

Exorcism is a regular ceremony in the Catholic Church. Not all priests will perform an exorcism, but the hierarchy probably would support a priest who followed the regular procedure. If the priest were sentenced to prison, the atter of continuing priestly responsibilities would be up to his superiors. He might be assigned to a prison ministry, after all, he would be there, and they probably are looking for priests to be chaplains.

How he would be treated depends on the crime. Traditionally, Catholic priests who were convicted of pederasty with boys were told not to get caught again, while those who were found to enjoy women were cst out of the priesthood. Priests convicted of property crimes are usually assigned to places where they wouldn't do much harm.

Lhun
09-20-2010, 09:14 PM
If he were placed in an Italian prison, the Church would have a lot more influence on his parole.Or in Spain or Poland. In France or the UK on the other hand, any attempt would probably cause a minor scandal with lots of bad press for the church.