'Prayer and penance:' More than 78 predator priests in Pa. still paid by Catholic church
By Candy Woodall
Decades after their crimes were reported and largely ignored, more than 78 priests accused of child sex abuse are still collecting paychecks and pensions from Pennsylvania dioceses.
Each of those priests has been removed from ministry by Pennsylvania bishops, but the pope himself needs to sign off on all clerics being removed from the priesthood and the payroll.
That process is formally known as laicization, and it can take years or decades, if it happens at all.
The Vatican received 3,400 credible reports of priest abuse from 2004 to 2014, according to church statistics. About 850 priests were defrocked in that period of time for raping or molesting children. The rest were told to repent and ask forgiveness.
Some diocese officials say the Vatican isn't motivated to remove the abusers from the priesthood if they are old or infirm. In other cases, the bishops decide themselves to keep them from being defrocked and allow abusive priests to receive church-funded retirements.
Their final assignment is a life of prayer and penance, a program that cares for priests who raped children and allows them to die with a noble title – a reverend, a father, a retired pri...