Q:

Is there a way to look up former priests?

A:

Quick Answer

There is no comprehensive directory of all former priests. Some former priests are gainfully employed in numerous fields, while some exercise ministry in a different church or denomination.

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Catholic priests may request dispensation from their priestly duties in a process called laicization, or they can simply walk away from their ministry. Between 1964 and 2004, 69,063 priests left the priesthood according to notices sent by dioceses around the world to the Vatican. Reasons for leaving the priesthood included personal crises of faith, difficulties with Church teaching, conflicts with superiors or seeking marriage. According to Catholic theology, former priests do not lose the powers bestowed on them at their ordinations but are forbidden from publicly exercising them.

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