Underground ‘rent a priest’ service illegal

Rent a priest? It’s possible – but not legal as far as the Catholic Church is concerned.

Former Catholic priests in the southern Indian state of Kerala have launched an underground “rent a priest” service.

Catholics who do not use services from their parishes can hire a priest.

The service aims to help Catholics who have been critical of their parish priests.

They can hire former priests from the Catholic Priests, Ex-Priest and Nuns Association.

Former priests in this association provide spiritual services, including administering sacraments.

Father Paul Mullassery, a canon lawyer in Kerala’s Kollam Diocese said the former priests commit “sacrilege”.

He also said they “engage in sinful action” when they administer the sacraments.

Catholics who receive the sacraments, knowing the illicit nature of the act are also committing a sin.

This is because “they know they are acting against the faith,” Father Mullassery said.

According to Catholic practice, a priest who has left the priesthood is not supposed to administer sacraments or celebrate Mass for the public.

Although the sacraments administered are valid, the  Church considers the acts illicit.

The reason is the former priests have had their rights to do so revoked.

Reji Njallani, a layperson and national president of the association said they aim to help Catholics get spiritual help when they “have fallen away” from their parish.

The association formed in March 2015 aims to attract social acceptance for priests and nuns who have quit their ministry. Traditional Catholics in Kerala look at former priests and nuns as those who have brought a “bad name” to the church just because they left.

The association now has some 200 former priests and those who have retired from active ministry.





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News category: World.