Serious. Can a nun or priest just walk away and go lead a secular life without any consequences from the church?

Serious. Can a nun or priest just walk away and go lead a secular life without any consequences from the church?


Yes, they don't have a Catholic retention squad that's going to hunt you down or anything.


Unlike the Scientologists


Sure, my MIL is a former Roman Catholic nun. I have known a couple of former RC priests, too.


One of our priests ran away with a nun and they became Lutherans. There were no repercussions other than ones normally associated with quitting a job.


What kind of consequences?


Like does the church ask for anything they gave them back. Nothing crazy.


Slavery was abolished a long time ago.


Maybe you should read the question again.


Yup. Something in my brain inserted 'How' at the start of second sentence. My bad.


One of my relatives was a Roman Catholic monk, and wanted to marry, but remain in the Roman Cathlic communion. He asked the Pope to release him from his vows. There was quite a wait for this (years not months); it was granted eventually, but with the condition that he not visit nor attend services in his old parish. Had he wanted to lead a secular life, and not stay a church member, there would have been no problem, he could have just gone ahead, but he wanted to keep his faith. Because he had the Pope's permission to renounce his vows, he was able to marry in a Roman Catholic church, and take a full part in church life (except in his old parish). Had he just led a secular life, he would have not been married in the eyes of the church, and would have been living in sin.


It depends on where they live and which church they are part of. Walking away from scientology is hard. Most christian churches you can walk away rather easily. They might not accept you back and you might become an outcast in your community but if you move away you won't face any consequences. Depending on which church exactly you might even get a severance package for your years of work. Others might charge you outstanding school fees if the church paid. Obviously there are also examples of Christian churches where leaving is harder, like the Mormons.


Some churches (JW) instruct members to flat-out shun apostates. Even if the person is a parent or child. Also side note, for any clergyperson who no longer holds supernatural belief, there's a community and support group for you. You're not alone. [The Clergy Project](https://clergyproject.org/)


If they just choose to leave their order or renounce their ordination, sure. If they do fucked-up shit WHILE ordained that's a different thing. There are former nuns and priests who occasionally end up teaching in Catholic schools and stuff bc they decided they wanted to leave and renounced and did. That's fine with the church, you can still receive sacraments and all. Same as the Amish, you can leave before you're baptised, no harm no foul. If you're baptised and then you start acting like you're not, that's trouble.


How does a priest/nun renounce? Is it the same as a letter of resignation type thing?


Yeah, actually. They write to the Vatican and basically ask to be released from their vows


Absolutely, but why would they? They work a couple days a week, can drink on the job, their income isn't taxed and their housing and food is paid for.


Love, change of faith, loss of faith are reasons off the top of my head.


Yes the process is called laicization. You can do it and even have the church sign off on it.




They have to be dispensed from their vows It can be accepted or denied, though usually they will accept it.