1105.2 Policy “After even a single act of sexual abuse by a cleric is admitted or is established by a process completed in accord with canon law, every effort shall be made to encourage the cleric to request laicization. Should he not do so, the Archdiocese shall pursue his involuntary laicization unless for reasons of advanced age or infirmity, he shall lead a life of prayer and penance.”

1105.3.1 Policy “If for some reason dismissal from the clerical state has not been applied for, the cleric who has been found to have engaged in sexual abuse of a minor shall live a life of prayer and penance. He shall be subjected to supervision for the remainder of his life as a cleric of the Archdiocese and his file shall remain open. Realizing that as a non-governmental institution the Archdiocese lacks coercive police power, clerics under supervision are canonically assigned fulltime to a residential program which requires a transparency of lifestyle and behavior, as well as accountability, to program directors (Canon 274, §2). If the cleric refuses to accept and fulfill this assignment, he shall be separated from the Archdiocese (2006 USCCB Norms, #8)”.

Primary Purpose

The primary purpose of the Prayer and Penance Program is for persons to do penance for their sins, to pray for victims of sexual abuse and to pray for the Church harmed by the actions of some priests.

Secondary Purposes

  • To prevent sexual abuse by the program participants and to protect the community from harm.
  • To reduce risk by promoting healthy living on the part of program participants in the program.
  • To prevent harm to the faith of Catholics within the Archdiocese.
  • To protect the reputation of the priesthood from further harm by individuals in the program.

No Archdiocesan priest with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor is in public ministry.


The Prayer and Penance Program was added to the Office for the Protection of Children and Youth in 2008.


Moira Reilly, LCSW, Case Manager