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The seat of Catholic power and policy, the Vatican, has agreed to give Roman Catholic Archdiocese around the world, including Chicago's, the power to remove priests from service, for any number of reasons, including having inappropriate sexual contact with minors.
Chicago church officials say they aren’t sure they’ll use the power to oust 11 men who are no longer publicly practicing ministry because of substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But the rule doesn't effect miscreant priests alone. The Archdiocese will move forward with plans to defrock nearly 240 priests and deacons who have left the ministry over the last 40 years to pursue other careers, marriage or some other above board activity. Many from this group have retired, but haven't officially severed the cord to Vatican City in the eyes of the church.
Historically, the Roman Catholic Church has never forcibly defrocked priests or deacons. They have asked them to resign from the priesthood. In order to do that, they needed to get permission from the Pope.
If the Chicago Archdiocese does decide to remove the men from the priesthood, it could save them a lot of money. Archbishop Jerome Listecki, of Milwaukee, who's moved to defrock nine men, ended up saving about $90,000 a year.
The Chicago Archdiocese is not saying how much it costs to support the men still under the church's watch .