Prayer and Penance Program
No priest with a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor is in public ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago. No withdrawn priest is permitted to celebrate Mass publicly or perform any sacraments. They are also not permitted to wear clerical garb.
The Prayer and Penance Program was established for priests withdrawn from ministry due to at least one substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The program was initiated in 2008 by Francis Cardinal George to provide safety for the community, the program participants and the Church. Withdrawn priests are expected to do penance for their sins, pray for victims/survivors of sexual abuse and pray for the Church harmed by the actions of some priests.
What We Do
The primary purpose of the Prayer and Penance Program is to prevent sexual abuse by the program participants and to protect the community from harm.
The Prayer and Penance Program seeks the following:
- Reduce risk by promoting healthy living on the part of participants in the program.
- Prevent harm to the faith of Catholics within the Archdiocese.
- Protect the reputation of the priesthood from further harm by individuals in the program.
Consistent accountability within a supervised framework is the core of the program. The program participants are monitored daily by the Case Manager who utilizes various techniques to review their compliance with the program. The Case Manager also works closely with other offices to fulfill the objectives of the program.
Please click here for the Church’s policies (Prayer and Penance begins at §1105.3).
Nelly Bonilla, LPC, CPAIP, CDVP