Ask a Franciscan

When a Bishop Resigns

Q: What happens to a Catholic bishop when he resigns? Where does he go? Does he still have a rank within the Church? What financial assistance does he receive?

A: He remains a bishop and could receive some other assignment from the pope. Or the bishop could retire completely because of age, illness or some other serious reason. A retired bishop chooses where to live. If he resides in the diocese of which he was bishop, his residence is worked out with the diocesan administrator and eventually the new bishop.

A retired bishop could move back to the area of the country where he grew up or where many of his relatives live. A retired bishop who belongs to a religious order could move to one of his community’s houses.

Although a retired bishop is still a member of the national conference of bishops and is welcome to attend its meetings, there are some matters on which he no longer has a vote. Every diocese is responsible for contributing to the living expenses of its retired bishops, including auxiliary bishops.

Ask a Franciscan


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