The diocese of Stockton, California bought convicted child molester Rev. Oliver O’Grady a pension (at the cost of 94,000) that would begin when O’Grady turned 65. Bishop Blaire of Stockton explained to his diocese:
When Oliver O’Grady was in prison, he refused to apply for removal from the priesthood, also known as laicization or defrocking. Already in 1993 Bishop Donald Montrose had removed O’Grady’s authorization to exercise priestly ministry.
I came to the Diocese in March, 1999 and O’Grady was to be paroled in November, 2000. I was determined that he not leave prison as a priest. At the time, the church process for removal from the priesthood was lengthy and often uncertain. There was no guarantee that he would be laicized.
O’Grady’s Canon lawyer informed me that O’Grady would voluntarily seek laicization if some retirement funds were made available for his later years. I found this arrangement very distasteful, but I was adamant that he not walk out of prison as a priest even though he had been removed from exercising ministry. So I reluctantly agreed to the proposal.
I wanted to provide some measure of justice for his victims and some peace of mind that he would never again use his priesthood to damage families.
The bishop seems to be telling the full truth.
After Vatican II, a flood of priests left the priesthood. Paul VI was hurt but granted almost all the requests. When John Paul II was elected, he stopped the automatic granting of requests and made it especially difficult to to remove a priest against the priest’s will.
This policy applied even to convicted, jailed child molesters like Oliver O’Grady.
After Cardinal Ratzinger took over the abuse cases in 2002, he ensured that abusers were removed far more expeditiously, and when he became pope he speeded up the process even more (although he has not acted against the bishops who enabled abuse).
John Paul’s blindness to the damage that he was doing by allowing convicted child molesters to remain in the priesthood is a severe stain on his papacy.