The Division of Clergy Personnel


1107.0       Definitions:


  • A priest who was called to orders for service in the Archdiocese of Baltimore by the Archbishop of Baltimore;
  • A priest when ordained who was not called to orders by the Archbishop of Baltimore but during his ministry chooses to become a priest of the Archdiocese through the transfer of incardination process established by canon law and these policies.


  • A priest of the Archdiocese may after proper discernment and observance of canon law and these policies is incardinated into another Diocese or Religious Congregation from the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

1107.1       Letters of Commendation or Complaint About Priests of the Archdiocese

1107.1.1    Letters of Commendation

  • Process: Upon receiving a letter commending a priest for his good service or outstanding performance, the letter will be acknowledged, and a copy of the letter will be forwarded to the priest himself.
  • Rationale:  Since good performance is seldom acknowledged, any form of recognition should be communicated as a matter of policy.
  • Retention:  Any letter of commendation is to be kept in the personnel file of the individual priest.

1107.1.2    Letter of Complaint


    • Complaint:  The complainant will be informed that the matter will be brought to the attention of the priest in question; and that the Office of Clergy Personnel will reveal the identity of the complainant as part of that discussion.
      • Employee Complaints:  If the complainant is employee of the parish where the priest is assigned, the Office of Human Resources will be contacted to assist with the next steps in the process.
      • Anonymous Letters: It is up to the Director of the Office of Clergy Personnel to determine whether an anonymous letter is shared with a priest.
      • Goal of Sharing Complaints:  It is the goal of this process to provide transparency for any difficulties or concerns for the priest and the person making the complaint.


  • Record of Actions:  A full record is to be retained in the files of the priest regarding the actions taken for any complaint.

1107.2       Employment of Religious Priests or Priests Incardinated in Other Dioceses

  • This policy pertains to priests who are employed but not incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
  • It relates both to those who are not seeking incardination as well as those who are seeking incardination.

1107.2.1    Priests Not Seeking Incardination


  • Prior to Beginning Employment:
  • Role of Employer:
    • When a priest incardinated in another diocese accepts employment within the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the employer is required to notify the Archbishop through the Office of Clergy Personnel in order to obtain canonical faculties for the priest by supplying the following information regarding him:
      • Name;
      • Age;
      • Diocese of incardination or religious order;
      • History of employment in all other dioceses before arriving in the Archdiocese of Baltimore;
      • Position to which assigned and probable length of employment;
      • >Reasons for the priest’s desire to work outside his own diocese;
      • His qualifications for the employment position; and
      • An official letter from the Bishop of the priest’s diocese or superior of the order giving permission to him to seek work in this Archdiocese and a properly completed “Letter of Suitability”.
    • The priest entering the Archdiocese of Baltimore for employment as a priest must be eligible to receive resident faculties under the normal process including; Instructions for Obtaining Faculties
      • A criminal background check,
      • Suitability review, and
      • Child and Youth Protection Education.
  • The Office of Clergy Personnel will oversee this process.
  • The priest may not celebrate the sacraments within the Archdiocese of Baltimore until faculties are properly granted.

1107.2.2    Priests Seeking Incardination (canons 268-272)

Period of Service Within the Archdiocese of Baltimore


  • After one year of full-time service in the Archdiocese of Baltimore the priest may apply for consideration of incardination, if he wishes. The priest should discuss his desires with the Director of the Office of Clergy Personnel before proceeding in any way.
    • The Director of the Office of Clergy Personnel will discuss the matter with the Chancellor to determine the proper canonical process for the individual priest.
    • The priest must seek written permission to seek incardination from his own bishop or religious order.
    • The priest must also obtain the written permission of the Archbishop of Baltimore to begin the incardination process.
    • Only if both diocesan bishops (or the requesting priest’s religious superior) consent to this process in writing is the priest eligible to enter the incardination process ad experimentum, in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
    • Acceptance into the process of incardination may NEVER be presumed.
  • Copy of Complete Personnel File from All other Dioceses
    • The Office of Clergy Personnel will obtain the following items as soon as possible when the initial request for consideration of incardination is granted to being the process ad experimentum:
      • A complete personnel file for the priest applicant from the original diocese of incardination;
      • A copy of any personnel file from any other diocese where the priest was granted habitual faculties; and
      • A full medical history.
  • Time of Experiment:  The first year of ministry for the priest will be counted toward the term of the three-year requirement, but a final recommendation on his application will not be made until at least a total of three years has been served.
  • Review of Formal Letter of Application: A priest seeking incardination shall have lived and worked full-time in the Archdiocese for a minimum of three years before his application will be given official review.
    • A minimum of one year must elapse between the submission of the formal letter of application and the official review.
    • The formal letter of application for incardination should address at least the following elements:
      • Why the priest feels he is called to minister in the Archdiocese of Baltimore;
      • What the priest aspires to do within the Archdiocese of Baltimore if his request for incardination is granted; and
      • Any other information the priest believes would be helpful in consideration of this request.
  • Evaluations:  In all instances, evaluations will be completed and response on approval/acceptance or rejection will be given within five years after the commencement of the priest’s residence and/or service in the Archdiocese in accordance with canon law.

Observations Regarding Letters of Application

  • The Priestly Life and Ministry Board will conduct the necessary review of letters of application for incardination and provide observations to the Archbishop.
  • Timing – These observations should be prepared early in the incardination consideration period to introduce the candidate to the Presbyterate through the members of the Priestly Life and Ministry Board.
  • Local Review:
    • All relevant information from all pastors and superiors under whom the applicant has served within the Archdiocese, and if advisable, from peers, colleagues, and lay contacts; and
    • An Interview with the candidate is encouraged.
  • Based on its findings, the Board will provide observations to the Archbishop to assist him in making a final decision regarding the request for incardination into the Presbyterate.


Observations Regarding Age

  • No arbitrary age requirements will be applied.
  • However, age will be considered along with any health or personality factors that might be obstacles to satisfactory and productive service in the Archdiocese.
  • Age will also be considered in relation to the pension rights which the applicant would lose in his own diocese and the rights he would gain in this Archdiocese.
  • Pension Plan – Every priest is eligible for inclusion in the Priest Pension plan in the Archdiocese of Baltimore beginning with their date of incardination into the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
  • Pension Credit for Previous Ministry – If priests seeking incardination wish to obtain credit for their previous years of service with another diocese of religious order from the Archdiocese of Baltimore Priest Pension Fund, such priests must work with the Archdiocese of Baltimore and their previous religious order or diocese to obtain a proper pension contribution to the Archdiocese of Baltimore Priest Pension Fund so their years of service in that previous institution may be recognized here. This process should be accomplished before the final incardination is completed.

1107.2.3   Priests Seeking Excardination:

  • Any Archdiocesan priest may ask to be excardinated into another diocese or religious order, following the guidelines of the receiving diocese or order.


  • The Archbishop of Baltimore has the final authority regarding the granting of such requests.


  • The details regarding pension benefits will follow Archdiocesan guidelines.

1107.2.4    Faculties For Priests:

ALL PRIESTS MUST HAVE FACULTIES before being permitted to concelebrate Mass, celebrate any other sacrament, or do any other type of public ministry in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. 

  • Types of Faculties: There are two types of faculties for priests who minister within the Archdiocese of Baltimore:


  • Permanent (Habitual Faculties): These are for those priests who reside and minister within the territory of the Archdiocese of Baltimore or who minister frequently within its territory and expire when the priest leaves the Archdiocese; and


  • Event Faculties: These are for those priests who come for a single event or for several events within a short period of time.
  • Parishes and Other Institutions: All Catholic parishes and institutions MUST be certain a priest has received the required faculties of the Archdiocese of Baltimore prior to allowing that priest to do any type of ministry.
  • The parish or institution should call the Office of Clergy Personnel to ascertain whether faculties have been granted.


Letters of Suitability

  • Letters of Suitability will be issued through the Office of Clergy Personnel ONLY for priests incardinated within the Archdiocese of Baltimore;


  • Diocesan Clergy may request a letter of suitability prior to travel to another diocese; and
  • Other priests resident in this territory should seek a letter of suitability from their appropriate religious or diocesan superior.

1107.3       Employment of Laicized Priests Within the Archdiocese

  • The term “laicization” refers to a dispensation from all the obligations of Holy Orders, including celibacy. The actual language in the decree of laicization from the Holy See will determine some eligibility for employment of the laicized priest in a Church setting.

1107.3.1    The Priest Who Has Been Laicized

  • Archbishop’s Approval: A priest who has been laicized is eligible for employment in positions in the Archdiocese for which he is qualified provided the employing institution receives the approval of the Archbishop of Baltimore in relation to the specific position.


    • Marriage After Laicization: In determining whether to give approval in a situation where the individual entered into marriage after laicization, consideration will be given to possible scandal to the community. This is particularly of concern when the priest ministered in the Archdiocese of Baltimore and has decided to continue to reside in that territory.
    • Eligible Positions: A laicized priest could be considered for a position in administration, teaching, or counseling at a high school or college; or in administrative or management types of work in various Archdiocesan institutions.
    • A laicized priest may not discharge any function in seminaries or may not teach in graduate schools of theology;
    • Other restrictions may apply depending on the type of rescript issued (rescripts involving Child and Youth offenses may have more restrictions).
  • 807.3.4 Priests Who May Have Attempted Marriage Without Laicization
  • Ineligible for Employment: An individual who may be in this category is to be considered as ineligible for employment in a position involving teaching, counseling, guidance, or administrative work in any Catholic schools or Church-related institutions.
  • The prior approval of the Archbishop must be secured prior to the employment of an individual in this category.

1107.3.5    Priest on Leave of Absence

  • Discernment Leave: A priest, who is on a leave of absence in order to discern whether or not he wishes to remain in priestly ministry, is not permitted to be employed by any Church agency or institution.  During this discernment period, employment in a secular setting may assist the priest in the process of discerning his vocation.
  • Permanent Leave of Absence:  A priest who is on permanent leave of absence and has decided to all intents and purposes not to return to active priestly ministry, is not permitted to be employed by the Church and may not receive an endorsement as a chaplain or other professional until his decree of laicization has been issued by the Holy See. 

1107.3.6    Application of This Policy

  • Applies to All Priests: The provisions stated in this policy are applicable to priests incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, to priests incardinated in other dioceses, religious orders or institutes who are seeking employment with the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and to parishes, institutions and organizations within the jurisdictional responsibility of the Archbishop of Baltimore.
  • Individuals and Institutions: Individuals and employing institutions affected by this policy should consult the Office of Clergy Personnel regarding the procedure to be followed by those seeking required approvals.


1107.3.7    Distribution of This Policy Statement

  • All departments and offices of this Archdiocese and Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese are provided with a copy of this statement.