“The church tried to argue that its responsibility to take care of retired priests and deacons is not governed by U.S. federal law but by the church’s own rules, known as canon law. It argued that clergy would only lose their retirement benefits if they were laicized — or stripped of their ordination as priests or deacons. Aymond said he could remove priests and deacons from ministry, but he couldn’t forcibly laicize those who don’t voluntarily agree to leave the priesthood or deaconate. That could only be done by the Vatican.”
– – – – what eff????