The priest, I thought, was next to God, the person who would always be there. How can the person who hears my confession and gives me absolution say, "I'm not doing this anymore"?
Priests may retire from active ministry for a variety of reasons. Like other people, they get old, weak, and sick. Most are unable at 70 to stand in a classroom for five or six hours a day. They do not have the energy to run a parish of 1,000 families. Some are forced into nursing or retirement homes for the same kind of help other old people need.
Few, unless they are blind, deaf, or bedridden, stop praying or celebrating the Eucharist. Many who are able continue to give what help they can in parishes, convents, nursing homes, and other institutions.