To get absolution from the friar, money had to change hands. In the Nevill Coghill translation, the General Prologue's description of the friar includes the lines:
He was an easy man in penance-giving / Where he could hope to make a decent living...Therefore instead of weeping and of prayer / One should give silver for a poor Friar's care.
The friar is described as being the opposite of what a friar should be. He is lascivious, when he should be abstinent. He is greedy when he should be generous. He knows barkeepers and bar maids better than he knows the poor and needy. Everything the friar did for another, he did for pay.