What’s the difference between a diocesan priest and a priest in a religious order?
The diocesan priest and the Religious priest both exercise the same priesthood under a different authority structure. The diocesan priest is subject to the Bishop of his diocese; the Religious is subject to his Religious Superior. In addition, the diocesan priest does not take a vow of poverty whereas the Religious priest does. The diocesan priest does not live in community, but most Religious priest do. Diocesan priests, however, can choose to live a kind of community life by coming together with fellow priests.
The order priests, such as Franciscans, Dominicans, Benedictines, etc., each have a particular charism or religious lifestyle that contributes to the life of the church, e.g. poverty & ecology, preaching, monasticism & sung liturgy. The secular (diocesan) priests do all of the fundamental work in parishes through the sacramental life (Eucharist, baptism, marriage, funerals etc.) whereas the order priests perform complementary or support activities. Normally, order priests are freed from the parish day to day work in order to offer the other elements of Christian life: prayer, retreats, reflection, vocation, ministry etc.
Most popular questions
- If I request information about joining a religious organisation, will I be pressured into joining?
- I feel I have a specific charism to youth outreach. Can I live this charism out as a priest, or must I follow the charism of the order I join?
- Why are there so many different religious organisations?
- School was never something I really liked. Is the study part of formation very hard?
- I do not consider myself to be exceptionally holy, I try to pray every day and follow the commandments. I have always been very interested in the priesthood but I have never felt a burning passion for it. Could I still be called to the priesthood?
- What if as a priest I need to take time out to care for a relative or family member?
- The idea of public speaking is very challenging to me and I avoid it if possible. How can I be a priest when I hate public speaking?
- If I become a priest, will I be living with mostly elderly men?
- Why do we have priests? Can’t lay people do the work of priests?
- Can I become a bishop or cardinal and not a priest?