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  #1  
Old Aug 29, '13, 9:44 pm
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Honorius Honorius is offline
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Default A question about the vow of poverty

I came across an article in an online catholic encyclopedia and it says (or at least seams to say) that those that have taken a vow of poverty are allowed to keep certain things such as books and some personal effects for their own use. The article can be found here:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12324a.htm. The section I am refering to is located under the blue heading labelled The Vow of Poverty in General. I was wondering if this is true or not, because the way I understood it is that those under a vow of poverty hold everything in common.
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Old Aug 29, '13, 10:45 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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Originally Posted by Honorius View Post
I came across an article in an online catholic encyclopedia and it says (or at least seams to say) that those that have taken a vow of poverty are allowed to keep certain things such as books and some personal effects for their own use. The article can be found here:http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12324a.htm. The section I am refering to is located under the blue heading labelled The Vow of Poverty in General. I was wondering if this is true or not, because the way I understood it is that those under a vow of poverty hold everything in common.
The article offers a little too much information for the average person who is not trained in the different forms of religious life and the different kinds of vows of poverty. I can see how you and others can be confused.

Let me put it this way.

A religious may keep whatever the institute allows him to keep. Observe that the word is "keep". It not "own".

To keep means that you have it in your possession. However, you do not own it. If were to leave the community, whatever is in your possession must remain behind. You may only take what the superior allows you to take. This applies to one who leaves to go to another community house or to one who is secularized and returns to the world.

In your case, as a layman, you own what's in your possession. If you move, you take it with you without needing permission to do so. If you were to divorce, you must split the assets with your ex. Do you see the difference between the religious and the layman?

One last example. I'm the superior. One of our priests is our handyman. He goes around fixing anything broken. He needs tools for this ministry. He has the tools. I don't do this kind of work. I have no need to have those tools. No one else in our community knows how to screw in a lightbulb, much less fix the electrical wiring. There is no need for that tool box to be laying around taking up space. Brother keeps it with him. He's the only one who uses it.

On weekends, he helps at a local parish with mass and confessions. He has an alb. No one else needs that alb. It remains in his possession.

If tomorrow, I find that I need him to do something different and no longer be the handyman, I have the right to ask him for the toolbox. If I decide that he no longer goes out to celebrate mass at the local parish, I can ask him to surrender the alb.

When you own something, no one can take it away from you without violating justice.

Now there is one more thing. Religious who make simple vows may own property, if their constitution allows it. However, they can only use it according to the statutes in their constitutions.

Religious who make solemn vows may not own property. They can only use what they need while they need it. It must be surrendered upon request by the superior.
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  #3  
Old Aug 30, '13, 2:03 am
Petaro Petaro is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
The article offers a little too much information for the average person who is not trained in the different forms of religious life and the different kinds of vows of poverty. I can see how you and others can be confused.

Let me put it this way.

A religious may keep whatever the institute allows him to keep. Observe that the word is "keep". It not "own".

To keep means that you have it in your possession. However, you do not own it. If were to leave the community, whatever is in your possession must remain behind. You may only take what the superior allows you to take. This applies to one who leaves to go to another community house or to one who is secularized and returns to the world.

In your case, as a layman, you own what's in your possession. If you move, you take it with you without needing permission to do so. If you were to divorce, you must split the assets with your ex. Do you see the difference between the religious and the layman?

One last example. I'm the superior. One of our priests is our handyman. He goes around fixing anything broken. He needs tools for this ministry. He has the tools. I don't do this kind of work. I have no need to have those tools. No one else in our community knows how to screw in a lightbulb, much less fix the electrical wiring. There is no need for that tool box to be laying around taking up space. Brother keeps it with him. He's the only one who uses it.

On weekends, he helps at a local parish with mass and confessions. He has an alb. No one else needs that alb. It remains in his possession.

If tomorrow, I find that I need him to do something different and no longer be the handyman, I have the right to ask him for the toolbox. If I decide that he no longer goes out to celebrate mass at the local parish, I can ask him to surrender the alb.

When you own something, no one can take it away from you without violating justice.

Now there is one more thing. Religious who make simple vows may own property, if their constitution allows it. However, they can only use it according to the statutes in their constitutions.

Religious who make solemn vows may not own property. They can only use what they need while they need it. It must be surrendered upon request by the superior.
Trust a Franciscan to have such a valid and succinct understanding of the true vow of poverty. Brother, please say a prayer for me, a sinner.
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  #4  
Old Aug 30, '13, 4:48 am
Starrsmother Starrsmother is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

You pose a really good question--I just don't know the right answer, though I'd love to. In our parish, the pastor/priest, receives at least some salary (probably minimal) and has a checking account. If he bought a bottle of cologne and was transferred, I'm pretty sure he would keep it. He does accept gifts especially at times like Christmas and he keeps them. Sometimes people give him items of clothing and he owns his own car. Our assistant pastor collects relics of St. Faustina and they are his personal property. He brought them when he came to our parish, has displayed some of them from time to time on certain Saints days etc and he will carry them to his next assignment as he did to our parish, I'm pretty sure. I know for sure that a priest in a parish north of here, received an inheritance from a relative and used some part of it after his death as a donation to the church to build our parish a new rectory. What he did or didn't do with the balance left, I have no idea. Is it possible that maybe a vow of property doesn't require total destitution? I really don't know, but I do know that our priests do own personal property. You pose an excellent question!
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Old Aug 30, '13, 5:19 am
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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Originally Posted by Starrsmother View Post
You pose a really good question--I just don't know the right answer, though I'd love to. In our parish, the pastor/priest, receives at least some salary (probably minimal) and has a checking account. If he bought a bottle of cologne and was transferred, I'm pretty sure he would keep it. He does accept gifts especially at times like Christmas and he keeps them. Sometimes people give him items of clothing and he owns his own car. Our assistant pastor collects relics of St. Faustina and they are his personal property. He brought them when he came to our parish, has displayed some of them from time to time on certain Saints days etc and he will carry them to his next assignment as he did to our parish, I'm pretty sure. I know for sure that a priest in a parish north of here, received an inheritance from a relative and used some part of it after his death as a donation to the church to build our parish a new rectory. What he did or didn't do with the balance left, I have no idea. Is it possible that maybe a vow of property doesn't require total destitution? I really don't know, but I do know that our priests do own personal property. You pose an excellent question!
You don't say whether your parish is served by a religious or a diocesan priest. Religious priests take a vow of poverty, diocesan priests don't. Diocesan priests usually own the car they drive, religious priests would drive a car that belongs to the Congregation or the parish or diocese.

Even within the same Congregation of priests there can be differences. We had religious priests in our parish until last year. Their Congregation was divided into Provinces. Our priests' Province allowed them to have a bank account and once their balance exceeded a set amount they were to turn the excess over to the Province. That shocked priests from the other Province who had to turn over everything to their bursar and were given an allowance as they needed it.

The Congregation had a contract with the Diocese that guaranteed each priest a monthly stipend, a car provided by the diocese (this car stayed in the parish where it was used when the priest was moved elsewhere), a trip back to the Congregation's 'headquarters' each year, a contribution towards their annual retreat and the parish paid for housing and food.

In Canada, a religious priest with a vow of poverty pays no income tax, the diocesan priest, OTOH, pays tax on his salary and on room and board and the car allowance he's paid, etc.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 11:59 am
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

Each religious order has varying policies for administering the Vow of Poverty. Each individual religious has different needs. A cook may have different needs than a college professor. The legitimate superior of a certain religious may grant permission for that religious to retain certain items. The individual religious should be willing to part with any item at the request of a superior. With the advent of "leadership" teams in certain communities, this may have changed. If I were to enter religious life again (I left 30 years ago), I would choose a community who lived the Vow of Poverty in my first example. What is the use of professing a Vow that is not lived.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 12:31 pm
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janeway529 janeway529 is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

So what happens when a religious order priest becomes a bishop? Does the vow of poverty no longer apply?
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Old Aug 30, '13, 12:38 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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So what happens when a religious order priest becomes a bishop? Does the vow of poverty no longer apply?
As I understand it, and I stand to be corrected, when he becomes a bishop he is no longer part of the Congregation or Order. He's free to return to it when he retires if he desires.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 4:21 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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So what happens when a religious order priest becomes a bishop? Does the vow of poverty no longer apply?
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Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
As I understand it, and I stand to be corrected, when he becomes a bishop he is no longer part of the Congregation or Order. He's free to return to it when he retires if he desires.
WHOAH!!!!

Noooo. The bishop remains a member of his religious community as per canon law. If you have listened to the pope lately, on a number of occasions already, he has said, "I am a priest and a religious." He has also said, "The Jesuit Superior General owes obedience to the pope; but today, the pope also owes obedience to the Jesuit Superior General." The reason is that he has not ceased to be a religious.

Observe that many bishops wear the religious habit of their orders. Check out Cardinal O'Malley. You will rarely see Archbishop Chaput in anything other than a suit, not in cassock. He rather wear a suit or a habit.

A bishop who is a religious is bound by his vows and the rules of his religious community.

To answer the question about poverty. When a man becomes a bishop, the religious community no longer has to support him. His maintenance becomes the responsibility of the diocese that employs him. Since he lives outside of the community, he is allowed to keep any money or tangible property that he acquires while he is still working.

When he retires, he returns to his religious community. His assets are transferred to the religious community, unless the community has another policy, such as choose someone outside the community and give it away. He may also choose to live outside of his religious community, but he remains a member of the community.

However, if he chooses to live away from the community, he must support himself after his retirement. This is generally a hardship, because most religious haven't paid into Social Security since they entered. His only retirement income will be his pension from the diocese, which is not much. Unless he has been a university professor or high school teacher or in healthcare, even a chaplain, before he was bishop, there would be no social security paid on him, because there is no salary.

To sum up

1. A religious remains a member of his community when he's ordained a bishop.

2. A religious bishop is the financial responsibility of the diocese for which he works, not of his community.

3. A religious bishop may keep whatever money and other tangible property that he acquires while functioning as a bishop.

4. A religious bishop who retires and returns to live with his religious community, must relinquish whatever money and property he has.

5. A religious bishop who retires and decides to life outside of his community, remains a member of the community, but he must cover his own expenses. If he falls on very hard times, the community will rescue him.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 4:35 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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Originally Posted by Phemie View Post
As I understand it, and I stand to be corrected, when he becomes a bishop he is no longer part of the Congregation or Order. He's free to return to it when he retires if he desires.
I do not believe this is always correct. Our Bishop is a Jesuit and he still remains on various Jesuit boards and attends meetings, speaks at Jesuit schools,etc. He remains active in the order. He also reminds me of Pope Francis as one of the first things he did when he came here was move out of the large Bishop's house into smaller, more humble quarters. Then he sold the mansion because it was costing the diocese too much in upkeep and was too big, and it was wasteful.
He is very concerned for the poor, as Francis is. When Francis became Pope, I was interested to see that they both seemed to resemble each other in their Jesuit values and lifestyle. He drives a very modest car, drives himself around the diocese, likes to visit the parishes and mingle with people and is extremely friendly and approachable.
Sorry for going off-topic, but I just love our Bishop.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 5:16 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

To illustrate Brother's point, here is a picture of His Excellency Bishop Hartmayer of the Diocese of Savannah Georigia celebrating Mass this past December on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

He is Franciscan. Notice that he is wearing his habit underneat his vestments. You can see the cowl of his habit sticking out from the top of his chausible. Even vested for Mass he remains a Franciscan.



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Old Aug 30, '13, 5:24 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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I do not believe this is always correct. Our Bishop is a Jesuit and he still remains on various Jesuit boards and attends meetings, speaks at Jesuit schools,etc. He remains active in the order. He also reminds me of Pope Francis as one of the first things he did when he came here was move out of the large Bishop's house into smaller, more humble quarters. Then he sold the mansion because it was costing the diocese too much in upkeep and was too big, and it was wasteful.
He is very concerned for the poor, as Francis is. When Francis became Pope, I was interested to see that they both seemed to resemble each other in their Jesuit values and lifestyle. He drives a very modest car, drives himself around the diocese, likes to visit the parishes and mingle with people and is extremely friendly and approachable.
Sorry for going off-topic, but I just love our Bishop.
I never knew the difference in being a diocesan priest and a religious. WOW! I learn something new every day! I really love Pope Francis too--I just hope and pray that his love of simplicity and being with his flock doesn't end with some crazy, evil person shooting him. (I can understand his bodyguards having convulsions when he heads off into a crowd at a moment's notice.) I have one question and if someone could explain, I'd be thankful. Don't ALL priests belong to one religious order or another? I know there are a number of orders,such as Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits, but how would a man become a priest without choosing an order to join? Are there basically "non-denominational" priests--though I'm sure that isn't what they are called?
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Old Aug 30, '13, 5:31 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

There are secular, diocesan priests who mostly work in parishes. These are typically not consecrated religious who are members of orders such as the Franciscans and Dominicans. Secular priests are the priests you and I confess to on Saturday and who say Mass in parishes.

Some (consecrated) religious are priests but not all. In general, you become a member of an order to live the life that those in the order live, and become a member of a community because life in that community fits what God created you to be. You become a Franciscan or a Carmelite to be a Friar, to be a brother to the other members of your community, not to be a priest.

The exception is the Dominicans. I beleve all Dominican men are priests. That's just what their order is, an order of priests.

I'm sure Brother will explain and offer fraternal correction if he is up to it. But that is how I understand it. It is good to ask these things. Most people don't understand these differences. I didn't understand until I came to CAF and read Brother's posts.


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Old Aug 30, '13, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

Not all Dominicans are priests. That I know because a friend of mine is a Dominican Brother. He works at a university.
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Old Aug 30, '13, 6:24 pm
Phemie Phemie is offline
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Default Re: A question about the vow of poverty

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WHOAH!!!!

Noooo. The bishop remains a member of his religious community as per canon law. If you have listened to the pope lately, on a number of occasions already, he has said, "I am a priest and a religious." He has also said, "The Jesuit Superior General owes obedience to the pope; but today, the pope also owes obedience to the Jesuit Superior General." The reason is that he has not ceased to be a religious.
Thank you, I had misinterpreted the 'supported by the diocese' vs 'supported by the Congregation/Order' to mean something it didn't.
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