[quote="JReducation, post:2, topic:337798"]
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.