Are priests' vows for life?


#1

When priests take vows to be a priest, is that for life, like a marriage is supposed to be? Or is it OK for them to be a priest for a while, then be called to something else?


#2

[quote="AnneTeresa, post:1, topic:225119"]
When priests take vows to be a priest, is that for life, like a marriage is supposed to be? Or is it OK for them to be a priest for a while, then be called to something else?

[/quote]

It is a vow like marriage. A priest is a priest forever. [edit] Only Catholic hierarchy (bishop or pope) may laicize a priest (he can not do it himself), and even then they still remain a priest but loose their ability to perform most of the sacraments - only some, and then only very extreme circumstances.

~Liza


#3

Secular (diocesan) clergy do not make vows, they make promises. There is a subtle distinction but both have the same effect. When a religious priest makes vows, they are in progressively longer stages. The initial vows are typically made for the period of one year as the candidate progresses through the novitiate. Final vows are “perpetual” or life-long.


#4

If they are part of an "order" like a Dominican, are the vows/promises, (whatever is correct) supposed to be for life too? I ask because a priest told me a priest can leave after a while and get married and that it was like having put in their time for a while but now they were called to something new. Maybe because it's an Order, it's different?


#5

[quote="Elizium23, post:3, topic:225119"]
When a religious priest makes vows, they are in progressively longer stages. The initial vows are typically made for the period of one year as the candidate progresses through the novitiate. Final vows are "perpetual" or life-long.

[/quote]

Just to clarify: initial vows are usually made at the end of novitiate, after which the candidate remains in said vows (renewing them after three years for a further three years, or sometimes renewing them yearly) until they make solemn profession at the end of formation (which must be at least three years after the end of novitiate and is usually longer).

If a male religious is applying to be ordained, he will typically make his solemn vows before ordination: thus he makes a lifelong commitment to the religious institute before a final decision is taken as to his suitability to become a deacon or priest.


#6

In terms of church law, both secular clergy and religious (whether ordained or not) need a dispensation from higher authority to be released from the obligations of their state. However, in canonical terms solemn vows are seen as occupying a higher position than the promises of secular clergy - not because religious are holier than secular priests (!) but because religious make a specific commitment to a charism and community living that diocesan clergy do not. (There are some midway points such as priestly fraternities, however).

In neither case is there an *a priori *provision that permits serving for a while and then saying that your share of the work has been completed. :slight_smile: Promises or vows remain in force until they are dispensed by a bishop or religious superior and the Vatican. But the church has to be realistic too, and in most circumstances releasing the individual from their obligations is preferable to trying to force them to conform to a life that they can no longer embrace.


#7

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