Can a priest join a lay group or stay in it?

I was wondering if a priest can join or stay in a lay group?

For example I am discerning the priesthood and or religious life. I currently belong to a lay confraternity called the Brotherhood of Saint Dismas. I also am planning on joining the third order of Saint Dominic.

However because I am discerning being a priest or atleast religious life, Norbertines, FSSP. Institution of Christ the king, or even the Dominican Order. If I do become a priest or even join religious life, may I remain in the lay confraternity, and the third Order of Saint Domonic?


A priest can join some lay groups and not others. For example, a priest may join the Knights of Columbus. You mentioned the Dominicans. A Dominican friar cannot join the Dominican Third Order because he is already a Dominican. One person cannot be a member of two branches of the same order. Nor may anyone belong to more than one religious order at the same time. If the person was already a member of the Dominican Third Order, to become a friar he would have to leave the Third Order. I’m not sure I understand why you are so bent on remaining in a lay group if you become a religious and/or a priest. A diocesan priest may join a third order.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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