Consecrated and ordained at the same time?


There are three vocations (some say four if you include the single life): married life, consecrated life, and holy orders (deaconate and priesthood).

But I’m confused. Isn’t it possible to belong to both the consecrated life AND be an ordained person? For instance, if you are a Benedictine priest? But this is confusing to me. People are told to try to discern their vocation with God’s help, to determine which of the three they are to follow. So I guess some people are called to two at the same time?


You are correct. The states of life are not strictly mutually exclusive. Some members of institutes of consecrated life are ordained clergy. It is also possible to receive Holy Orders even though married.


You can be in more than one state in life. Consecrated, ordained, or married.

Eastern rite Catholics can be married priests.
You can be a religious order priest which would be consecrated and ordained at the same time.
You can also receive an annulment on a marriage or if you were widowed and become ordained or consecrated.


But the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

914 “The state of life which is constituted by the profession of the evangelical counsels, while not entering into the hierarchical structure of the Church, belongs undeniably to her life and holiness.”


Let me rephrase my question: Given that deacons, priests and deacons are part of the hierarchy, isn’t that therefore a contradiction? Or maybe even when a religious becomes a priest, he no longer is considered to be part of the consecrated life? Based on what the catechism says, that seems to be the case.


I think you are confusing vocations with states in life. There are three states: lay, ordained, and consecrated. There are at least two vocations in each state. Only some vocations in the different states are compatible with other vocations. Marriage is not compatible with any vocation in the consecrated state nor with being a consecrated member of a secular institute. It is possible to be ordained and married because ordination by its nature is not incompatible with marriage. Ordained men can be in many different forms of consecrated life but no man can be a consecrated virgin. Women can be in many forms of consecrated life but no woman can be an ordained person. The consecrated state in and of itself is not hierarchical, which means that the state is not like holy orders which IS by nature hierarchical.


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