do priests take a vow of poverty?


#1

Hey all,

I’ve always grown up believing that Catholic priests take a vow of poverty. But I was thinking about this the other day and realized that I dont know where I heard this. So did I make this up in my head, lol? Or do priests really take a vow of poverty? And if so, what exactly does that vow entail?

Thanks for your help, I look forward to your answers. God bless!

**oh, and in an effort to clear up any confusion my member name causes, UK is university of kentucky, not united kingdom!


#2

And all this time I thought you were in Great Brittain!!

Anyway, regarding your question, diocesan priests are not required to take a formal vow of poverty. However, priests who belong to mendicant orders are required to do so, as are the rest of their orders.


#3

[quote=Dr. Colossus]And all this time I thought you were in Great Brittain!!

Anyway, regarding your question, diocesan priests are not required to take a formal vow of poverty. However, priests who belong to mendicant orders are required to do so, as are the rest of their orders.
[/quote]

I agree. allthough I am not aware of any specific priests at the current moment, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that there have been a few priests in my diocese over the years that were quite well off (we’re talking millions of dollars)


#4

[quote=Dr. Colossus]And all this time I thought you were in Great Brittain!!

Anyway, regarding your question, diocesan priests are not required to take a formal vow of poverty. However, priests who belong to mendicant orders are required to do so, as are the rest of their orders.
[/quote]

Diocesan priests take no vows at all, they make promises.

As for the religious orders.

Some do take a vow of poverty.

There are different vows according to the orders.

Benedictines take vows of obedience, stability, and coversatio morum suorum (or conversion of one’s behavior).

Those vows do cover chastity and poverty.

You would need to look into each order and see what vows they are actually taking but it all ends up the same in the end.


#5

Of the three groups of Franciscan Friars:

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin: Adhere most to the vow of poverty

Order of Friars Minor: Have a vow of poverty.

Order of Friars Minor Conventual: Have the least vow of poverty.


#6

Of all the Priest and brothers that I know including OFM, Ofm Cap and OFM Conv, OP’s etc, they all take the three evangilecal counsels of Poverty, chastity and obedience. Some take a fourth vow such as the Jesuits (to defend the popes teachings!!) and the Missionaries of Charity (to always serve the poorest of the poor)
Part of the approval from Rome for a new confraternity (there has been no new “orders” since the St John of God brothers) is to hold to the three vows.
God bless


#7

Some diocesan priests may make “private vows” as any person can, I believe. All those who are members of religious orders make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. If someone doesn’t make any one of those vows, he would not be a member of a religious order properly speaking but may be a member of a Society of Apostolic Life or something along those lines.

I don’t know too much about the Benedictines but I believe the third vow you mentioned actually encompasses the vows of chastity and poverty, so they would not really be an exception to all members of religious orders taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience:

The third vow, conversatio morum suorum, can literally be translated as “conversion of one’s behavior”. For Benedictines this encompasses the other traditional vows which all religious profess – chastity and poverty.

theramp.net/stbede/vows.htm

Some religious in addition to the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience make other vows such as special obedience to the pope, total consecration to the Immaculate, etc.


#8

[quote=Kevin Walker]Of the three groups of Franciscan Friars:

Order of Friars Minor Capuchin: Adhere most to the vow of poverty

Order of Friars Minor: Have a vow of poverty.

Order of Friars Minor Conventual: Have the least vow of poverty.
[/quote]

I do not know where you get this but a vow of poverty doesn’t always mean what you think it does.

It is not up to us to judge the religious orders and how they live up to the vows they make.


#9

We had a Priest at my old parish who was a Dominican. (GREAT preachers!) I remember him walking up and down the aisles one Sunday during his Homily and seeing his shoe leather flapping as he walked. That made me so sad and I wanted to run out and buy him shoes. I was told (I was in R.C.I.A. at the time) that that was not something I was to do.


#10

[quote=ByzCath]I do not know where you get this but a vow of poverty doesn’t always mean what you think it does.

It is not up to us to judge the religious orders and how they live up to the vows they make.
[/quote]

I came across this in my research on the Franciscan Order. It seems there was a divided even during St. Francis lifetime on the literal interpretation of poverty by the Pope, some thought Francis was taking it to the extreme. So the vow of poverty came to be interpreted as relative by some members of the OFM. The OFM Conventuals are allowed to own property, have bank accounts, invest, etc. The OFM Capuchins on the other hand tend to be the most severe of the OFM’s and live closest to Francis’s practice of poverty. The OFM itself does take a vow of poverty, but it is inbetween the other two practices, the OFM are described as being Nostaglic.


#11

jesuits (as our friend creosmary has stated) do take vows of poverty, celibacy, and obedience upon entering the order, and later take a special vow to the pope.

the vow of poverty doesn’t mean that jesuits wear rags and eat rotten bread (like st francis did - and rightly so!) it means they don’t own much of anything - they hold all possessions in common with their community. and what they DO have (watches and clothes, etc) must be consistent with a vow of poverty - no rolexes or armani. more than anything, it means developing a philosophy of detachment from THINGS - seeking first His kingdom, and not being distracted by stuff.

my brother is a jesuit (and i’m entering in august) and has taken this vow. he has told me that a rule of thumb they go by is that a jesuit should not have more than he can carry on his person. so they don’t have libraries, but perhaps a book or two. they don’t own cars - but they do have ready access to transportation whenever needed. that sort of thing.

does that make sense?


#12

diocesan priests do not make a vow of poverty but a promise and is generally interpreted to mean they earn a salary plus some expenses such as mileage are reimbursed, health insurance and pension etc. and pay for their own living expenses. Those from families with money or with their own personal inherited wealth are not prohibited from using it. Since a priest can no longer count on the Church providing for him when he retires or becomes disabled, he must like all working people plan ahead for those needs.

Within religious orders that do take a vow of poverty, there are degrees and interpretations of what that means within the order, as described in the above posts. For instance, within one order some may take a more extreme vow not to handle money at all and to own nothing, not even clothing and personal items, which are given to them by their superior for their use. Others live with the poor and share their living conditions, even begging for food. It depends on the order, their charism or reason for existing and their vision of what their service in the world consists of.


#13

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