How traditional are Franciscan friars/priests?

Suggest you do more discernment about your vocation with the vocations director of the diocese.

The first choice is whether you are called to be a priest, brother, Deacon, or lay vocation perhaps as a Franciscan.

Then, if a priest, a decision between Diocesan or an Order. Remember many diocesan priests and deacons incorporate Franciscan spirituality in their ministry.

Only then, if you feel called to religious life, consider which kind of religious congregations offer the spirituality/ministry/community life you desire.

At this point you can consider identifying a conservative order. Don’t consider a liberal order if you are conservative.

Of course there are men who have been in the Jesuits for decades, who are now well established and fairly independent. But the ones I know, or know about, are not part of the governance of the Order or any province. A new recruit won’t have anything like the autonomy they have, you will be dealing with the provincials and superiors, likely liberal.

But that doesn’t mean one has to be liberal. As other posters said, religious have certain liberties in their approach to Ministry.

Could you end up with an authoritarian liberal Superior? Sure, but that isn’t the norm and that could happen in any Order.

I was merely going off his last sentence…

So I’m just curious as to how conservative the Franciscans are, if they are liberal everywhere in the world (as in not just in the U.S), and what things to look for to find more traditional groups.

1 Like

You’re not wrong, if a priestly vocation has been discerned. However, with religious life one can discern the Order first, then discern whether you are called to priesthood or lay brother. It can work either way with most mendicant orders. With the more monastic orders, a vocation to religious life would generally come first. It’s not unusual for friars in formation to chance from one track to the other.

But you bring up another good point. Diocesan priests can have a Franciscan spirituality. Diocesan priests can even be Secular Franciscans and receive some formal Franciscan formation.

I have changed the title of your thread to reflect the fact that Franciscans are friars, not monks. If you are thinking of becoming one, it would be a good idea to read up about the differences. You mention the possibility of being a monk and living in a monastery. It is important that you understand that if you do become a Franciscan, you won’t be a monk and won’t live in a monastery.

You make it sound like social justice is a bad thing.

Nothing wrong with social justice, as long as it’s not to the exclusion of the other aspects of the Church. (One can argue that some Jesuits are guilty of this).

I’ve met several orthodox Jesuits, and that’s something, considering I haven’t met that many Jesuits to begin with. There’s one man I know who is solid and orthodox who is discerning the Jesuits. I’m sure there’s many good, orthodox Jesuits quietly doing ministry.

There’s also a number of Jesuits who, shall we say, push boundaries. In almost any context, boundary pushers tend to be the loudest.

1 Like

Franciscans aren’t monks - they’re mendicant friars (or wandering preachers). This is an important distinction since a calling to Franciscan life and a calling to a monastic life are mutually exclusive - the key difference being that monks take a vow of stability, meaning that they normally remain in the same community effectively for life. Franciscans (and the other mendicant orders) on the other hand, can and do shift between communities (usually within the same province but not always). No two communities are identical and there will be some whose members or more or less liberal or conservative (depending on how you define those labels) than others. That is why labels tend to be unhelpful in discernment.

While all Franciscan orders follow the Rule of St Francis (more or less) each order put their own “spin” on it and, as the old joke goes, only God knows how many orders of Franciscans there are.

So you need to consider exactly what form of life (monastic or otherwise) you feel called to and then start investigating orders which follow that form of life. If you feel called to Franciscan spirituality, then you should make contact with the different Franciscan orders in your region and learn what makes each one distinct in order to determine if you might be called to join them.


While it is true that Franciscans are Friars rather than Monks, there are some groups who adopt a Franciscan Spirituality while also living a life that looks a lot like monasticism. The Marian Friars Minor (Horarium )are an example of this. They have active apostolates but describe themselves as contemplatives. They also appear to be stable. The MFVA are also stable though they have very active apostolates.

So, unless the OP is looking to join the larger orders of Franciscans, he can likely find a community that is stable, contemplative, and also Franciscan.

1 Like

Do keep in mind, too, that “monastic” and “contemplative” are not synonymous.


I’m familiar with and have great respect for both the Franciscans of the Immaculate (F.I.) and the Conventual Friars (OFM Conv) in our archdiocese.

The OFM Conv are probably not what you’re looking for; they have wonderfully simple liturgies and focus more on service ministries.

The F.I. are probably more aligned to your thinking. They have more traditionally oriented liturgies and their ministries are more in alignment with apologetics and moral/ethical evangelization (for lack of a better description). I’ve even known them to do the entire OF Mass in Latin, ad orientem as a general practice. The FI’s worldwide have been restricted from celebrating the EF by the Pope.

Keep in mind that while both are Franciscans, and just a small sampling of the Franciscan varieties out there, there are substantial differences between the communities even beyond what I’ve highlighted, even down to the vows they take (and it may surprise you).

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit