Married Men and Catholic Orders


#1

I'm sorry if this is in the wrong place or if it's been asked a lot, I'm new here and didn't come up with much in the search. Is there a list of catholic orders that a married, Catholic man can join? I know Opus Dei is one, but I was hoping for an entire list of orders I could one day join. Thanks.


#2

There are many "Third Orders" such as the Third Order of the Franciscans that you are able to join.

To put it briefly; there are probably thousands of options available; if I might ask for more information;

Do you want to become involved in something more communal?
Do you feel called to become a Deacon?
Do you feel a particular attraction to any of the "Major" Orders?


#3

[quote="JohnDamian, post:2, topic:212457"]
There are many "Third Orders" such as the Third Order of the Franciscans that you are able to join.

To put it briefly; there are probably thousands of options available; if I might ask for more information;

Do you want to become involved in something more communal?
Do you feel called to become a Deacon?
Do you feel a particular attraction to any of the "Major" Orders?

[/quote]

I haven't actually joined the Catholic Church yet. I'm waiting to find out when the RCIA begins in my local parish. I'm actually not sure. I definitely would aim to be a deacon, as I'm not satisfied with just attending Mass. I want to be involved and serve where I can. I never really looked into the major orders because I assumed that only single or celibates could join. I guess I'm just not sure where to start because there are so many orders to choose from.


#4

[quote="dswearin, post:3, topic:212457"]
I haven't actually joined the Catholic Church yet. I'm waiting to find out when the RCIA begins in my local parish. I'm actually not sure. I definitely would aim to be a deacon, as I'm not satisfied with just attending Mass. I want to be involved and serve where I can. I never really looked into the major orders because I assumed that only single or celibates could join. I guess I'm just not sure where to start because there are so many orders to choose from.

[/quote]

One of the first things to understand is that "just attending Mass" is fully participating in it.

Technically there are no "Orders" that accept married individual. There are secular groups that are attached to Orders that accept married people. Oblates of St Benedict, Third Order Carmelites, Secular Discalced Carmelites, Secular Franciscians, just to name a few.


#5

I haven't actually joined the Catholic Church yet. I'm waiting to find out when the RCIA begins in my local parish. I'm actually not sure. I definitely would aim to be a deacon, as I'm not satisfied with just attending Mass. I want to be involved and serve where I can. I never really looked into the major orders because I assumed that only single or celibates could join. I guess I'm just not sure where to start because there are so many orders to choose from.

It is wonderful that you feel called to be a Deacon; just to point out; a Permenant Deacon is generally 25 if single; or 35 if married as a minimum age. It is also usual that they have been in the Church for at least a few years 2-3.

Furthermore; most major religious groups have similar requirements; generally speaking it would be unusual for a convert to jump straight into a Third order or other religious group. As Brother David has pointed out; they arn't technically "Orders".

I can give you a few ideas to think about;--

The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites takes married people; and is concentrates largely upon a devotion to Mary.

The Third Order of Saint Francis takes married people; and concentrates largely upon a mission to love and serve others.

The Secular Third Order of Saint Dominic takes married people; and concentrates largely upon a mission of Preaching.

Oblates of St. Benedict are single or married people who attach themselves to a Monestary to enrich their lives.

The Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei takes married people and emphasises the common Priesthood of man.

There are five quite distinct ones to think about; if you want more information about a specific one; feel free to ask.

Oh; and in the mean time; you might want to offer your services as a reader or offer to do the offertory; collection and so on and so forth; generally speaking it is preferable for an applicant to the Diaconate (deacon) to have previously been a Reader (sometimes referred to as a Lector; although in general instituted Lectors don't happen these days) ; and then an Acolyte - before the Diaconate. Speaking to your Priest; or a Vocations director will help clear this up and make known to you the intricate or specific details which may vary from Diocese to Diocese (area).

:thumbsup:


#6

Here in our parish, a 60 some year old priest was just ordained, he has 3 or 4 grown children. His wife passed a number of years ago from cancer.


#7

While it is not a religious order, the Knights of Columbus is an order you should definitely consider. It is open to all men who are practical Catholics observing the precepts of the Church. I am in the third degree, and being a member has dramatically enhanced my life. I have found fellowship with my brother Knights, I have found many excellent opportunities to serve my parish and community in our service projects, and as a newly appointed officer, I now serve my council in an official capacity. All of this in less than two and a half years of membership!

It is very easy to become a member. Don't be afraid to find your local council and approach any member. Get a Form 101, fill it out, and submit it to the council for approval. You won't be disappointed!


#8

[quote="ByzCath, post:4, topic:212457"]
Technically there are no "Orders" that accept married individual. There are secular groups that are attached to Orders that accept married people. Oblates of St Benedict, Third Order Carmelites, Secular Discalced Carmelites, Secular Franciscians, just to name a few.

[/quote]

I wanted to clarify something: The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is a true order within the Church that accepts married and single laypersons (and secular clergy). It is not simply "attached" to the Franciscan family. Unlike Secular Carmelites, Benedictines (Oblates) and Dominicans, Secular Franciscans are an order in their own right. They are on the same level as the first and second order.

The following characteristics set the SFO apart as a true order:

  • Membership in the order is a result of responding to a call or vocation, which is initiated by the Holy Spirit and shaped by the Gospel.

  • The SFO is an organic union made up of communities on various levels all over the world.

  • It has a rule of life approved by the Church (Holy See) and a public profession of that rule.

  • It's members pledge themselves to strive for perfect charity and to observe the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the spirituality of a particular spiritual family.

Our rule states it this way in article 2:

The Secular Franciscan Order holds a special place in this family circle. It is an organic union of all Catholic fraternities scattered throughout the world and open to every group of the faithful. In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state. By their profession they pledge themselves to live the gospel in the manner of St. Francis by means of this rule approved by the Church.

Just to be clear :) This is why being a member of the SFO bars one from joining any other Order. It is a unique vocation to grow in holiness within the Franciscan family and within the Church as a whole.

Peace and all Good,


#9

Hi,

I have a book recommendation for you:
Paths to Prayer: A Field Guide to Ten Catholic Traditions

You may read my full review on my blog:
stagesofprayer.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/paths-to-prayer-a-field-guide-to-ten-catholic-traditions/


#10

Any monastery with an Oblate program would be thrilled by your interest :slight_smile:


#11

Whoah! There is a major clarification that has to be made here. We, the Franciscan family, hold the Secular Franciscan Order in high esteem. It is not attached to any of the other Franciscan Orders in any way, canonical, financial or juridical. The Secular Franciscan Order, also known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, is an autonomous and canonical person of its own. It was founded by our Holy Father St. Francis to be a real order. It is often referred to as the Third Order, because it was the third order that St. Francis founded. It’s not a rank. It’s formation is the same as that of the friars, nuns, and sisters that make up the rest of the Franciscan family. It was the first order founded for secular men and women in 1221.

Unlike other secular orders and oblates, they are not part of or attached to the orders of men or the orders of women within the Franciscan family. The members of the order may be married or single. They can be lay or clerics. Many deacons, priests and bishops are members of the order. There have been many popes and great saints who were members of the order: St. Pius X, Bl. John XXIII, Matt Talbot, Leo XII, Pius XII, Thomas More, Joan of Arc, St. John Vianney, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Louis King of France and many others. The order has given over 100 saints and blessed to the Church, including five martyrs in the southeastern region of North America, what is now Northern FL and Southern GA.

The order is governed by a Superior General, called the Minister General, with a Vicar General, a council and Provincial Superiors known as Regional Ministers. Each fraternity has its own superior known as the Minister. The titles are exactly the same as those that govern us, the friars. Their authority is the same as those of us who are superiors among the friars. As a Franciscan superior, I have no more jurisdiction over the Secular Franciscans than I do over a Benedictine abbey. We are not allowed to opine in their affairs. We often serve as their spiritual directors or spiritual assistants, because we were commanded to do so by Pope John Paul II. But they have the right to reject our services and find their own spiritual assistants. Those of us who serve as their spiritual assistants are not allowed to vote, to voice our opinion in their affairs or to interfere in disciplinary matters.

The Secular Franciscans have a formation program just like that of the friars, postulancy, novitiate, temporary profession and final profession. In the USA the labels are a little different, but the effects are the same. In Franciscan theology, we teach that the profession of the Secular Franciscans is equivalent to that of the friars, nuns and sisters that comprise the entire Franciscan family. It is a public liturgical solemn promise to observe the Rule of St. Francis until death accepted by the Minister (Superior) and the Church. It is binding until death. No one may leave the order without permission, just like the rest of the Franciscan family. No one may be admitted to the order unless the Minister believes that the person has a vocation to live the Franciscan life and approves.


#12

The life of the Secular Franciscan is characterized very differently from the life of the friars and nuns. They follow the same charism and rule that the Franciscan Sisters follow. Their life is to do penance for those who do not do penance. They are called to live a life of prayer, service, community, and detachment from the world, while living in the midst of the secular sphere. They have a rule written by St. Francis, just for them. They have a constitution that has to be approved by the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. They are not a society or a pious union. Their canonical status is that of an order. They’re not even a congregation, but a full-blown order with all of the rights and obligations of an order.

Once they are erected in a diocese the bishop may not suppress them, ask them to leave, or command them to cease their activities. The local bishop has no jurisdiction over them, just as he has no jurisdiction over the friars. Therefore, admission into a diocese is carefully discerned by the bishop and the major superior of the SFO. Once the bishop approves, he cannot retract the approval no matter what his reasons. Only the Holy Father can suppress their existence in a diocese.

To make final profession in the Secular Franciscan Order, the brother or sister must undergo the same series of tests and scrutiniums a the friars. There are classes in the rule, the constitution, the history of the Franciscan family, Church history, doctrine, the spiritual and ascetical life, liturgy and many other areas of religious formation. The candidate must be Catholic, have no canonical impediments. Therefore, a person who is pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage, divorced and remarried, has been dismissed from another order or the clerical state is automatically disqualified from admission. If the person is married, he or she must have the approval of the spouse.

They retain their secular state. Their ministry is to sanctify the secular sphere through the corporal works of mercy, the life of prayer, fraternal life, detachment from material things, service to the local Church and service to each other. They may own property individually and collectively. Any property that they own collectively is their own, not the property of the friars, sisters and nuns, nor the property of the local diocese. Their superior general answers directly to the Holy Father in all matters governing them and regarding their property. Like the nuns, sisters and friars, they are bound to obey Francis in all things, as he spells it out for them in the rule.

There is a council of Franciscan Superiors General, where the five Ministers General work together to promote and protect Franciscan life. The Minister General of the Secular Franciscans sits on that council as an equal to the other Ministers General.

Unfortunately, the term “third order” was adopted by lay associations attached to other religious institutes. This has created some confusions, even in the mind of many Secular Franciscans, leading people to wrongly believe that they are a pious society attached to the Franciscan family. They are not, nor were ever such an association. In fact, in 1228, several of them wanted to live in community to do penance. They grew in numbers, with an increasing number of houses. That group was severed from the mother group and renamed, the Third Order Regular. They are the friars who run Franciscan University and St. Francis University. That’s how we get two branches of the Order of Penance, one for friars and the other for seculars. But the seculars ran schools, hospitals, hospices, shelters for the homeless and other institutions. Today, they work with other secular men and women at the local level, instead of running their own institutions. But there are still some institutions run by them, mostly retreat centers.

I hope this helps to clarify some misunderstandings. By the way, they are not the same as the OSF. The OSF are friars and sisters. The SFO are seculars: married and ordained.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#13

Yes, please forgive my mistake about the SFO.

I had forgotten.


#14

Br. JR, you crack me up! You're the best promoter of the SFO i've ever seen or heard :)

One little note--ime the permission of the spouse is not obtained in any formal way, but I would expect that if the spouse was opposed, that the minister and council would look at the issue pretty thoroughly to figure out just what was going on. Some of the people in my local and regional fraternity are SFO couples, but perhaps the majority are one spouse being SFO and the other is not.

Evelyn, SFO


#15

Thanks to all for the info. I will definitely look into this more when I become a full-fledged Catholic.


#16

I can’t help it. I love our Franciscan family. In fact my Doctoral Dissertation was: The Dialogue Between Carmel and Alvernia: Detachment the Common Ground of Two Great Families. I did spend years reading and studying Franciscan and Carmelite theology and life.

As to the other point, the spouse thing. I am not an SFO Minister. What I have seen, when one spouse opposes the decision of the other, is the Minister, Council and Formation Directors meet to determine if the opposition is canonically valid. Canon Law is very tricky. It says that no one can force another person to make profession or interfere to keep them from making profession. However, there are canonical impediments. One that I can think of is that you want to avoid a situation where the marriage is jeopardized.

I’m taking this to the extreme here, but let’s say that the spouse is a non-Catholic and says that he or she will leave if you do this, then you have a canonical impediment. The duty to the marriage comes first. On the other hand, if the spouse says that you cannot do this, because I don’t like it, that’s just nonsense.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#17

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