Orders of Priests


#1

Can you tell me why there are so many different orders of Priests and religious in the Catholic Church?


#2

The short answer is that they all do different things (what we’d call their charism). Some are missionaries, some are teachers, some work in health care, some minister to the poor, and some work by praying. The Franciscans don’t do the same things as the Jesuits or the Dominicans or the Benedictines.

People discern to a certain Order or Congregation because their talents line up with those that are needed. A person who enjoys helping the poor on the streets may not enjoy the more academic life of the Jesuits. God calls people to a life that will make them happy while being able to serve the greater Church mission.


#3

There are a lot. Just a quick google search and wikipedia came up and gave me 323, but I have a strong feeling that there are many more then that.


#4

[quote="nate12387, post:3, topic:194040"]
There are a lot. Just a quick google search and wikipedia came up and gave me 323, but I have a strong feeling that there are many more then that.

[/quote]

Catholic-hierarchy.org has a good (I would assume probably incomplete) list of many of them.


#5

[quote="curlycool89, post:2, topic:194040"]
The short answer is that they all do different things (what we'd call their charism). Some are missionaries, some are teachers, some work in health care, some minister to the poor, and some work by praying. The Franciscans don't do the same things as the Jesuits or the Dominicans or the Benedictines.

People discern to a certain Order or Congregation because their talents line up with those that are needed. A person who enjoys helping the poor on the streets may not enjoy the more academic life of the Jesuits. God calls people to a life that will make them happy while being able to serve the greater Church mission.

[/quote]

To my mind often the essential difference is not so much charism as spirituality. In other words different orders have different spiritual bases, different approaches to their relationship with God and consequently different approaches to their tasks or charisms.

An example - Mother Teresa's order, the Missionaries of Charity, do a lot of nursing work. However, being heavily influenced by Franciscan spirituality (which emphasises in a special way the virtue of poverty), their work is mainly among the poorest of the poor and the most disadvantaged sectors in whatever country they work in.

Other orders of nuns or monks might also do nursing work, but they might instead do it in a more conventional context within the American/Canadian/Australian Catholic hospital systems, which systems are not particularly targeted towards the poor or disadvantaged.


#6

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