Question about Obedience to the Bishop

When a man is ordained a priest, I know he makes a vow of obedience and celibacy. I’ve also heard obedience is harder than celibacy. Why?

Also, due to this vow, can a priest move? Let’s say his parents and relatives move to another state, and he would like to move to be closer to his family, would this be possible? Lets say he wants a change of scenery and wants to move to another diocese, would he be allowed to under this vow? Thanks in advance for answering.

A dioceasan priest makes promises of celibacy and obedience to his bishop.

A religious priest makes vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to his superior.

There is a big difference.:thumbsup:

If you go to the Code of Canon Law it will give you an idea of how the heirarchy is set up and may give you answers in a legal way. It’s been a while since I’ve read these particular parts, but the whole Code is actually quite facinating. :slight_smile:

Regarding your question about moving for family.
It was explained to me, by a priest friend, that while familial bonds are important, when you give your life to the Church, She becomes your family and you go where She needs you.

He went on to say that “obedience” is the hardest vow/promise to keep, because it takes “control” away. So long as you are not being asked to sin, you must do what someone else wants you to do, regardless of how you feel about it. It’s about submitting one’s will, and that goes against human nature.

That being said, no Bishop wants a diocese full of miserable priests, so I believe that, in most cases, things like moves, etc. can be worked out in some mutually agreeable fashion.

EDITED TO ADD: Lamentation, great info! I forget sometimes that many people fail to make that very important distinction!

Great information, oneofthewomen. I really appreciate the help.

And thank you Lamentation for making the distinction between the two, that is a big difference!

Which is?

Not trying to be obtuse here, but while I understand the difference between the vows of members of religious orders and the promises of diocesan clergy/members of religious societies must be more than just semantics, I’m not sure from a practical standpoint what that difference is. Is it a difference in the level of red tape needed to be dispensed from them? A difference in the implications of/punishments for breaking them?

Celibacy means no marriage while chastity means no sex. They end up having the same results, that is, no marriage and no sex, but the meaning is different. I understand it that celibacy simply means denying oneself of exclusive relationships for the good of the parish, while chastity means totally consecrating oneself to God. A difference in meaning, but it plays out in the same outward manner.

For a diocesan priest, obedience only extends as far as the religious side of things. That is, a bishop cannot dictate things in a diocesan priest’s life, such as what TV he watches, what books he reads, what he spends his money on, etc. For a religious priest, obedience is absolute, short of a command to sin, and it extends to the littlest details. For example, a superior could dictate what color toothbrush his priests use, and they would be bound to obey. Not so for diocesan priests.

YoungTradCath explained the chasity/celibacy distinction quite well, but I think your question has more to do with “What’s the difference between a promise and a vow?”.:thumbsup:

A promise is way easier to break out of. Essentially, the only blocking issue would be for the church to laticize one (i.e. bring you back to the state of the laity, not clergy).

A vow is a commitment wherein one can only break it through the pope’s intervention.:highprayer: There are generally three types: simple (yearly) vows (generally taken in the novitate years), simple (permanent) vows (generally taken by congregations, apostolic communities, etc), and solemn (permanent) vows (taken by religious orders (dominicans,franciscans,etc).

While Canon Law makes the distinctions between simple and solemn, the short end of the vows vs promise debate would be that, were a priest to attempt to marry, the secular priest would have an illicit but valid marriage (and could, following the proper channels, remove himself to the laity and be able to legally (and validly) marry), while the religious priest can never marry validly.

…It can be a little confusing, and this is a rather simplistic overview. If you have more questions about it, asking one of the Brothers on the forums would probably give you a fuller answer.

I thought this as well but it is not so. From the Code of Canon Law;
Can. 1087 Those who are in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.

some religious order priests also make a vow of stability, to stay in one convent or monastery. The diocesan priest makes a vow of obedience to his bishop and is granted faculties to exercise his ministry in that diocese. He can move only with permission of his own bishop, and that of whatever region to which he is moving. He will need a better reason than greener pastures.

All right except for the bolded part. Secular priests make promises not vows.

When you become a priest, you are incardinated into a particular local church – if you are a secular priest, you are incardinated into the Diocese of Whatever; while, if you are a religious priest, you are incardinated into the Order of Whatever. Your bishop or superior then assigns you to your post (perhaps you will be a priest at St. Mary’s Parish in the diocese; perhaps you will be chaplain at a monastery of the order).

If a priest wants to move, he needs to be transferred by his bishop or superior.

If you want to leave your diocese or order, you have to be excardinated from it – which can’t happen unless you are also incardinated into another. So you can stop being a priest of the Diocese of Whatever only by being incardinated as a priest of the Diocese of Whichever or the Order of Whosiwhatsis.

A priest of the Diocese of Oregon can become a Jesuit or Dominican or what have you; or he can become a priest of the Diocese of Hawaii. But that requires the permission of his current Ordinary and the permission of his new Ordinary.

It isn’t exactly a common thing.

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