Radicalization of third orders?


After pursuing becoming a “third order” religious for a few meetings, my discomfort with the chapter’s worldview finally reached a tipping point. Without saying which order (though it was one of the usual suspects), the chapter I was meeting at turns out to have chosen a book for study featuring and edited by a noted pro-homosexual priest with a radical liberal agenda. In addition, the priest who would be leading next month’s retreat is for, in his own words, the evolution of conscience and is also pro-homosexual acts and relationships and much worse. I was shell-shocked. One person at the meeting even said it is fine to skip Mass if you’re mad at God. The priest who was there sat silently by, even when I objected that this is a grave sin.

I know now that I was naive. But shouldn’t Catholic orders be Catholic in their teachings and readings? If not, why isn’t there a mechanism to put a stop to this? For instance, each member could be asked to attest to their complete support of the Magesterium or doctrinal teachings without reserve. Instead, you get bizarre ideas wearing the broad label “Social Justice”. It’s really depressing. I love this order, but this chapter makes it impossible to pursue joining it.

Has anyone else experienced something like this?


Many religious orders have largely committed suicide in recent decades with their unorthodoxy.


Did you miss a memo? Perhaps these meetings were for the sake of getting the other side’s view so they may more effectively minister.

I’m not saying this to support what they are doing, but since you’d just arrived, perhaps there had been some kind of prologue that you’d missed.

If not, then please do air your concerns to the moderator and chaplain. If you’re not pleased with their responses, then take it to the chaplain designated for the third order. There should be a third order member overseeing chapters for the particular region, as well.

It’s one thing to read about the opposing side’s activities. It’s quite another to bring it under one’s roof like that.


A “Third Order Religious” is a Religious (like Third Order Regular Franciscans) not seculars. I think you mean a Third Order Secular – or a Tertiary etc.


A “chapter” of a Third Order promoting such - (not just for discussion say to understand it and give the Orthodox Teaching about such…where they actually promoting it? - I am not asking you say -but think about it (not that I recommend reading anything from such authors unless there is a real need to combat the error etc) -if they are - is not living in this aspect according to their vocation. So if that is how they are really proceeding in life - seek out a different “chapter” if you believe your called to this vocation. A local Chapter should not of course do that sort of thing - but such does not represent the Order nor other Third Order communities. (And if a local community does go astray - the Order can do a “visitation” to correct matters.)


PS you may be interested in knowing the list:

**The Historical Third Orders Secular **(and all are still in existence):

Secular Franciscan Order (Third Order of St. Francis)

Lay Dominicans (Dominican Third Order)

Third Order Secular of the Carmelite Order

Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (Discalced Carmelite Third Order)

Third Order Secular of Most Holy Trinity (Tertiaries of the Order of the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives)

Mercedarian Third Order (Tertiaries of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy)

Servite Secular Order (Third Order of the Order of the Servants of Mary)

Secular Augustinians (Third Order of the Augustinian Order)

Secular Augustinian Recollects (Third Order of the Augustinian Recollect)

Minims Third Order

Premonstratensian Third Order


**Has anyone else experienced something like this? **

Yes. I have seen and heard a lot of nonsense in what Mother Angelica called “The Electric Church” (because every time you go, you get a shock). There are some folks out there who are more lost than the kids in The Blair Witch Project. Pray for them, but do not follow them.


Find another chapter
You have that right.


And report it to the province.




Its still religious life, the third order regulars are “tertiaries” as well.


I’ve discerned with a couple of the “secular” orders and I find that they are good and they provide good community. I have ran into some problematic chapters myself and because of that have been turned off from continuing my discernment. I am very conservative, too conservative for the Catholic South, but nonetheless I have found that they are good communities. I’ve seen Both Lay Dominicans and Secular Franciscans here and my only complaint is the chapters I visited had no Apostolate, or outreach program.


Sounds like my experiences with religious orders. Sad.


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