Religious priest higher state than secular priests?


Is the religious state higher than secular state? Then, if so a religious priest is a higher state than secular priests?
Sources please



We are all priests by our Baptism but those called to Holy Orders and Ordained as Ministerial Priests are in a higher state because when they administer the Sacraments and say Mass they do in the person of Christ. This was given to them directly by Jesus Christ as He did so to His Apostles.

Notes I took from one of father Mike Schmitz’ talks:


Thanks I …


In terms of holy orders, no. A religious priest and a secular priest are ontologically identical in this sense.
In terms of Christian perfection? Consecrated life is a more perfect state than secular life.
In terms of individual holiness? That depends on the individual priest, whether religious or secular ;).


That is very very clear thanks


@johnjacob2004 , I was once with a friend at a day of prayer .

She asked a priest whether he was secular or religious .

He said that he was secular , but that the religious make the vows and the secular keep them .


Cute anecdote.
Just a small correction though, secular priests do not make “vows”, they make promises.


All true, but not really relevant.


I have no sources, but I have never heard that this would be the case. My strong feeling is the answer is no.


Is this correct? Secular priests do not take a vow of obedience or a vow of poverty, but they certainly take a vow of celibacy (in the Latin Church).


Diocesan clergy (priest AND deacons) make promises: promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, promise to obey the bishop and his successors, and a promise of celibacy (unless the deacon is married).

Diocesan clerics do not make a promise of poverty, and many secular priests own property and so forth. Order priests do not usually own anything in their own right, it all becomes property of the Order they belong to.

Religious priests make vows: the vows differ slightly among the Order (monks make vows of stability, for example). Most religious make vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to their religious superiors.

Vows and promises are similar, but vows are more pronounced.

Celibacy is a promise not to marry, chastity is a vow of perfect continence.

By the way, when a religious priest is named a bishop, the Pope dissolves his vows, because they will now be replaced by promises. A bishop can’t continue to obey his (Jesuit, Franciscan, Benedictine) superior - he now obeys the Pope directly.

In the detailed analysis vows are more robust than promises.


So pronounced means that they are in a higher state??


Yes, I think I am wrong, they make a promise of celibacy, not a vow. Sorry


I didn’t realize that diocesan priests make vows


I was mistaken. While the promises hold almost identical weight canonically, they are termed as promises to differentiate between the diocesan and religious states of life. To break both are to incur mortal sin, but the mortal sin in the diocesan clergy’s case comes from the ontological change institued through the priesthood, not by virtue of the promise itself. I guess you can say that the religious Vow is the cause of the change in the religious and in the diocesan priest, the promise is the sign of their change. The priesthood itself is the actual change.

Sorry, I was confused and withdrew my post.


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