Vows of the Catholic clergy


#1

What are the three vows of the Catholic clergy, and what are the purposes behind each of these vows?


#2

Actually there are two sorts of situations - *promises *made by diocesan clerics, and *vows *taken by religious clerics.

Diocesan deacons and priests make two or three promises (not vows):
[list=1]
*]a promise to **obey **their bishop and his successors
*]a promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day
*]priests and unmarried deacons make a promise of celibacy, that is, they promise not to marry
[/list] Religious clerics make vows:
[list=1]
*]**Poverty **- usually this is interpreted as to have nothing individually, but rather that the resources of the person belong to the particular Order
*]**Chastity - **for the sake of the kingdom to refrain from marital relations
*]**Obedience **to their religious superiors
[/list] Some orders, especially monastic ones make a fourth vow:
[list]
*]**Stability **- they promise to remain at that particular monastery for the balance of their lives.
[/list] Vows are taken by all those in Consecrated Life, both women and men, regardless if they are clerics or not.

If a man belonged to a particular religious order and later on became a priest, he would not make the promises because he is already bound by his existing vows (no need to promise celibacy when you have vowed chastity, for example).

Many people incorrectly assume that parish priests have taken a vow of poverty, but that is not the case. (1) They don’t make vows, they make promises, and (2) they don’t make a promise of poverty.


#3

[quote=Diaconia]…(no need to promise celibacy when you have vowed chastity, for example).
[/quote]

**So in otherwords, a Franciscan priest can marry as long as he remains chaste? **


#4

There is also another vow. The vow of silence. The vow of silence is very rare and it is for some monks. They are not to talk unless in vocal prayer or chanting or singing liturgical and religious songs. I think they can also read scripture out loud, and be lector at mass.


#5

[quote=Roman_Army]**So in otherwords, a Franciscan priest can marry as long as he remains chaste? **
[/quote]

No. Within the context of Religious Vows, the Vow of Chastity includes an implied promise of celibacy.


#6

[quote=Roman_Army]**So in otherwords, a Franciscan priest can marry as long as he remains chaste? **
[/quote]

No because in the western Church a cleric (religious or secular) cannot validly enter into Marriage once ordained.


#7

[quote=Joseph Bilodeau]No. Within the context of Religious Vows, the Vow of Chastity includes an implied promise of celibacy.
[/quote]

So, that means Martin Luther and his ex-nun wife, violated their vows?


#8

[quote=Roman_Army]There is also another vow. The vow of silence. The vow of silence is very rare and it is for some monks. They are not to talk unless in prayer or chanting or singing liturgical and religious songs.
[/quote]

Can you show us where there is such a vow? I believe it to be a myth.

Even the Trappists, who used to communicate with an elaborately developed sign language, did not take a vow of silence. Nor do the Carthusians – the most silent of all Orders these days – take a vow of silence.

Benedictines vow “conversatio morum” – conversion of manners – Kind of hard to describe, but it means something like never letting up on converting every aspect of your life to becoming more like Christ . . .


#9

[quote=Roman_Army]So, that means Martin Luther and his ex-nun wife, violated their vows?
[/quote]

Yes, I would say that was the case. Of course it could be argued that in separating from the Church they no longer considered those Vows to be binding.


#10

[quote=mercygate]Can you show us where there is such a vow [of silence]? I believe it to be a myth…
[/quote]

I am not aware of any religious community whose members take a formal Vow of Silence, but the Rules for many Orders provide for periods of silence to be observed. It is possible that in some Orders these periods of silence may be of significant duration.


#11

[quote=mercygate]Can you show us where there is such a vow? I believe it to be a myth.

Even the Trappists, who used to communicate with an elaborately developed sign language, did not take a vow of silence. Nor do the Carthusians – the most silent of all Orders these days – take a vow of silence.

Benedictines vow “conversatio morum” – conversion of manners – Kind of hard to describe, but it means something like never letting up on converting every aspect of your life to becoming more like Christ . . .
[/quote]

I was a bit too strict on my last discription (I heard of that from a friend). The Benedictines have a vow of perpetual silence.

Here is the rule:

Let us do what the Prophet says:
“I said, 'I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue.
I have set a guard to my mouth.'
I was mute and was humbled,
and kept silence even from good things” (Ps. 38:2-3).
Here the Prophet shows
that if the spirit of silence ought to lead us at times
to refrain even from good speech,
so much the more ought the punishment for sin
make us avoid evil words.

Therefore, since the spirit of silence is so important,
permission to speak should rarely be granted
even to perfect disciples,
even though it be for good, holy edifying conversation;
for it is written,
“In much speaking you will not escape sin” (Prov. 10:19),
and in another place,
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21).

For speaking and teaching belong to the mistress;
the disciple’s part is to be silent and to listen.
And for that reason
if anything has to be asked of the Superior,
it should be asked
with all the humility and submission inspired by reverence.

But as for coarse jests and idle words
or words that move to laughter,
these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
and for such conversation
we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

-Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence.

Source: osb.org/rb/text/rbejms3.html#6


#12

[quote=Roman_Army]I was a bit too strict on my last discription (I heard of that from a friend). The Benedictines have a vow of perpetual silence.

Here is the rule:

Let us do what the Prophet says: . . . .

But as for coarse jests and idle words
or words that move to laughter,
these we condemn everywhere with a perpetual ban,
and for such conversation
we do not permit a disciple to open her mouth.

-Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 6: On the Spirit of Silence.

Source: osb.org/rb/text/rbejms3.html#6
[/quote]

I think you meant to say "The Benedictines do not have a vow of perpetual silence. Silence is prized. Silence is required. And though a monk may be required to ask permission to speak, silence is not vowed.


#13

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