What is the difference between first-order and third-order priests?

Question for Father Serpa:

What is the difference between, for example, a first-order Dominican who is a priest, and a priest who is a third-order Dominican? Are they both “Dominican priests” in the same sense? I am guessing that they are not. Could you clarify the difference? Thank you.

Dear P,

Priests who belong to the Dominican first order have commtted themselvs by the three public vows of relgious life to the master general who is the successor of St. Dominc. They are completely responsible to him and to their local superiors.

Priests who belong to the Domincan third order are diocesan priests who share in the spirituality and to an extent, the prayer life of the order. But they remain accountable to the bishop of the doicese to which they belong. They do not make the three public vows of religious life.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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