Why are there different religious orders?


#1

Can you explain the purpose of having different “orders” within the Church (Franciscans, Dominicans, etc.)? Do all priests belong to a specific order of their choosing, or is there a generic order for general priesthood? Are the orders open to deacons as well as laypeople?


#2

[quote=Cream]Can you explain the purpose of having different “orders” within the Church (Franciscans, Dominicans, etc)?
[/quote]

Basically, because different orders have different purposes. For example, the Franciscans have a special love for and identification with the poor. Dominicans are especially interested in preaching (the official name of the order is the Order of Preachers). Other groups, such as the Benedictines, are monastic, rather than active in the world like the Franciscans and Dominicans.

[quote=Cream]Do all priests belong to a specific order of their choosing, or is there a generic order for general priesthood? Are the orders open to deacons as well as laypeople?
[/quote]

Not all priests are consecrated religious. Only those priests who belong to a particular order are consecrated religious, although a secular priest can join an order as a tertiary who lives in the world (e.g., John Paul II is a third-order Carmelite). Permanent deacons and laypeople can also belong to the tertiaries of a particular order of their choosing. If a transitional deacon (i.e., one who is in formation for the priesthood) is also a consecrated religious, he does belong to a religious order. Ordinarily speaking, permanent deacons live in the world.


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