02 Oct 2015 Europe News No comments

Irish playwright Brian Friel, former seminarian, dies aged 86

One of Ireland's greatest playwrights, Friel was educated at Maynooth The Irish playwright Brian Friel, a former seminarian, died this morning aged 86. Br…

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29 Mar 2015 Q&A Comments (1)

Am I right to tell my CCD students they should not take the pill for medical purposes?

Full Question Every year my high-school-aged CCD students ask me if it is okay to take the pill for medical reasons. My response to them …

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06 Jun 2015 Vatican No comments

Monks record sacred music that is 'part of air we breathe,' says one

Once again the hills are filled with the sound of music, only this time the music soars from Benedictine monks rather than the Von Trapp Family. In Norcia, I…

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03 Nov 2014 Q&A No comments

What is the difference between an archbishop and a cardinal?

Full Question What is the difference between an archbishop and a cardinal? Answer An archbishop is usually the bishop of a major metropolitan…

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10 Dec 2016 News Comments (1)

Did FAITH save soccer player from the tragic Colombian crash?

An airliner carrying 81 people crashed into a mountain near Medellin, Colombia. All but three were killed, leaving hundreds in mourning. Through the devastat…

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08 May 2016 Vatican No comments

The tears of the world cry out for mercy, says Pope Francis

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03 Nov 2016 Articles No comments

A powerful king, a fleet of royal ships, and - pottery? Take a look into one of the most powerful…

Archaeologists are hard at work to uncover the secrets of ancient tombs across Egypt - but what they just discovered may have great implications. A 3,800-yea…

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17 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

How a Protestant Became a Canon Lawyer

Facebook is a fascinating vehicle. I've come across so many people people who knew me in my past, before Easter 1995—when I came into full communion with the Ca…

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29 Sep 2015 Europe News No comments

Catalan bishops: Church can't make specific proposals on independence from Spain

The Catalan regional bishops conference last Tuesday issued a statement ahead of Sunday's regional election – widely seen as an informal referendum on independe…

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Why are there so many religious orders? Can anybody join?

Full Question

Can you explain the purpose of having different religious orders within the Church (e.g., Franciscans, Dominicans)? Do all priests belong to a specific order of their choosing? Are the orders open to deacons and laypeople?


Basically, there are different religious orders in the Church because each order has its own purpose. For example, the Franciscans have a special love for and identification with the poor. Dominicans are especially interested in preaching, as is indicated by the fact that 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.

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., Pope John Paul II was 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 is also a consecrated religious, he belongs to that religious order.


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