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28 Jul 2016 News No comments

Pope makes surprise visit to ill cardinal on way to shrine

Francis visited and prayed for 89-year-old Cardinal Macharski Pope Francis made an unscheduled stop at a clinic this morning to visit and pray for comatose Car…

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04 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (9)

What is required for a valid marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic?

Full Question What is required for a valid marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic? Answer According to the Catechism of the Catholic Chur…

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24 Aug 2016 Europe Middle East News United Kingdom USA Vatican Comments (2)

Christian persecution is real - emotional exhibit opens in Rome

Christian persecution happens far away from us. We may complain about the atheists or the satanists and their displays, or a lack of public prayer, but this isn…

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20 Sep 2016 Americas Europe News USA Vatican Comments (4)

'Now he rests from his many battles with the devil:' Vatican exorcist passes away

Father Gabriel Amorth, the exorcist of the Diocese of Rome who drew worldwide attention, died on Friday at the age of 91. Leaders of the Society of St. Paul …

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25 Aug 2016 Uncategorized Comments (1)

What resource should we use to direct confirmation candidates who are cohabitating?

Full Question My wife and I are confirmation sponsors for a couple who are cohabitating. What is the best resource to steer them in the right direction? …

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05 Sep 2014 USA No comments

Boston Globe's new site hopes to show that 'Catholic Church matters'

Boston, Mass., Sep 5, 2014 / 04:17 pm .- A new website launched by the Boston Globe seeks to have a wide appeal in covering “all things Catholic,” focusing on r…

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13 Oct 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

Papal message to conference on climate change

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, has sent a message in Pope Francis’s name to a Bolivian conference on climate change and the defense …

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21 Feb 2015 Articles Comments (1)

The Care and Feeding of Poor Souls

A man died on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, this past Sunday. He was a priest, theologian, and author, well-known in Catholic circles for writi…

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29 Oct 2015 Middle East News No comments

Pope Francis prays for earthquake victims

More than 260 people have died, mostly in Pakistan, after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan. Pope Francis was greatly distressed to learn…

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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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