Q. 1. I am told that there are two kinds of priests. What does that mean? Ain’t all priests the same?
A. 1. When a reference is made to two kinds of priests, it is a reference to Diocesan priests and non-Diocesan priests. They differ in the authority that they are called to obey and in the vows that they make. Allow me to explain.
The Diocesan priest is under the supervision of the Diocesan Bishop. To the Bishop, he makes the vows of obedience and chastity. He does not make the vow of poverty, this meaning that he can own property or be involved in operating a business, over and above the ministry capacity in which he is called to serve. Usually these priests will only minister in their Diocese during their lifetime.
The non-Diocesan priests belong to a Religious Order such as the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Dominicans, the Oblats, the Redemptorists, etc… They make the vows of obedience, chastity and poverty. They do not own anything. What they use, it belongs to the religious community. If they receive earnings for work performed, the cheque goes to the Religious Order that provides all of their daily needs. They answer to their superior who answers to the “Provincial” (the District authority).
These priests are appointed to a Church/Parish by their Provincial. The Provincial works closely with the Diocesan Bishops within his district. Any of these Bishops may ask him to manage a Church/parish or open up a mission within their territory. He may accept or deny the requests. If he accepts them, he then sends forth his priests by appointment for a number of years. After the completion of a set number of years, these priests are transferred elsewhere. These priests may minister in numerous Parishes, Dioceses, Provinces/States and countries during their lifetime.