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diocesan and religious priest
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What’s the difference between diocesan and religious priest?

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What’s the difference between diocesan and religious priest?

A religious order priest belongs to a community of men bound together by faith and the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty means that they do not own things individually but rather as a group; chastity means that they refrain from sexual activity and do not marry; obedience means that, after appropriate consultation, they do what their superiors ask them to do.

A diocesan priest is a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox priest who commits himself to a certain geographical area, and is ordained into the service of the citizens of a diocese, a church administrative region.

What is the difference between a diocesan priest and a religious order priest?

A religious order priest belongs to a community of men bound together by faith and the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Poverty means that they do not own things individually but rather as a group; chastity means that they refrain from sexual activity and do not marry; obedience means that, after appropriate consultation, they do what their superiors ask them to do. It is not necessary to be a priest to be a member of a religious order; those who are not priests are called brothers. The priests and brothers of a religious community may engage in any kind of work for the Church and the good of humanity; they often specialize in certain kinds of work such as education, work with the sick or poor, and service in the foreign missions.

A diocesan priest does not make the solemn vows that religious priests (and religious brothers and sisters) make but he does make promises that are discussed in subsequent questions. Perhaps the most striking difference between him and a religious order priest is that the diocesan priest lives a life more like that of his people: he buys his own clothes and car, he pays taxes, he may own personal property. That is why a diocesan priest is sometimes called a secular priest (from the Latin saeculum, a word that means roughly “this world of time and space in which we live”).

A diocesan priest belongs to the body of priests (called the presbyterate) of a local diocese, which is a particular territory within a state or country. The Archdiocese of Washington comprises the District of Columbia and five Maryland counties: Montgomery, Prince George’s, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s. A diocesan priest normally serves within the boundaries of his diocese under the authority of his bishop.

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