The Info List - Catholic Religious Order

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Catholic religious order
Catholic religious order
is a religious order of the Catholic Church. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, they form part of a category of Catholic religious institutes. Subcategories are canons regular (canons and canonesses regular who recite the divine office and serve a church and perhaps a parish); monastics (monks or nuns living and working in a monastery and reciting the divine office); mendicants (friars or religious sisters who live from alms, recite the divine office, and, in the case of the men, participate in apostolic activities); and clerks regular (priests who take religious vows and have a very active apostolic life). Original Catholic religious orders of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
include the Order of Saint Benedict, the Carmelites, the Order of Friars Minor, the Dominican Order, and the Order of Saint Augustine. As such, also the Teutonic Order
Teutonic Order
may qualify, today mainly monastic. In the past, what distinguished religious orders from other institutes was the classification of the vows that the members took in religious profession as solemn vows. According to this criterion, the last religious order founded was that of the Bethlehem Brothers
Bethlehem Brothers
in 1673.[1] Nevertheless, in the course of the 20th century some religious institutes outside the category of orders obtained permission to make solemn vows, at least of poverty, thus blurring the distinction.


1 Essential distinguishing mark 2 Weakening in 1917 3 Further changes in 1983 4 Authority structure 5 List of institutes of consecrated life in the Annuario Pontificio 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Essential distinguishing mark[edit] Solemn vows were originally considered indissoluble. As noted below, dispensations began to be granted in later times, but originally not even the Pope could dispense from them.[2] If for a just cause a religious order was expelled, the vow of chastity remained unchanged and so rendered invalid any attempt at marriage, the vow of obedience obliged in relation, generally, to the bishop rather than to the religious superior, and the vow of poverty was modified to meet the new situation but the expelled religious "could not, for example, will any goods to another; and goods which came to him reverted at his death to his institute or to the Holy See".[3] Weakening in 1917[edit] The 1917 Code of Canon Law
Code of Canon Law
reserved the name "religious order" for institutes in which the vows were solemn, and used the term "religious congregation" or simply "congregation" for institutes with simple vows. The members of a religious order for men were called "regulars", those belonging to a religious congregation were simply "religious", a term that applied also to regulars. For women, those with simple vows were called "sisters", with the term "nun" reserved in canon law for those who belonged to an institute of solemn vows, even if in some localities they were allowed to take simple vows instead.[4]

The Hieronymite monks.

However, it abolished the distinction according to which solemn vows, unlike simple vows, were indissoluble. It recognized no totally indispensable religious vows and thereby abrogated for the Latin Church the special consecration that distinguished "orders" from "congregations", while keeping some juridical distinctions.[3] In practice, even before 1917 dispensations from solemn religious vows were being obtained by grant of the Pope himself, while departments of the Holy See
Holy See
and superiors specially delegated by it could dispense from simple religious vows.[5] The 1917 Code maintained a juridical distinction by declaring invalid any marriage attempted by solemnly professed religious or by those with simple vows to which the Holy See
Holy See
had attached the effect of invalidating marriage,[6] while stating that no simple vow rendered a marriage invalid, except in the cases in which the Holy See
Holy See
directed otherwise.[7] Thus members of "orders" were barred absolutely from marriage, and any marriage they attempted was invalid. Those who made simple vows were obliged not to marry, but if they did break their vow, the marriage was considered valid. Another difference was that a professed religious of solemn vows lost the right to own property and the capacity to acquire temporal goods for himself or herself, but a professed religious of simple vows, while being prohibited by the vow of poverty from using and administering property, kept ownership and the right to acquire more, unless the constitutions of the religious institute explicitly stated the contrary.[8] After publication of the 1917 Code, many institutes with simple vows appealed to the Holy See
Holy See
for permission to make solemn vows. The Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi of 21 November 1950 made access to that permission easier for nuns (in the strict sense), though not for religious institutes dedicated to apostolic activity. Many of these latter institutes of women then petitioned for the solemn vow of poverty alone. Towards the end of the Second Vatican Council, superiors general of clerical institutes and abbots president of monastic congregations were authorized to permit, for a just cause, their subjects of simple vows who made a reasonable request to renounce their property except for what would be required for their sustenance if they were to depart.[9] These changes resulted in a further blurring of the previously clear distinction between "orders" and "congregations", since institutes that were founded as "congregations" began to have some members who had all three solemn vows or had members that took a solemn vow of poverty and simple vows of chastity and obedience. Further changes in 1983[edit] The current Code of Canon Law, which came into force in 1983, maintains the distinction between solemn and simple vows,[10] but no longer makes any distinction between their juridical effects, including the distinction between "orders" and "congregations". It has accordingly dropped the language of the 1917 code and uses the single term "religious institute" (which appears nowhere in the 1917 Code)[11] to designate all such institutes of consecrated life alike.[12] Thus the Church no longer draws the historical distinction between religious "orders" and "congregations". It applies to all such institutes the single name "religious institute" and the same rules of canon law.[13] While solemn vows once meant those taken in what was called a religious order, "today, in order to know when a vow is solemn it will be necessary to refer to the proper law of the institutes of consecrated life."[14] "Religious order" and "religious institute" tend indeed to be used now as synonyms, and canon lawyer Nicholas Cafardi, commenting on the fact that the canonical term is "religious institute", can write that "religious order" is a colloquialism.[15] Authority structure[edit]

Thomas Schoen
Thomas Schoen
1903, OCist.

A religious order is characterized by an authority structure where a superior general has jurisdiction over the order's dependent communities. An exception is the Order of St Benedict
Order of St Benedict
which is not a religious order in this technical sense, because it has a system of "independent houses", meaning that each abbey is autonomous. However, the Constitutions governing the order's global "independent houses" and its distinct "congregations" (of which there are twenty) were approved by the pope. Likewise, according to rank and authority, the abbot primate's "position with regard to the other abbots [throughout the world] is to be understood rather from the analogy of a primate in a hierarchy than from that of the general of an order like the Dominicans and Jesuits." [16] The Canons Regular
Canons Regular
of Saint Augustine are in a situation similar to that of the Benedictines. They are organized in eight "congregations", each headed by an "abbot general", but also have an " Abbot
Primate of the Confederated Canons Regular
Canons Regular
of Saint Augustine". And the Cistercians
are in thirteen "congregations", each headed by an "abbot general" or an "abbot president", but do not use the title of "abbot primate". List of institutes of consecrated life in the Annuario Pontificio[edit] The Annuario Pontificio
Annuario Pontificio
lists for both men and women the institutes of consecrated life and the like that are "of pontifical right" (those that the Holy See
Holy See
has erected or approved by formal decree).[17] For the men, it gives what it now calls the Historical-Juridical List of Precedence.[18] The arrangement in this list dates back many decades. It is found, for instance, in the 1964 edition of the Annuario Pontificio, pp. 807–870, where the heading is "States of Perfection (of pontifical right for men)". In the 1969 edition the heading has become "Religious and Secular Institutes of Pontifical Right for Men", a form it kept until 1975 inclusive. Since 1976, when work was already advanced on revising the Code of Canon Law, the list has been qualified as "historical-juridical" and still includes as "orders" the following institutes for men of the Latin Church, while not distinguishing between "orders" and "congregations" in the case of the Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches
and Latin Church
Latin Church
women. Within that long list, a relatively small section is devoted to Latin-Rite "orders" for men:

Canons Regular

Official Name Abbreviation Common Name

Sacer et Apostolicus Ordo Canonicorum Regularium S. Augustini C.R.S.A. Canon Regulars, Augustinian Canons

Congregatio Sanctissimi Salvatoris Lateranensis C.R.L. Canons Regular
Canons Regular
of the Lateran

Candidus et Canonicus Ordo Praemonstratensis O. Praem. Norbertines
or Premonstratensians

Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Sanctae Crucis O.R.C. Canons Regular
Canons Regular
of the Holy Cross of Coimbra

Ordo Fratrum Domus Hospitalis Sanctae Mariae Teutonicorum in Jerusalem O.T. (formerly Teutonic Knights) German Order

Canonici Regulares Ordinis S. Crucis O.S.C. Crosier Fathers and Brothers

Canonici Regulares Sanctissimae Crucis a stella rubea O.M.C.R.S. Knights of the Cross with the Red Star

Monastic Orders

Official Name Abbreviation Common Name

Ordo Sancti Benedicti O.S.B. Benedictines
(20 congregations)

Congregatio Eremitarum Camaldulensium Montis Coronae O.S.B.Cam. Camaldolese
(joined the Benedictine confederation)

Ordo Cisterciensis O. Cist. Cistercians
(13 congregations)

Ordo Cisterciensis Strictioris Observantiae O.C.S.O. Trappists

Ordo Cartusiensis Cart. Carthusians

Ordo Fratrum S. Pauli Primi Eremitae O.S.P.P.E. Pauline Fathers

Ordo Sancti Hieronymi O.S.H. Hieronymites

Ordo Libanensis Maronitarum O.L.M. Baladites

Mendicant Orders

Official Name Abbreviation Common Name

Ordo Fratrum Praedicatorum O.P. Dominicans

Ordo Fratrum Minorum O.F.M. Franciscans

Ordo Fratrum Minorum Conventualium O.F.M. Conv. Conventual Franciscans

Ordo Fratrum Minorum Capuccinorum O.F.M. Cap. Capuchin Franciscans

Tertius Ordo Regularis S. Francisci T.O.R. Brothers of Penance

Ordo Fratrum Sancti Augustini O.S.A. Augustinian Friars

Ordo Augustinianorum Recollectorum O.A.R. Augustinians

Ordo Augustiniensium Discalceatorum O.A.D. Discalced Augustinians

Ordo Fratrum Beatissimae Mariae Virginis de Monte Carmelo O. Carm. Carmelites

Ordo Fratrum Discalceatorum B. Mariae V. de Monte Carmelo O.C.D. Discalced Carmelites

Ordo Ssmae Trinitatis O.SS.T. Trinitarians

Ordo B. Mariae Virginis de Mercede O. de M. Mercedarians

Ordo PP. Excalceatorum B.M.V. De Mercede O.M.D. Discalced Mercedarians

Ordo Servorum Mariae O.S.M. Servites

Ordo Minimorum O.M. Minims

Ordo Hospitalarius S. Ioannis de Deo O.H. St John of God Order

Ordo Fratrum Bethlemitarum O.F.B. Bethlehemites

Clerics Regular

Official Name Abbreviations Common Name

Congregatio Clericorum Regularium S. Pauli, Barnabitarum B. Barnabites

Societas Iesu S.J. Jesuits

Ordo Clericorum Regularium a Somascha C.R.S. Somascans

Ordo Clericorum Regularium Ministrantium Infirmis M.I. Camillians

Ordo Clericorum Regularium Minorum C.R.M. Clerics Regular Minor

Ordo Clericorum Regularium Matris Dei O.M.D. Clerics Regular of the Mother of God

Ordo Clericorum Regularium Pauperum Matris Dei Scholarum Piarum Sch. P. Piarists

Ordo Clericorum Regularium vulgo Theatinorum C.R. Theatines

The 2012 Annuario Pontificio, which devotes 19 pages to this information on Latin-Rite "orders" for men, gives 35 pages to Latin-Rite "congregations" for men, 7 to Eastern "orders, religious congregations and societies of apostolic life" for men, and 198 pages to more concise information on religious institutes for women. See also[edit]

Catholicism portal

Christian Church Catholic Order Rites Congregation (Catholic) Consecrated life Diocesan priest Enclosed religious orders Holy Orders (Catholic) Institutes of consecrated life List of Catholic religious institutes List of defunct Catholic religious institutes Major Orders (Catholic) Minor Orders (Catholic) Provida Mater Ecclesia Religious congregations Religious institute (Catholic) Religious order Secular institutes Societies of apostolic life Solemn vow Vocational Discernment in the Catholic Church


^ Álvarez Gómez, Jesús, C.M.F., Historia de la vida religiosa, Volume III, Publicaciones Claretianas, Madrid, 1996. ^ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, II-II, q. 88, a.11 ^ a b Paul M. Quay, "Renewal of Religious Orders, or Destruction?", in Commentarium pro Religiosis et Missionariis, vol. 65 (1984), pp. 77-86 ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 488 ^ William Edward Addis, Thomas Arnold, A Catholic Dictionary Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church, Part Two, p. 858 (reprinted by Kessinger Publishing 2004) ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1073 ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 1058 ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law, canons 580-582 ^ Yūji Sugawara, Religious Poverty: from Vatican Council II to the 1994 Synod of Bishops (Loyola Press 1997 ISBN 978-88-7652-698-5), pp. 127-128 ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 1192 §2 ^ IntraText concordance to the 1917 Code ^ Robert T. Kennedy, Study related to a pre-1983 book by John J. McGrath – Jurist, 1990, pp. 351-401 ^ Code of Canon Law, canons 607-709 ^ E. Caparros, M. Thériault, J. Thorne (editors), Code of Canon Law Annotated (Wilson & Lafleur, Montréal 1993 ISBN 2-89127-232-3), p. 745 ^ Article published in Theological Exploration, vol. 2. no. 1 of Duquesne University and in Law Review of University of Toledo, vol 33 ^ See "The Benedictine Order" in New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 589 Archived April 18, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Annuario Pontificio
Annuario Pontificio
2008 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 2012 ISBN 978-88-209-8722-0), pp. 1411-1468

External links[edit]

List of religious institutes for men List of religious institutes for women Concerning 'Religious Institutes' in The Code of Canon Law
Code of Canon Law
1983 Differences Between Religious Orders A comparison of the differences between religious orders The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life VISION Vocation Guide Digital Edition Comprehensive guide of men's and women's religious communities in the U.S. and Canada with links and vocation opportunities] Catholic orders at Curlie (based on DMOZ) Vocation Network searchable directory of men's and women's Catholic religious communities

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Consecrated life
Consecrated life
in the Catholic Church


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Cenobitic Enclosed Idiorrhythmic

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Clerics Regular


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Evangelical counsels

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Catholicism portal

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Catholic religious institutes

Including orders (monastic/cenobitic/enclosed/idiorrhythmic), Canons Regular, mendicants, second orders, Clerks Regular, and congregations of the Catholic Church

Male and female

Alexians Assumptionists (A.A.) Augustinian Recollects (O.A.R.) Basilian Alepians (B.A.) Basilian Chouerites (B.C.) Benedictines
(O.S.B.) Canossians (F.D.C.C.) Carmelites
(O. Carm.) Carthusians
(O. Cart.) Cistercians
(O. Cist.) Congregation of Our Lady of Sion (N.D.S.) Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary
(SS.CC.) Congregations of the Heart of Mary Discalced Carmelites
(O.C.D.) Dominicans (O.P.) Franciscans
(O.F.M.) Institute of the Incarnate Word (I.V.E.) Maryknoll
(M.M.) Mercedarians
(O. de M.) Miles Jesu Missionaries of Charity
Missionaries of Charity
(M.C.) Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo
Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo
(C.S.) Premonstratensians
(O.Praem.) Servants of Charity (S.C.) Servite Order
Servite Order
(O.S.M.) Society of the Atonement
Society of the Atonement
(S.A.) T.O.R. Franciscans Trappists
(O.C.S.O.) Trinitarian Order
Trinitarian Order


Adorno Fathers (C.R.M.) Albertine Brothers Augustinians
(O.S.A.) Barnabites
(B.) Basilians (C.S.B.) Brotherhood of Hope (B.H.) Brothers of Our Lady of Mercy (F.D.M.) Camillians (M.I.) Canons Regular
Canons Regular
of Saint John Cantius Capuchins (O.F.M. Cap.) Christian Brothers (Irish) (C.F.C.) Immaculate Heart of Mary (C.I.C.M.) Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament
(S.S.S.) Claretians
(C.M.F.) Companions of the Cross (C.C.) Congregation of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (C.S.T.) Conventual Franciscans
Conventual Franciscans
(O.F.M. Conv.) Crosiers (O.S.C.) De La Salle Brothers
De La Salle Brothers
(F.S.C.) Discalced Augustinians (O.A.D.) Franciscan
Friars of the Renewal (C.F.R.) Franciscan
Missionaries of the Eternal Word (M.F.V.A.) Gabrielites Holy Cross (C.S.C.) Holy Ghost Fathers
Holy Ghost Fathers
(C.S.Sp) Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (I.C.R.S.S.) Jesuits
(S.J.) Josephite Fathers
Josephite Fathers
(S.S.J.) Legion of Christ
Legion of Christ
(L.C.) Little Brothers of Jesus Marians of the Immaculate Conception (M.I.C.) Marianists (S.M.) Marist Brothers
Marist Brothers
(F.M.S.) Marists (S.M.) Mechitarists
(C.A.M.) Missionaries of La Salette
Missionaries of La Salette
(M.S.) Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales (M.S.F.S) Missionaries of the Poor (M.O.P.) Missionaries of the Precious Blood
Missionaries of the Precious Blood
(C.PP.S.) Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
Missionaries of the Sacred Heart
(M.S.C.) Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) Missionary Society of Saint Paul of Nigeria (M.S.P.) Missionary Society of St. Columban Oblates of the Virgin Mary
Oblates of the Virgin Mary
(O.M.V.) Oblates of St. Francis de Sales (O.S.F.S.) Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
Oratory of Saint Philip Neri
(C.O.) Order of Friars Minor
Friars Minor
(O.F.M.) Pallottines
(S.A.C.) Passionists
(C.P.) Paulist Fathers
Paulist Fathers
(C.S.P.) Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter
(F.S.S.P.) Redemptorists (C.Ss.R.) Rogationists of the Heart of Jesus (R.C.J.) Sacred Heart Brothers Salesians (S.D.B.) Servants of Jesus and Mary (S.J.M.) Society of the Divine Word
Society of the Divine Word
(S.V.D.) Society of Saint Edmund (S.S.E.) Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer
(F.SS.R.) Vincentians (C.M.) White Fathers
White Fathers
(M. Afr.) Xaverian Brothers (C.F.X.) Sulpicians (P.S.S.)


Adorers of the Blood of Christ (A.S.C.) Apostolic Carmel (A.C.) Basilian Alepian Sisters Basilian Chouerite Sisters Bridgettines Brigidines Congregation of the Franciscan
Hospitaller Sisters of the Immaculate Conception (CONFHIC) Daughters of Charity Daughters of Divine Love Daughters of Mary of the Immaculate Conception Faithful Companions of Jesus Felicians (C.S.S.F.) Filippini Sisters (M.P.F.) Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Hijas de Jesús Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary Institute of the Maids of the Poor Little Sisters of Jesus Little Sisters of the Poor Lovers of the Holy Cross Marianites of Holy Cross Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God (S.M.I.C.) Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (I.C.M.) Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart Oblate Sisters of Providence Oblates of Jesus the Priest Oblate Sisters of the Virgin Mary of Fatima (O.M.V.F.) Order of Our Lady of Charity
Order of Our Lady of Charity
(O.D.N.C.) Order of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Poor Clares
Poor Clares
(O.S.C.) Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (R.C.S.J.) Religious of the Virgin Mary
Religious of the Virgin Mary
(R.V.M.) Servants of St. Joseph
Servants of St. Joseph
(S.S.J.) Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament Sisters of Charity Sisters of Charity
Sisters of Charity
of Saints Bartolomea Capitanio and Vincenza Gerosa (SCCG) Sisters of the Christian Doctrine (Nancy) Sisters of the Cross and Passion Sisters of the Destitute Sisters of the Good Shepherd (R.G.S) Sisters of Holy Cross Sisters of the Holy Cross Sisters of the Holy Family-Louisiana Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters of Life Sisters of Mercy
Sisters of Mercy
(R.S.M.) Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Sisters of Saint Francis (general) Sisters of Saint Francis (U.S.) Sisters of Saint Joseph The Sisters of St. Joseph
Sisters of St. Joseph
of Peace Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart (R.S.J.) Society of the Helpers of the Holy Souls Ursulines
(O.S.U.) White Sisters

See also: Third orders of Catholic laity