Differences between Regular Clergy and Secular Clergy

It is worth noting that the clergy is the name given in the plural to persons ordained in religious service such as priests, bishops, consecrated ministers, friars, missionaries, archbishops, cardinals, presbyters and deacons, while in the singular these They are called clerics. Thus, the clergy is a term used by the Catholic and Orthodox Church, where these people are dedicated to religious service in different instances such as teaching, evangelization, preaching, liturgy or sacramental administration.

In this order of ideas, the clergy can be regular or secular depending on their lifestyle and the functions they perform for the church and the religion they practice. In this sense, in this article we will present the differences between regular clergy and secular clergy based on their definitions.

Regular Clergy

Mainly, the regular clergy is the group of people ordained in religious service, who live in community according to certain rules and regulations. In this group are the friars, consecrated ministers, missionaries and some priests and bishops. In addition, within the regular clergy there are different orders, where each order is governed by rules of conduct determined by a maximum authority, superior or abbot who in turn depends directly on the papal authority.

Similarly, the orders can be mendicant or contemplative, where a mendicant order is a type of religious order characterized by living on alms and gifts from others, the friars and sores are in this group. Likewise, a contemplative order is one that is generally consecrated in monasteries and convents to the practice of prayer, meditation and work under the direction of an Abbot or Superior and under a monastic rule, they also usually carry out work of cultivation of the land for their livelihood.

Secular Clergy

Basically, the secular clergy is the group of people ordained in religious service, who live in the human community according to its rules and norms, that is, they live with ordinary people who are not ordained in religious service. In this group are bishops, archbishops, priests, presbyters and deacons, although some friars and sores usually join this group according to their functions within their order.

The secular clergy has a hierarchical organization that proceeds from the pope, who is the highest authority for the Catholic Church, and from the patriarchs for the Orthodox Church. The secular clergy owes its name to the Latin saeculum which means world. Therefore, it is the religious who lives in the world, that is, among the people and not in a convent or community like religious orders.

According to the aforementioned, the following differences are presented:

  • The regular clergy is the group of religious who live in a convent or monastery under the specific rules of the order to which they belong, while the secular clergy is the group of religious who live among the people, exercising their ministry in a specific parish and governed under papal authority.
  • The regular clergy aims to formally dedicate their lives to God, his praise and teachings, while the secular clergy aims to formally dedicate their lives to ecclesiastical and religious administration in different instances (parish, local, state, world).

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