“Friar,” “monk,” “priest.” these are rather flexible terms, but not specifically so. Popularly, they space all interpreted to allude at a life the sacrifice and poverty. However while all variation of priesthoods may be equivalent, their vocations space not alike, other than in the they room meant come live their resides in service. A priest may be monastic, or religious, or “secular” (also referred to as “diocesan”), however they space all clergy.

You are watching: What is the difference between a monk and a friar

A monk in the Catholic Church is a man who has actually received the sacrament of divine Orders and has thus undertaken the duties of celebrate the Sacrifice the the Mass, hear confession, offering absolution and other sacraments “in persona Christi and to perform other duties that pastoral ministry and, sometimes, administration.

A priest may be associated to a diocese or come a spiritual order, or come a monastic home (an abbey or priory/convent). All priests, even if it is diocesan or religious, attend to celibacy and obedience to your superiors:

A diocesan priest promises solemn obedience to his bishop.A religious priest (like a Dominican or Franciscan) vows obedience come his superior, usually called a “provincial.”A monastic priest vows obedience to his abbot (if life in one abbey) or former (in a priory).

Diocesan priests execute not take vows (or promises) to poverty and may possess and inherit property.

Read more:This cow explains Catholic religious orders and also congregations far better than most textbooks

Priests vowed to a spiritual order (like the Franciscans, Dominicans, etc) or a monastic ar (like the Benedictines or Cistercians) do make vows that poverty, surrendering any type of income castle generate with their works to their superiors. For this reason a Dominican writer earning profits from his books will turn those royalty checks over to the stimulate of Preachers. A Trappist writer will turn his earnings over come his abbot or prior, for the advantage of the entirety community.

The word “friar” is from fraire (from the Middle periods — the fraire Provençal), which way “brother.” The word arose with the development of the mendicant (traveling/preaching) assignment in the late middle Ages, most predominantly by Saint Francis (Franciscans) that Assisi and also Saint Dominic (Order the Preachers, or “Dominicans”). This “new religious” to be no much longer tied to monasteries and convents yet went out among the people, to preach and also to pray, to educate and also to serve the sick.

A priest who is part of a mendicant spiritual order is additionally a friar; a priest who is component of a conventual/monastic neighborhood (contemplative/stationary) is likewise a monk. But monks and friars need not be priests. some monks and friars discern your vocations together religious, contents to simply be brothers within their order or community; they perform not seek the priesthood.

The native “monk” comes from the Latin monachus, a word because that hermits, rooted in a definition of “solitude.” the is concerned the introduction of the first experiences of contemplative men and also women, such as the Desert Fathers and also Mothers. Saint Benedict that Nursia (480-547) is taken into consideration the founder of western Monasticism.

Finally, the is feasible for a priest to be no “secular”, nor “friar”, nor “monk” however still it is in a religious. A Jesuit priest (Society the Jesus), or a Pauline priest (Society that Saint Paul), or a Salesian monk (Society of St. Francis de Sales, aka Salesians the Don Bosco) is fully a priest and also will do the same vows that poverty, chastity and obedience come their spiritual superiors, just like friars and also monks, however they are simply priests of their corresponding communities.

Make certain to check the slideshow listed below for a rapid guide come recognizing the habits used by some monastic and spiritual orders. 

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Read more:Why do particular monks and nuns live “behind bars”?

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