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The term secular clergy refers to deacons and priests who are not monstics or members of a religious order.

Roman Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, the secular clergy are ministers, such as deacons and priests, who do not belong to a religious order. While regular clergy take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience and place themselves under a monastic rule (regulum), secular clergy do not take vows, and they live in the world (saeculum). They are still bound to Canon law, which for Latin Rite priests means that they are bound to obligations of celibacy and obedience. Like regular clergy, secular clergy are also bound to the recitation of the Divine Office.

A number of intra-Church conflicts have occurred due to the tensions between regular and secular clergy. Secular clergy always takes precedence of the regular clergy of equal rank.[1]

One of the roots of the Philippine Revolution was the agitation of native secular priests for parish assignments. The powerful religious orders were given preferential treatment in these assignments, and were usually Spaniards who trained in European chapters. The agitation led to the execution of the "Gomburza filibusteros."

The secular clergy in contemporary times is referred to as the "diocesan" or (in the case of an archdiocese) "archdiocesan" clergy.

Thomas Becket is a patron saint of secular clergy.

Orthodox Church

In the Orthodox Church, the term "secular clergy" would refer to married priests and deacons, as opposed to monastic clergy (hieromonks and hierodeacons). The secular clergy are sometimes referred to as "white clergy", black being the customary color worn by monks. Traditionally, parish priests should be members of the secular clergy, not monastics, as the support of a wife is considered necessary for a priest living "in the world".




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