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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 1. What is the meaning of a "Solemn Profession?"

A. 1. A "Solemn Profession" is a final vow that an individual embraces when he joins certain institutions recognized by the Catholic Church as religious Orders.

St. Ignatius of Loyola (of the Order of St. Benedict) laid down that in his Order there should be a simple profession, followed by more or less frequent renewal of vows until such time as the candidate should be prepared for the solemn or definitive profession. Under Popes Pius IX and Leo XIII, this became the common law of all religious Orders. A profession can be either simple or solemn. The "Solemn profession" exists at present only in religious Orders that have been approved by the Vatican.

The "Solemn profession" binds an individual religious to his Order, which undertakes to maintain him, and treat him as a member of its household; except in case of special privilege, it can dismiss a professed religious in canonical form only for incorrigible persistence in some grave public fault.

A "Solemn profession" is always perpetual. Dispensation from it is difficult to obtain. A religious who has been dismissed from his order is still bound by the obligations of the religious life.

On June 11, 1858, Pope Pius IX abolished the tacit "Solemn profession" for religious orders. Since then it has fallen into disuse altogether.

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