religious profession

Denotes the act of embracing the religious state by the three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the rule of an order canonically approved, and by any additional vow or vows in accordance with the rule of a particular order. A continuous year of novitiate or probation is necessary before profession may be made, and, for the validity of solemn profession at least three years of simple profession must have preceded it; for lay brothers, six years. The aspirant must be of the full age required, generally sixteen years as the minimum, and personally at liberty to make the promises. Coercion renders them null and void. Regular profession admits of two divisions: simple, and solemn. The latter is now restricted to religious orders approved as such by the Holy See, simple vows being generally substituted, sometimes as perpetual, sometimes as temporary. In congregations without solemn vows, a term of temporary vows, varying from three to six years, precedes the perpetual vows. In some orders, those once professed renew their vows from year to year and, in the case of temporary profession, may return to the world. Simple vows are not, in general, a hindrance to the ownership of property. Profession entails the obligation of aspiring after perfection. Previous vows incompatible with the rule are thereby annulled, unless the vows are commutable. The ceremony of profession is described in the Pontificale Romanum.