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ARTICLE I. The State of Tendency to Perfection, or the Religious State.Edit

" The religious state," says Suarez, " is nothing but a tendency to perfection."[1] According to the common usage of the Church, the name, religious state, taken in an exact meaning, indicates the perfect state of regulars, who consecrate and give themselves entirely to God by taking the three vows of the three chief counsels, that is, of obedience, poverty and chastity, in an approved religious society. When taken in a broader sense, the religious state comprises other modes of life that men adopt by voluntarily devoting themselves to the worship and service of God, and binding themselves to keep certain counsels.[2] What we are about to say will have special reference to the religious state strictly and properly so called. Having briefly spoken of its origin, its excellence, and its advantages, we shall inquire whether it is of precept or of counsel, and whether a person may vow to embrace it. After that we shall see whether it is allowable to exhort persons to enter religion, and whether it is forbidden to dissuade them from doing so. Lastly, we shall treat of the chief impediments to entrance into religion, and answer certain questions connected with them. On all these points we shall advance nothing that is not supported by the authority of the most celebrated doctors and theologians of the Church.


  1. Ibid., lib. 2, Prolog.
  2. Suar., lib. 2, c. i, n. I.