Clerks Regular

Roman Catholic clergy who have taken solemn vows for the purpose of more effective pastoral work. The term applies particularly to orders like the Theatines* (1524) and Jesuits* (1534) founded in the sixteenth century. Their numbers have not increased since then, but their example has had a striking influence on later religious communities which have lived under rule, whether strictly monastic or not, though the great majority of these communities take simple vows.