Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas
SS: Treatise On The States Of Life
Q[188] Of The Different Kinds Of Religious Life
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We must now consider the different kinds of religious life, and under this head there are eight points of inquiry:

A[1] Whether there are different kinds of religious life or only one?

A[2] Whether a religious order can be established for the works of the active life?

A[3] Whether a religious order can be directed to soldiering?

A[4] Whether a religious order can be established for preaching and the exercise of like works?

A[5] Whether a religious order can be established for the study of science?

A[6] Whether a religious order that is directed to the contemplative life is more excellent than one that is directed to the active life?

A[7] Whether religious perfection is diminished by possessing something in common?

A[8] Whether the religious life of solitaries is to be preferred to the religious life of those who live in community?