Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Oratory, Priests of the. There were formerly two religious orders of this name. (1) The Italian order, founded by St. Philip Neri (q.v.). The Congregation is composed of secular priests, who live together under the same rule, but are not forced to take religious vows. The several communities are mutually independent, each being composed of novices, triennial fathers, decennial fathers, and a superior. The rule, which is merely traditional, enjoins mental prayer in the evening, alternating with the "discipline" of self-flagellation. The chief ministerial functions of the order are daily preaching and hearing confessions. The order was introduced into England by Cardinal Newman, who established the Birmingham Oratory in 1847. In 1849 a, congregation was' set up in London by Father Faber, which in 1850 became independent, and in 1854 was transferred to Brompton, where a large domed building has been erected. (2) The Congregation of the Oratory of our Lord Jesus Christ in France, founded by Cardinal Berulle in 1613, which received the approval of Paul V. Its main object was the institution of seminaries for training priests. The society was broken up at the Revolution by the civil constitution of the clergy.