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Frequently Asked Qustions

On the Poor Knights of Christ standing in the Catholic Church

Q) Are you in union with the Pope?

A)  Yes, we are erected lawfully as a private association of the lay faithful under the canon law.  Our Rule, and Constitutions have canonical approval, and Knights also receive certain plenary indulgences granted by the Pope at certain times in their lives and during the liturgical year.  Proof of all of this is available in the Our Holy Rule and Documents section on this website.

Q)  Are you a third order?

A)  No, we are not a third order.  A third order is a group of individuals attached unto a principle institute and live out a spirituality with the assistance of the first order.  Examples of this are 3rd Order Franciscans or 3rd Order Carmelites.  Knights are self governing, and are the principle institute.  We have a second order referred to as Dames and  those individuals who wish to follow our spirituality but not live under obedience, or under the discipline of the Rule and constitutions are free to petition to become Oblates, which is like our 3rd order.  

Q)  Are you considered Religious?

A) No, we are not. 

Q)  What Canons are you instituted under?

A) We are erected under can. 299 and 321-326 C.I.C. and of nn. 26 and 27 of the Pastoral Note The Lay Associations in the Church, of the Episcopal Commission for the Laity of the C.E.I. dated the 23rd of April 1993.

Q)  Is this an order of Papal Knighthood?

A) No it is not, we have received certain blessings from the Holy See in therms of indulgences but we are not a papal order of Knighthood.

Q)  Are you the direct descendants of the Knights Templar?

A)  No, we are not.  The Ancient order of the temple was suppressed at the Council of Vienne in 1312.  Any group that claims to be descendants of the ancient order are not telling the truth.  The Poor Knights of Christ are the only group that follows a rule of life based off the ancient rule of the Knights Templar who have juridical standing within the Catholic Church.

Q)  When and where were you erected?

A) The Militia of the Temple was civilly recognized on September 21st, 1979 by Decree n. 613 of the President of the Regional Council of Tuscany. Later, it was canonically erected on September 8th, 1988 with Decree n. 24 of the Archbishop Metropolitan of Siena - Colle di Val d'Elsa - Montalcino.

On Admission to the Poor Knights of Christ as a Candidate for Knighthood

Q)  Do you have to be Catholic to join the Militia Templi?

A)  Yes, you must be a Catholic who frequents the sacraments and is in good standing with the Church.  Part of the admissions process involves receiving a letter from your pastor confirming that you regularly receive the sacraments.

Q)  What if I am coming into the Catholic Church?

A)  First finish the process of coming into the Catholic Church, you can of course contact us and ask questions about membership. 

Q)  Do you allow married men to join?

A)  Yes, however we will ask for a letter from your wife confirming that she will support your vocation and assist you in living out your new life as a member.  If you are in a serious romantic relationship that could lead to marriage we also ask for such a letter.

Q)  Do you allow Priests to join?

A)  Yes, but only as chaplains and the process is different than becoming a Knight in the militia.

Q)  Can I join if I am already a member of the Knights of Columbus?

A)  Yes, the Knights of Columbus are a fraternal brotherhood distinct from your membership in the Militia Templi. However, you must place your vocation as a Poor Knight of Christ over and above your participation in events with the Knights of Columbus.  

Q)  Can I join if I am a third order (Carmelite, Norbertine, Fransican, Dominican)

A)  Not as a candidate for Knighthood.  Seeing as these other associations of the faithful also take vows/promises of obedience to their superiors it would create a conflict. 

Q) I want to join the Poor Knights of Christ as a candidate for Investiture?  How do I start the process?

A) If you reside in North or South America you would start the process by contacting the preceptory at with a brief introduction of yourself.  Please include all the details we have requested on our homepage?

Q) How long does the admission process take?

A)  All postulants are required to spend 30 days meditating upon the rule before asking for formal admittance from the time they contact the Preceptor (and/or) Commander. After which they will need to put together a portfolio of paperwork to submit asking for admission.  A formal interview will also need to be scheduled another member, ideally another Knight.  After the portfolio is submitted and the interview completed the Preceptoral Council, or Commandery will assemble, review the portfolio, discuss the interview and vote on whether the postulant should be admitted. The entire process normally takes several months to complete.

Q)  What is contained in this portfolio?
  • A copy of your sacramental records (Baptismal, Marriage, Confirmation etc)
  • Formal resume.
  • A letter from your Pastor stating that you are a Catholic in good standing who frequents the sacraments. It can be one sentence if it has to be, but get it on official parish letter head with a signature.
  • If you are married, dating or engaged a letter from your wife/girlfriend/fiance stating her support for your vocation.
  • A letter from you stating why you want to join the Militia Templi.
  • A declaration that you are not involved in any secret societies (such as the masons) and that you are able to financial support your family.  The specific declaration will be provided to you by us. 
  • Should their be a circumstance involving an annulment a declaration of nullity.  
Q) What is the interview for?

A) Our Rule of Life makes certain demands on us admitting new candidates, please read Chapter 7 of the rule to come to a full understanding. 

Q)  After taking my vows does the Church consider me a cleric?

A)  No.

On the Formation of New Members

Q)  When do I have to start reciting the hours of the 1962 Divine Office?

A)  Immediately, Novices must fulfill all the obligations of a fully professed Knight from day one of their Novitate.

Q)  I prefer going to the Byzantine, Maronite Rite more than attending the Mass said according to the 1962 missal can I keep going there?

A)  The Poor Knights where placed under Ecclesia Dei in the 1980's.  Our spirituality is deeply connected with the both the Missal and Divine office of 1962 and we ask all members to make the effort of attending Mass according to the 1962 missal in a Church with ecclesiastical standing.  Of course, if this is not possible one should always make the effort to attend Mass. 

Q)  Do the hours have to be said in Latin?

A)  Yes, you may use an English translation to assist you in comprehending the office, but you must to the best of your ability say the prayers in Latin word for word even if you have no experience with Latin.  

Q)  What type of assignments can I expect as a Novice?

A) Novices are required to be  in contact with their Novice Master by phone at least once a month, ideally much more, and to go on an annual Novice retreat and/or do at least 12 hours of in person formation with him. Novices receive a reading list and assignments. They should also expect to be tested on their proficiency at saying the Divine Office. 

Q)  How many years of formation are there? 

A)  Currently it takes a minimum of 3 years of formation for a candidate to be allowed to take simple profession, and another 3 years to make final profession.  

Q)  Do Novices where a Habit?

A)  Novices receive a plain white tunic.  

On Community Life

Q)  How Frequently do Knights meet for prayer?

A)  The Rule outlines the frequency of common prayer for Knights.  The language of the rule envisions the daily common recitation of the Divine Office, especially the Hour of Vespers if this is possible.  If the closest Knight is a great distances away from the next member, or they have different work schedules outside of there control etc then it is not possible to recite it in common daily.  However, if the Knight or Novice must be always be willing to adjust those aspects of his life which he has control over to find time to pray the Office in Common when it is possible with other Knights.

Knights within  Commanderies (composed of no less than 3 Knights) should work together to create regular intervals at which they can recite the Divine Office together, attend Mass, retreats,attend spiritual conferences and perform good works together.  The greater the difficulty in obtaining this end, the greater the interval can be between these common good works.

Q)  What if there are no Knights near me at all?

A)  Then one must try to conform to the rule as best as they can with the assitance of their immediate superior, spiritual director, and confessor seeking out opportunities for common prayer, spiritual instruction, retreats and so forth with other devout Catholics.

Q)  Where are there Knights in the United States?

This map was last updated on January 13, 2018.  It does not include: Oblates, Novices, Dames, Chaplains or Friends of the Militia but only Professed Knights in the USA.  We also have professed Knights in Puerto Rico, and (temporarily) in Panama. (This also only shows a general area where a Knight is living not the actual address, to protect their privacy).


On Knights

Q) When do you wear your habit?

A)  We wear our habits at: liturgical worship (the Divine Office, Mass, Benediction), Processions, when we conduct meetings and business for the order, and any other time when it is appropriate.   Unlike religious we do not wear our habits all the time.

Q)  I noticed that Knights sign there name with dom.  What does that mean?

A)  Dom is a prefix derived from the latin dominus which means lord.  It is frequently used in various monastic communities such as Benedictines from which we share a certain patrimony.  The title can be given to anyone (including the lay faithful) who have made solemn profession within their community.   

Q)  Why do knights sign they use their title dom always with a lower case d?

A)  Knights sign their name as dom. not Dom. as a sign of humility to make a distinction that they are lay faithful and not religious. 

Q)  Why not Fra, or Frater instead of dom.?

A)  Frater or Fra. is used by the community for Knights in simple profession.

Q)  What is Simple Profession?

A)  Simple profession occurs after the completion of the novitiate, where a Knight makes vows/promises to live scrupulously by the Rule and under his superiors.  This must be renewed every three years, or the Knight may go onto Solemn Profession which is life long. 

Q)  How much do you fast?

A)  The Rule demands that all Knights "Love Fasting".  Anything above what current Canon Law demands of the  Knights would be discussed with individual Knights spiritual director.  Occasionally Knights are asked in obedience to fast  for a specific intention. 

On Obligations to the Association

Q)  What of the tithe, do I have to give a copy of my taxes?

A)  No, you do not need to give us a copy of your taxes.  We require that the knights make a declaration each year, we expect Knights to fairly declare their tithe on their honor.

Q)  What if I cannot pay the tithe once, am I dismissed?

A)  There is a dispensation that can be requested for the tithe due to unforeseen or emergency circumstances.

Q)  Do novices pay the 3% tithe?

A)  Yes, Novices do have to pay the 3% tithe. The 3% tithe is calculated from ones taxable income, not gross.