In canon law, the old orders , in which the members of the order take solemn vows , are differentiated in the Roman Catholic Church from the later founded congregations , whose members take simple vows and usually do not live in the enclosure of a monastery .
Orders are those that are older than 700 years. These include the monastic orders, religious orders of knights , mendicant orders and regular canons . The members of congregations are referred to as nuns or, if they are not clerics , as friars . Members of the monastic orders, on the other hand, are monks or nuns . Regular canons are called canons .
In the Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC) of 1917 a distinction was made between orders and congregations. This distinction is no longer explicitly stated in the 1983 CIC. Orders and congregations are now uniformly referred to as religious institutes ; Regulations relating to this can be found in Canons 607–709. Together with the secular institutes (Cann. 710–730) they form the Institutes of Consecrated Life (Cann. 573–606).