Summa Theologiae by St Thomas Aquinas
SS: Treatise On The States Of Life
Q184 Of The State Of Perfection In General
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We must now consider those things that pertain to the state of perfection whereto the other states are directed. For the consideration of offices in relation to other acts belongs to the legislator; and in relation to the sacred ministry it comes under the consideration of orders of which we shall treat in the Third Part [* XP, Q [34]].

Concerning the state of the perfect, a three-fold consideration presents itself: (1) The state of perfection in general; (2) Things relating to the perfection of bishops; (3) Things relating to the perfection of religious.

Under the first head there are eight points of inquiry:

A1 Whether perfection bears any relation to charity?

A2 Whether one can be perfect in this life?

A3 Whether the perfection of this life consists chiefly in observing the counsels or the commandments?

A4 Whether whoever is perfect is in the state of perfection?

A5 Whether especially prelates and religious are in the state of perfection?

A6 Whether all prelates are in the state of perfection?

A7 Which is the more perfect, the episcopal or the religious state?

A8 The comparison between religious and parish priests and archdeacons.