Ecclesiastical Addresses


Ecclesiastical Addresses

Ecclesiastical addresses are the formal styles of address used for members of the clergy, notably in the Catholic church. Eastern Catholics do not follow this and have their own stylings.

Addresses of Latin-Rite Catholic clergy

United States

* Cardinal: John Cardinal Smith; His Eminence; Your Eminence
* Cardinal who is also an archbishop: John Cardinal Smith, Archbishop of New York; His Eminence; Your Eminence
* Archbishop: The Most Reverend John Smith, D.D., Archbishop of New York (abbrev.: Most Rev.; bishops in the U.S. commonly employ a terminal degree as postnominals, e.g., J.C.D or S.T.D., or Ph.D., or, in its absence, the honorific D.D.); His Excellency (His Grace); Your Excellency (Your Grace); Archbishop Smith. (Titular archbishops almost never have their sees mentioned).
* Bishop: The Most Reverend John Smith, D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn (abbrev.: Most Rev.; bishops in the U.S. commonly employ a terminal degree as postnominals, e.g., J.C.D, S.T.D., or Ph.D., or, in its absence, the honorific D.D.); ); His Excellency (His Grace); Your Excellency (Your Grace); Bishop Smith.(Titular bishops almost never have their sees mentioned).
* Abbot: The Right Reverend John Smith, O.S.B. (or appropriate order's postnominals); The Right Reverend Abbot (abbrev. Rt. Rev.); Abbot John or Abbot Smith or Dom John or Father John, depending on personal and abbey custom.
* Protonotary Apostolic: The Reverend Monsignor John Smith, P.A. (abbrev.: Rev. Msgr.); Monsignor Smith. (This title and style takes precedence over all others below bishop).
* Prelate of Honor and Chaplain of Honor: The Reverend Monsignor John Smith; (abbrev.: Rev. Msgr.); Monsignor Smith. (This title and style takes precedence over all others below P.A. above).
* Vicar General: The Very Reverend John Smith, or The Reverend John Smith, V.G.; Father Smith.
* Judicial Vicar, Ecclesiastical Judge, Episcopal Vicar, Vicar Forane, Dean, Provincial Superior, Rector: The Very Reverend John Smith; Father Smith.
* Prior whether superior of or in a monastery or a province or house of a religious order : The Very Reverend John Smith, O.P. (appropriate postnominals for the order); Father Smith.
* Pastor of a Catholic parish, Parochial Vicar, Chaplain, Priest: The Reverend John Smith (abbrev.: Rev. John Smith); Father Smith.
* Transitional Deacon (i.e., deacon preparing for priesthood): Rev. Mr. Smith or Deacon Smith.
* Permanent Deacon: Mr. John Smith or Deacon John Smith; Mr. Smith or Deacon Smith.
* Seminarian (diocesan seminary or Jesuit scholastic:): Mr. John Smith; Mr. Smith.
* Brother: Brother John Smith, O.F.M.; Brother John (in some teaching orders, "Brother Smith" is customary).
* Abbess, Prioress, superior of a religious order of women or a province: Mother Jane Smith, O.S.B.; Mother Jane (the title of women religious superiors varies widely, and specific customs of the order should be noted)
* Religious sister or nun: Sister Jane Smith, S.C.; Sister Jane.

Britain and the Commonwealth

The major difference between U.S. practice and that in the Commonwealth is the form of address for archbishops and bishops. In Britain, Australia, etc.:
* an archbishop is "the Most Reverend" and addressed as "Your Grace" rather than "His/Your Excellency".
* a bishop is "the Right Reverend", and is formally addressed as "My Lord" rather than "Your Excellency". This style is an ancient one, and has been used in the western church for more than a thousand years; it corresponds to, but does not derive from, the Italian "Monsignore" and the French "Monseigneur". However, most bishops prefer to be addressed simply as "Bishop ".

The form of address and style is different, however, for bishops and archbishops of other denominations. See "Forms of address in the United Kingdom" for further information.

Addresses of Eastern-Rite Catholic clergy

Although the titles of Eastern-Rite clergy would change from language to language, in the Greek- and Arabic-speaking world the following would be acceptable, but is by no means a full list of appropriate titles. It is notable that surnames are never used expect in extra-ecclesial matters or to specify a particular person where many share one Christian name or ordination name. Where not noted, Western titles may be supposed. The following are common in Greek Melkite Catholic usage and in Greek Orthodox usage in the United States.

Bishop / Archbishop: In Arabic, a bishop is styled "Sayedna," while in Syriac-tradition churches, he is styled "Mar."

Priest: In Arabic, "Abouna," and in Greek "Pappas".

Deacon: Identical to a priest in all ways except "Father Deacon" is also heard ("Abouna Shammas" or "Pappas Diakonos").

Subdeacon: Reverend Subdeacon in written address, but the Christian name with or without "Brother" is usually used, except some traditions where "Father Subdeacon" is used. In Arabic, this is confused by the word "Shammas" being used for both the subdeaconate and the deaconate, the distinction being a "Deacon of the Letter" and a "Deacon of the Gospel," respectively. Often a Deacon will be addressed as "Father" and the subdeacon as "Brother" to make the distinction clear.

Reader: Readers are addressed as "Reader" or "Brother," depending on the preference of the addresser.

Seminarians: "Brother" or "Brother Seminarian" is the most common title; the appellation "Father Seminarian" or "Father Student" is not seen outside of rural Greek and Arabic-speaking laity.

Tonsured individuals of no title: Brother.

References

*Catholic Encyclopedia (1913). " [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01137a.htm Ecclesiastical Addresses] ".
*Mirriam-Webster (1997 HTML edition). [https://www.cs.harvard.edu/oldwikis/data/mw/Mwed00000140.html Handbook of Style] - Clerical and Religious forms of address.


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