Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ecclesiastical Etiquette 101

This leveling egalitarian spirit violates not only tradition and the laws of civility, but also the practice of justice. We need only look to a basic principle of Roman Law, so coherent in its logic, which states that that each one should be given what he has a right to receive. Because people are unequal in status, situation, and talent, the necessity of justice demands unequal treatment. Catholic doctrine used to be applied concretely in Christian Civilization. Thus one could judge a person according to a code of rights, merits and honors, and according to this code, use a formula of respect suitable for each one and each occasion.

For the same reason, it is inconvenient for a Catholic to call a Protestant preacher “reverend,” because this is to indirectly confer legitimacy to his heretical confession. It is much better to call a Lutheran Mr. Jones instead of reverend Jones, or use the title Doctor or Professor, if it is applicable. In writing, it is sometimes necessary to refer to a Protestant as bishop, but the title should be lower case, e.g. bishop Philip Robinson, or Protestant bishop Robinson, as a sign of differentiation from the Catholic Bishop.

Going up the Catholic hierarchical ladder, these are the basic rules to serve you in day-to-day circumstances:

Brother

Direct address: Brother Elias.
Written address: Brother Elias, O.F.M.
Formal introduction: Brother Elias of the Order of Friars Minor.

Religious Priest

Direct address: Father McKenzie, or Father.
Written address: The Reverend Father Leo F. McKenzie, S.J.
Formal introduction: The Reverend Father Leo McKenzie of The Society of Jesus.

Diocesan Priest

Direct address: Father Butler, or Father.
Written address: The Reverend Father John W. Butler.
Formal introduction: The Reverend Father John Butler.
Protocol: Stand when a Priest enters the room, and remain standing until he invites you to sit. Men should remove their hats in his presence. A good custom at greeting the Priest is to kiss his hand, to honor the fact that they conescrate the Holy Eucharist. The same signs of respect should be given shen leaving his presence.

Monsignor

Direct address: Monsignor Smith, or Monsignor.
Written address: The Right Reverend Monsignor Thomas R. Smith, or The Very Reverend Monsignor Thomas R. Smith.
Formal introduction: The Very Reverend Monsignor Thomas Smith. Protocol: the same as for Priests.

Bishop

Direct address: Your Excellency, or Bishop McNeil.
Written address: His Excellency, The Right Reverend William A. Scully, D.D. Bishop of Baltimore. or His Excellency, The Right Reverend Bishop William Scully of Baltimore.
Formal closing: Kissing the Sacred Ring,
Formal introduction: His Excellency, the Bishop of Baltimore.
Protocol: Stand when a Bishop enters the room, and remain standing until he invites you to sit. Men should remove their hats in his presence. For your own Bishop, you may kneel on your left knee and kiss his ring as a sign of respect for his office. If kneeling would be ackward, or if it is not your own Bishop, you may bow at the waist and kiss his ring. Do not do either if the Pope is present. The same signs of respect should be given when leaving his presence.

Archbishop

Direct address: Your Grace, or Archbishop Kovak.
Written address: His Grace, The Most Reverend Michael T. Kovak, S.T.D. Archbishop of New York, or His Grace, The Most Reverend Archbishop Michael T. Kovak, of New York.
Formal closing: Kissing the Sacred Ring,
Formal introduction: His Grace, the Archbishop of Baltimore.
Protocol: The same as for a Bishop.

Patriarch

Direct address: Your Beatitude.
Written address: His Beatitude, the Most Reverend Michael Cardinal Sabbah, Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Formal introduction: His Beatitude, The Patriarch of Jerusalem.
Protocol: The same as for a Bishop.

Cardinal

Direct address: Your Eminence, or Cardinal Hand.
Written address: His Eminence, Thomas Cardinal Hand, Archbishop of Los Angeles, or, His Eminence, The Most Reverend Cardinal Thomas J. Hand, of Los Angeles.
Formal closing: Kissing the Sacred Purple,
Formal introduction: His Eminence, Cardinal of Los Angeles.
Protocol: The same as for a Bishop.

Pope

Direct address: Your Holiness, or Holy Father.
Written address: His Holiness, Pope Pius XII, or better, The Sovereign Pontiff, His Holiness Pius XII.
Formal closing: Kissing the Sacred Foot,
Formal introduction: His Holiness, the Pope.
Protocol: After being introduced, kneel on your left knee and kiss his ring as a sign of respect for his office. Stand when the Pope enters the room, and remain standing unless he invites you to sit. Men should be wearing a suit coat and tie and remove their hats in his presence. Women should wear black dresses and have their heads and arms covered. The same signs of respect should be given when leaving his presence.

If you bring a new white zucchetto with you at a scheduled meeting with the Pope, a customary gesture of amiability is for His Holiness to trade the one he is wearing for the one you offer.

There is a special protocol for formally greeting a Bishop that needs to be dusted off and put back into daily usage. Because a Bishop has received the fullness of Holy Orders, that is, the power to administer confirmation and Holy Orders as well as all the other Sacraments, he receives a special distinction. He is a Prince of the Church and a Successor of the Apostles.

A Catholic formally greets a Bishop by kissing the ring on his right hand, one of his marks of office. Should circumstances permit, one kneels on one knee to kiss his ring. Kneeling on both knees as a mark of respect is reserved for the Blessed Sacrament when it is exposed.

If the circumstances make it difficult or gauche to kneel, it is appropriate to make a small sign of deference, standing and bending forward slightly from the waist to bring your lips to the ring of the Bishop, whose hand rests lightly in yours.

http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/d003rpHowToAddressClergy.html

13 comments:

  1. I thought this was a joke at first.

    Is it? Cause... Wow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Steve I appreciate the lesson in how to address the prelates of the RCC. I guess now I'll have to quit referring to them as antichrists.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This leveling egalitarian spirit violates not only tradition and the laws of civility..."

    I'm equivocating here on the term "egalitarian", but if I had to choose between:

    (A) LibProt and Emerging Church egalitarianism (no male headship in the home and church), and

    (B) RCC hierarchalism

    I would....

    punt!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was taught that O.F.M. stands for "Old Fat Man." Literally, a Franciscan Friar (a fat one) told me this!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I guess now I'll have to quit referring to them as antichrists.


    LOL

    Yeah, that wasn't mentioned in the protocol.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi, there! :-)

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=czskQiDcNgk

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLkrv4vDeOs

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVCk_a61RhI

    Bye, there! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow, the Pope has a Sacred Foot. The same one, no doubt, that walks around the Sacred Bathroom with no shoes on, I bet.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think the really crucial question at this point is which sacred foot we're supposed to kiss. If we kiss the wrong sacred foot, will the ground open up and swallow us alive?

    And what if the pope is actually an antipope? What punishment awaits us? Pious Catholics want to know!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Steve: I would say, kiss the left foot, because the right foot is reserved only for God.

    Here is what "Joseph" said in the Jason Stellman blog: "On kneeling on your left knee and kissing the popes ring... it has always been tradition of the Church to do this... with every bishop. Why? Because we believe that the bishops are the Successors of the Apostles. It is a sign of respect, not worship to the office, to the Apostles who originally held them and passed them on. Ultimately, it is an act of thanksgiving to Christ for giving us the holy office of the Apostles and for instituting His Church.

    We kneel on the left knee because the right knee is only reserved for God. To bend the left knee is a matter of respect and reverence. The bend the right is an act of worship or for a higher regard than just respect."

    http://deregnisduobus.blogspot.com/2008/10/of-binding-loosing-and-kingdoms-keys.html#73719

    ReplyDelete
  10. John,

    Is "Joseph" aware of the fact that, traditionally, the left hand is the devil's hand:

    "For thousands of years, the Devil has been associated with the left hand in various ways and is normally portrayed as being left-handed in pictures and other images. In the seventeenth century it was thought that the Devil baptised his followers with his left-hand and there are many references in superstitions to the "left-hand side" being associated with evil. As an example, in France it was held that witches greet Satan "avec le bras gauche" or with the left hand. It is also considered that we can only see ghosts if we look over our left shoulder and that the Devil watches us over the left shoulder."

    http://www.anythingleft-handed.co.uk/lefty_myths.html#1

    So, by parity of reasoning, the left foot would be the devil's foot. Hence, by kissing the left foot, aren't we kissing the devil?

    The Vatican needs to issue an official statement on which foot is the sacred foot, the left foot or the right foot.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Is "Joseph" aware of the fact that, traditionally, the left hand is the devil's hand

    Slight modification:

    Are people aware of the fact that in traditional common usage the Left is considered a near-equivalent to Liberal?

    And if the Left hand is the devil's hand, and then we substitute in the near-equivalent, what we'll have is ...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Steve, there has to be some difference between the hand and the foot then. That must be it.

    ReplyDelete
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