Originally Posted by Armor of Light
When I was a kid in the 70's we still referred to all priest by their last names..
When did that change? Do you still call priests by their last name?
I just kind of noticed this for some reason..
There are a number of reasons here. The answer is not as simple as people think. CAF is going to put more grey on my head than I already have, because CAFers tend to either find answers that are too simple or to complex. What gives with that?
1. If you are a member of a religious order, you would not have used your last name until after Vatican II. Therefore, those who are older would use their first names only.
2. If you belong to one of the new religious communities that are returning to tradition, you no longer use last names. You actually change your name. I was born Michael. My religious name is Jason Richard. No one knows me by Michael. We never use our last names except on civil documents.
3. If you belonged to certain cultures, even if you're a secular priest, you would use the first name, because that is the custom on certain countries: France, Italy, and Spain come to mind. Therefore, you will often read or hear references made to Don Giovanni for St. John Bosco, Monsieur Vicent, for St. Vincent de Paul and Monsieur Jean Marie Batiste for St. John Vianney, Brother Juan de la Cruz (John of the Cross), Brother Francesco (St. Francis), Brother Bonaventure (St. Bonaventure). If you observe, only the modern saints have last names. That's because they were known by their first name.
Who ever heard of St. Teresa de Ahumada or St. Therese Martin? The reason that we refer to St. John Vianney by his last name is because the number of Johns in the canon of saints is in the hundreds. Just like every Francis after St. Francis of Assisi is known by two names. But no one knows St. Giovanni Bernadone (Francis of Assisi's legal name).
As the world becomes smaller, traditions from different cultures blend. In Florida, we have a very large Hispanic and Haitian Catholic population. Neither group has ever used surnames for priests. Most priests here are known by their first name
Originally Posted by ringil
I think it's funny that in Boston it's Cardinal Sean.
Sean is a Capuchin Franciscan. We did not have last names when he entered the order. The custom was to assign you a name that went with your first name. His actual name is Patrick O'Malley. He became Friar Sean Patrick. Today, he is Cardinal Sean. He was my superior for a number of years. A very holy man.
Archbishop Chaput also comes from the same province as Cardinal Sean and I came from. However, the Archbishop entered later. By the time he entered, the custom had changed. He remained Charles Joseph Chaput, hence Archbishop Chaput.
Today, the Capuchin reform and those communities that are coming out of the Capuchin reform such as my own and that of the CFR are back to religious names and no last names. Fr. Benedict Groeschel is still using his last name, because he is a psychologist. In the academic world he is known as Dr. Groeschel. In my case, no one has any need to know my family name. I'm not famous. LOL.
Br. JR, FFV