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  #1  
Old Jan 7, '07, 7:09 pm
Sir Knight Sir Knight is offline
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Default Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

When I was growing up, we use to address the priests by their first name -- meaning, we would say "Father" and their first name. Then about 20-30 years ago I noticed a change with priests being addressed by their last name ("Father" and their last name).

Anyone else notice this and have any idea why the change happened?
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  #2  
Old Jan 7, '07, 7:19 pm
StephanieC StephanieC is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Could it be a regional thing, rather than a generational one?

Just asking, I don't know.
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  #3  
Old Jan 7, '07, 7:46 pm
mystified mystified is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Sometimes this variation is because the priest, himself, has asked people to address him this way. I know a "Bishop James" (his first name), his preference. This has been helpful when I encountered three brothers who all became priests, and in large dioceses where there are several Father Kellys.

Also, priests of religious orders often are called "Father John" or "Father Hiacynth" or "Abbot Michael", rather than "Father Smith". It's just a custom.
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  #4  
Old Jan 7, '07, 8:03 pm
Caesar Caesar is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

I have found that the more formal way is to address the priest
with their last name unless you know them well or they request otherwise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystified View Post
Also, priests of religious orders often are called "Father John" or "Father Hiacynth" or "Abbot Michael", rather than "Father Smith". It's just a custom.
This might be because in some orders the religious will take a new name.
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  #5  
Old Jan 7, '07, 8:16 pm
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Cool Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Quote:
Originally Posted by mystified View Post
Sometimes this variation is because the priest, himself, has asked people to address him this way. I know a "Bishop James" (his first name), his preference. This has been helpful when I encountered three brothers who all became priests, and in large dioceses where there are several Father Kellys.

Also, priests of religious orders often are called "Father John" or "Father Hiacynth" or "Abbot Michael", rather than "Father Smith". It's just a custom.
Of course that can lead to conflict too.

tee,
Who attended an ordered high school with too many "Fr Bob"'s associated with it.
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  #6  
Old Jan 7, '07, 8:34 pm
jbuck919 jbuck919 is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

This is all very culturally determined. Do you want to know how Pope Paul VI (Giovanni Battista Montini) was addressed when he was a young curate? Don Battista.
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  #7  
Old Jan 8, '07, 5:46 am
Servulus Servulus is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Most of the priests I've met who prefer the "Father Bob" approach have been those who wanted to be "relevant" or "just one of the guys". I've also noticed that the laity who are most comfortable with this form of address are those who tend to downplay the importance of the sacramental priesthood.

I don't address my physician as "Doctor Tom", a military officer as "Admiral Willy", or the local magistrate as "Judge Harry". It would also seem strange if any of those people addressed me as "Mister Fred".

It's a question of respect.
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  #8  
Old Jan 8, '07, 5:49 am
puzzleannie puzzleannie is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

in my former quite liberal diocese the form of address was Fr. Smith, in my current quite observant orthodox diocese, the perferred address is Fr. Pat, not even Fr. Patrick. We do say Fr. Bob Smith and Fr. Bob Jones in converstation, and we use Msgr. only to distinguish two priests with the same way (there are only a couple of cases). This is also a much smaller diocese in area and population and has fewer than 1/4 the priests of the former diocese.
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  #9  
Old Jan 8, '07, 9:35 am
Sr Sally Sr Sally is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Quote:
Originally Posted by Servulus View Post
Most of the priests I've met who prefer the "Father Bob" approach have been those who wanted to be "relevant" or "just one of the guys". I've also noticed that the laity who are most comfortable with this form of address are those who tend to downplay the importance of the sacramental priesthood.

I don't address my physician as "Doctor Tom", a military officer as "Admiral Willy", or the local magistrate as "Judge Harry". It would also seem strange if any of those people addressed me as "Mister Fred".

It's a question of respect.
We call the Pope by what is in effect a first name. He is not Pope Ratzinger, but Pope Benedict. The same for Saints and Biblical personages. We also address them by first name. When a religious changes their name--it is their first name they change and their first name that they are called by.

I do believe there is some regional variation. But I suspect that those priests calling themselves by their last name (ie, Father last name) are doing so in an attempt to be more formal. Not because those priests who call themselves "Father Bob" want to be buddy-buddy with the congregation. But likely because the congregation shows little respect for the priest, judge, doctor, or admiral no matter what they would prefer to be called.
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  #10  
Old Jan 8, '07, 10:28 am
netmilsmom netmilsmom is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Quote:
Originally Posted by Servulus View Post
Most of the priests I've met who prefer the "Father Bob" approach have been those who wanted to be "relevant" or "just one of the guys". I've also noticed that the laity who are most comfortable with this form of address are those who tend to downplay the importance of the sacramental priesthood..
Maybe, but not all of them.
My pastor and parish priests all go by Fr. "first name" and they are the most orthodox and non-modern priests around.

Now, when I was a child, my Great-Uncle was Fr. John and my Uncle was Fr. Gil.
My cousins called them Uncle. My mother insisted on "Father" for both of them.
As I do with my children.
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  #11  
Old Jan 8, '07, 10:50 am
Evan Evan is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Another aspect to consider is that some last names are hard to pronounce. At least from the spelling:

Our previous pastor when by Fr <<first name>> and his last name was Bellique (I think that's how it is spelled)

Our new pastor is Fr <<last name>> and his last name is Young.

He had some problem with our hispanic members calling him Padre Joven. He could not figure out for a while why they used that name, till he realized 'joven' is spanish for 'young'. Now, I think they call him Fr Young.
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  #12  
Old Jan 8, '07, 1:53 pm
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AngelRose81 AngelRose81 is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan View Post
Another aspect to consider is that some last names are hard to pronounce.
We have a priest like that. Our main pastors last name is Kirk so we call him Fr. Kirk. But our associate pastor is from Africa, Nigeria I think and no one knows how to pronounce his name I don't think so we call him Fr. Anthony.

I do like him though b/c he does a lot of the Mass in Latin sometimes and its so beautiful!
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  #13  
Old Jan 8, '07, 1:58 pm
Khoria Anna Khoria Anna is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

In the Eastern churches, the priest is usually Father (first name). That first name is the one the bishop used in ordaining him, which may or may not be the actual first name on the ordinands birth certificate. The last name is only used to differentiate i.e. are we talking about Father John Smith or Father John Jones. It's considered mildly insulting to address a priest father last name.
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  #14  
Old Jan 8, '07, 1:58 pm
Trevelyan Trevelyan is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

I think it's entirely a regional/cultural thing.

Here in Australia, it is normal to address a priest 'Fr Smith', unless he asks you to call him 'Fr John'.

And I think this is just an extension of the cultural norm of calling someone 'Mr Jones' until/unless he asks you to Call him 'Bob'.

Then again, I think just 'Father' is the more common form of address, depending on the circumstances.

EDIT:
Our diocese has two priests over from India, and we just call them Fr Matthew and Fr Thomas - because their last names are quite hard to pronounce.
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  #15  
Old Jan 8, '07, 6:18 pm
Other Eric Other Eric is offline
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Default Re: Addressing a priest ... Fr. «First Name» VS Fr. «Last Name»

It is the custon in English-speaking countries to use the surname as a form of address out of respect. As I see it, the use of a surname to refer to a priest is the only way to refer to him, even if he would have you use the less formal form of address. We must remember that the respect that we show to the man is a distant second to the respect we should have for the office he holds.
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