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  #1  
Old Apr 9, '12, 8:20 pm
indiecath indiecath is offline
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Default Pope speaks in the third person

If you ever watch old movies about the pope or a pope. The Holy Father refers in the third person as "we" or "us". Why is this?
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  #2  
Old Apr 9, '12, 8:35 pm
MarkThompson MarkThompson is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by indiecath View Post
If you ever watch old movies about the pope or a pope. The Holy Father refers in the third person as "we" or "us". Why is this?
That is not speaking the third person, but in the plural. For that, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_plural.
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Old Apr 9, '12, 8:44 pm
indiecath indiecath is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by MarkThompson View Post
That is not speaking the third person, but in the plural. For that, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majestic_plural.
Well that's speaking in the third person.
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Old Apr 9, '12, 8:51 pm
MarkThompson MarkThompson is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by indiecath View Post
Well that's speaking in the third person.
No, it's the first person plural. The third person would be "he" (singular) or "they" (plural).
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  #5  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:22 pm
SFNyssa SFNyssa is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

I believe it is parallel to the Royal "We". The Queen of England, for instance, uses the Royal "We" in formal declarations, when she is representing the Institution of the Crown.
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  #6  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:26 pm
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Julia Mae Julia Mae is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by MarkThompson View Post
No, it's the first person plural. The third person would be "he" (singular) or "they" (plural).
Right. It called the "royal we." here's an explanation off the 'net:

Quote:
The first-person plural pronoun used by a king or queen to refer to himself or herself, for example, "We are not amused," a line attributed to Queen Victoria.

As it's often used by newspaper editors, the term is also known as the "editorial we". Mark Twain once said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we'."

ETYMOLOGY:
[From Old French roial, from Latin regalis (kingly) + Old English we. The practice of using "we" to refer to oneself is called nosism.

USAGE:
"Lately [Margaret Thatcher] has seemed to take almost a regal view of her position, using the royal we. On a television program after the birth of her first grandchild she said, 'We have become a grandmother.'"
Anthony Lewis; Is It Thatcher's Britain?; The New York Times; Mar 23, 1989.
http://wordsmith.org/words/royal_we.html
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  #7  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:32 pm
Edmundus1581 Edmundus1581 is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

I thought that it was not just in old movies, but is a current practice.

I had an vague impression of Pope John Paul II using it, but looking at his encyclical ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS where he makes a binding judgement I see...

" I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Just curious about:

1. Does the pope still use it?
2. Might previous popes have used "we" in the above statement?
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  #8  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:51 pm
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onjac onjac is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by Edmundus1581 View Post
I thought that it was not just in old movies, but is a current practice.

I had an vague impression of Pope John Paul II using it, but looking at his encyclical ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS where he makes a binding judgement I see...

" I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

Just curious about:

1. Does the pope still use it?
2. Might previous popes have used "we" in the above statement?
Are you talking about the papal "we"?

I just looked through The Light of the World again. Our Holy Father uses both "I" and "We". Pope John Paul II used "I" and I think that previous popes have used "I" as well. They probably did use "We" but it must have a long time ago.
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  #9  
Old Apr 9, '12, 9:52 pm
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The_Scott The_Scott is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

Edmundus,

I just checked online at the Latin version of the text, and it uses the first person plural. So the instances of "I" above were small liberties taken by the translator (who may understand the oddness in English of referring to oneself in the plural).
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  #10  
Old Apr 9, '12, 10:38 pm
Edmundus1581 Edmundus1581 is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

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Originally Posted by The_Scott View Post
Edmundus,

I just checked online at the Latin version of the text, and it uses the first person plural. So the instances of "I" above were small liberties taken by the translator (who may understand the oddness in English of referring to oneself in the plural).
Thanks for the research!
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  #11  
Old Apr 9, '12, 11:32 pm
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YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
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Default Re: Pope speaks in the third person

The Popes still use the first person plural. If you read the English translations of Papal documents, some of them are very good about using "We," "Us," "Our," and "Ourself," while others are not and use "I," "me," "my," and "myself." Curiously, if you look at the Latin originals, they are almost always in the first person plural. I attribute this to different... styles... in the Secretariat of State, which I believe is responsible for translations. The first time I read "Ourself," I was a bit confuzzled.

Usually in homilies nowadays the Pope will speak in the first person singular. But in rituals like creating cardinals and the Urbi et Orbi blessings, he speaks in the first person plural.

I am not sure where this has its historical groundings. By all means, I hope this is always retained into the future, but I have two theories as to its historical origin.

1) The Pope speaks with the entirety of his office, which includes not only himself, but also the authority of 264 other men with him.

2) It was common for important personages back in the day (and even somewhat nowadays) to use the first person plural.

I wager it is a combination of both.
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