Capital Offences

Unfortunately this topic is not as exciting as the title suggests.

It’s simply this - I was writing a response in another topic and instead of “The Pope” I called Francis - Our holy father.

Should I have written:-

Our Holy Father?

Or is that reserved for God alone? Sorry seems like a silly question. But for those that write - Our Holy Father meaning the Pope, how would you present a defense for such a decision?

Under modern conventions of grammar, titles are uppercase when they refer to a specific person. This is not anything that the Church imposes, but is a convention of (English) language in general. Thus, it is convention to uppercase “Speaker of the House” or “Member of Parliament” when the title refers to a specific person. If the title is used in a generic sense (such as, “the speaker of the house is third-in-line for succession to the presidency”) then lowercase is allowed (but uppercase is not discouraged). We capitalize “Doctor Smith,” but not “see your doctor.”

Such conventions are rather recent - barely a century old.

FWIW, some adopt the convention of uppercasing personal pronouns (he, his) when they refer to God or Jesus. This is more prevalent within protestant styles of writing.

There are no theological “rules” about this whatsoever.

Thanks david :wink:

Excellent response.

Oh really?
Being educated by Sisters of Charity and Jesuits, I have always been told to capitalize God, Jesus, Our Lady, etc.
I consider it a very “Catholic” thing.
I know when attending a “catholic” college, they omitted this in papers and classes.
But I always capitalize.

These are titles. We are in complete agreement here.

I consider it a very “Catholic” thing.
I know when attending a “catholic” college, they omitted this in papers and classes.

Are you saying that ANY Catholic college permits students to submit papers in which terms such as God, or Jesus, or Our Lady are accepted in lowercase?

Would you care to name such an academic institution?

Sorry, I was talking about “Him” for God, or Jesus.
Not the titles. Sorry if I’m not as clear as you’d like.

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