Forms of address for clergy - etiquette


My future in-laws are not Catholic. Is it correct and/or common for them to still refer to our priest (in his presence) as “Father so-and-so”? I looked in different etiquette books, one that said non-Catholics should refer to the priest as “Reverend”, the other said “Father” is still fine.

Also, when addressing him via mail, I am almost positive that I should use “Rev. Smith”.

Thanks for your help!


Since you asked:

And I liked this site the best:

I would not worry overmuch, as long as they don’t call him “Satan’s spawn” or just glare at him menacingly.:wink:



I don’t think any priest would be offended if someone called them Father *** I’m sure some of the links that were provided can give you the proper way to formally address them for things such as invitations and the such, but in general personal contact I would think Father would be appropriate.


I’m not yet a catholic but I see a lot of our priest (well one of them at least) through our school. most schools in Ireland are catholic so you’d as likely bump into one of the priests going about your day as you would a teacher. I’ve always adressed him as “Father…X” whether talking directly to him, refering to him in conversation or in written form.

As a protestant I found it a bit strange when I moved here as in my own country the majority would be protestant. It’s never been judged by anyone as being out of place or weird or anything.

But then he is a really nice guy.:smiley:


Yes it is quite common. Some priests prefer you to use their first name and some prefer you to use their last name.


That’s curious, I thought it was a status thing. Our curates are adressed as "Father “First name” and the Parish Priest is adressed as "Monsignoir “Second name”.


Nope, it is a personal preference thing with either term, Father or Monsignoir.


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