His religious initials


When is a priest required to write, print, or type his religious initials after his last name?

  For example: Reverend Benjamin Reynolds, FSSP


usually at all times, but especially when he is operating as such.



Many of the religious I have met view their post-nominals as part of their name. They may sign off an email with the short form “Fr. Thomas” instead of “Fr. Thomas Brown, C.Ss.R,” but I would expect to see the latter on everything from cheque books, essays, and the like. The strictness of this of course varies from one religious to another. The point is that those letters are really different from credentials like “PhD.” The letters signify a sense of belonging to a particular community; kind of like how a surname signifies belonging to a family.

Here is a discussion a buddy of mine shared with me that might be helpful. It is from bustedhalo…


I have tended to put my postnominals down everywhere I am not anonymous. (Come to think of it, this may be the only place apart from letters with my family where I don’t use them.)


Almost at all times because it shows that there from a religious order or society.

For example

Fr. Mitch Pacwa ,SJ


I’m interested to see you all put Fr/Reverend in front of the name. The practice I grew up with was that the initials of the order replace the need for the title at the beginning, so I would EITHER write Fr Joseph Kennedy OR Joseph Kennedy CSJ but not both. And with a strong tendency to use the latter, which means in fact that I only use the written title Fr for secular priests, and always the order’s initials for religious. Does this have any basis in fact or was I just taught wrong?


Batfink (never thought I’d write THAT! :p), I think part of the reason people might use both initials and title is that some members of religious orders are Brothers. So, for example, Rick Curry, SJ, is a brother, but without putting “Br.” in front of his name, many might assume he is a priest. Anyway, that’s just my explanation…


The initials after the name shows that he is from a religious order. Diocesan priests do not have initials after their names.
For example:
Fr. John Doe, OFM means that Fr. John is from the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) but if it is just Fr. John Doe then he probably is a diocesan priest and does not belong to any religious order.


No, I think that’s the older style. My friend usually signs things, including email, as John , CM. He generally only includes the Fr./Rev. on formal stuff, or if he isn’t too familiar with someone. :shrug:


I received a telephone call from the Catholic priest who had been the previous pastor here.
Father explained that at one time he had the initials VF after his last name.
VF stands for Vicar Forane.
Father had been appointed by the Bishop of the diocese to represent the Bishop in this county which is part of the diocese.
Father is no longer is a Vicar Forane.


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