I am a recent convert into the Catholic Church (Deo Gratias!), and I was wondering how we address clergy from Protestant Denominations (any of the denoms is good to look at, but I was especially wondering about the Episcopal Church *). I know that they do not have valid apostolic sucession, and therefore do not have valid Holy Orders; so I figured it would be incorrect/(wrong?) to address a Protestant minister as “Father” or “Rev.” (and with the advent of female clergy in many of the Protestant denominations it gets even more confusing), but then there’s the issue of courtesy. What is everyones’ take on it?
(My guess would be it is ok for addressing Eastern Orthodox clergy by their titles, seeing as they have valid sucession.)*
I grow more and more staunch in my Catholic faith and beliefs by the day, but that has not, nor will it ever change my own belief that the only respectful thing to do is to refer to ALL men and women by their title, or whatever title they prefer. I certainly think Christ wants us to be respectful of all, regardless of their office or affiliation.
Your Holiness, Father, Pastor, Mr., Mrs., Ms., Miss., Your Royal Highness, Msgr., Your Majesty, etc…
I am not a subject of The Queen of Great Britain, but if I ever met her, I would address her as ‘Your Majesty,’ even though she has absolutely NO authority over me, personally. It’s just the right thing to do. The same holds true for clergy of other Christian faiths.
I tend to refer to clergy and ministers from other Churches by the title they prefer for courtesy. In the Ireland of my father’s era when growing up it was common for Catholic to refer to Protestant clergy as Mr. to show respect but also establish a difference between Catholic and Protestant clergy and ministers.
I grew up in a town with lots of Lutherans and Catholics. My dad regularly wore his clericals, and Catholics were often say hi to him, “Hi Father”. Dad never blinked, and would say hi in return. He knew that was their practice, and respected it.
Respect, courtesy, manners, one to another, is always the best practice.
Different Protestant traditions have different traditions - and they may vary within denominations, from congregation to congregation.
If the minister has a doctorate, Dr. always is appropriate, of course.
Lutherans normally are Pastors. Episcopalians often are Fathers, but not always. That was an issue in my hometown. Some Episcopalian laity favored it, others did not.
Methodists often are pastors. But they usually aren't offended if they are called Reverend, though this is not correct if one wants to be fussy.
I recall one incident that goes back many years. An elderly Methodist pastor from Puerto Rico was called Father by a child who was passing by, even though the pastor never wore a collar. I was nearby at the time. The minister responded by saying in a grandfatherly manner: "Young man, I hope you have a wonderful father at home, and you certainly have a wonderful Father in heaven, but I am neither." He went on to suggest using Pastor.
Some Congregationalists use Mr. rather than a title. Ditto for Presbyterians. But Pastor or Reverend is probably more common.
In most mainline Protestant churches today, the Pastor is called by his or first name by adult members of their congregations today. Children and youth use a title, and sometimes older members do, too.
In some evangelical circles Brother may be heard. Occasionally Preacher or Parson, old titles less heard today.
I hope Christ would forgive me but I’ll never refer to the queen as your majesty. Not after she screwed Ireland out of a united nation all because of bad blood she got over her uncle. But I’m biased on that subject, being Irish, so there ya go