Pope Francis naming priests Monsignor

It was my understanding that in 2013, Pope Francis suspended the granting of the title “Monsignor” to all priests except for those in the Vatican diplomatic service.

I thought it was still suspended. However, I just happened to read an article from 2017 where a diocesan priest was named monsignor who had never been in the diplomatic corps and had spent his whole career doing things around the diocese like be a parish pastor, be rector of a home for retired priests, and serve for a short time as an assistant in the diocese youth ministry office. The article mentioned that the priest was totally surprised to get the letter from the Vatican about this because the priest also thought the Vatican had stopped naming priests “monsignor”.

Anybody have any further information on this? Anybody know any other recently named monsignors not in the diplomatic corps?

My understanding is that Pope Francis didn’t ban all conferral of the Monsignor title, but he did establish a minimum age (65 maybe?) for priests to be named Monsignor. But I could be wrong…overheard a priest say that a few years back but never confirmed it.

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Still ok if it is for a diocesan priest over 65

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I read further and I saw the Pope had named 8 other priests from the Archdiocese as Monsignors also. They were each over the age limit and each had at least 40 years as a priest. So it sounds like he probably has created quite a few Monsignors.

I know the Pope said one of his objections to the title was that clerics tried to get it for “careerism”. Obviously giving it to priests who are hitting retirement age kinda does away with that and it becomes just a nice honor for the older priests.

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Right. That’s pretty much what Pope Francis is going for. He’s not eliminating the title altogether, he is just using it more as an honor for service already rendered, not an honor for service that will hopefully be rendered in the coming decades. :slight_smile:

Of course, I still know some young monsignors who were named so prior to Pope Francis’ change.

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There are multiple layers to this issue. The article originally cited is in regards specifically to priests under the authority of the Holy See (those who work under the authority of the political and curial structures of the Vatican). No priest who works for the Vatican may be automatically made a monsignor when they reach a certain position other than the diplomatic corps who use the title to give special envoys authority to represent the Vatican. This is not a rule which applies to priests belonging to dioceses, even the Diocese of Rome.

This is where the previous rules come into play. Priests cannot personally become monsignors if they are under 65. They can, however, receive the title if they fill an authoritative position within the diocese which requires hierarchical authority, like a rector of a Cathedral, Chancellor of a diocese, and the Vicar General. The assignation of a monsignorate to these positions is at the will of the bishop. Once the priest leaves this position, however, they lose their monsignorate unless they are over 65 and it has been personally awarded by the bishop for their service to the diocese.

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Is there any restriction on religious order priests being named monsignor?

My own preference is that the title be abolished completely, except those who already have it can retain it. A few generations ago people were better catechized about sacraments.

The Church had the luxury of several minor orders, with sort-of clerics, and multiple ranks of monsignors (14, prior to the 1970s).

Today there is ignorance and ambiguity, with some priests trying to act like “one of the guys”, and some lay ministers seemingly almost clericalized. Boundaries are blurred.

Better to focus on Deacon, Priest, Bishop.

All priests should be honored in retirement, and in service. We don’t have special titles for Extra Good Husbands, as compared to the regular ones.

May I ask, what does the title Monsignor mean? Sorry to be clueless!

It’s an honorific title derived from the Italian words for “my lord” (mon signore).

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Does it bestow any benefits or just a recognition of outstanding work or service? Thanks!

It’s just an honor, when it’s applied to parish priests. Decades ago, many older priests with decades of service got the title, especially if they had any connections to Rome, like they studied there or knew people or knew a bishop who knew people.

I understand it’s also a title given to certain people who work for the Vatican in a diplomatic capacity, and it may have a different meaning for them.

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Thanks. I happen to know a Jesuit Priest who is extremely knowledgeable of enterprise tech and he recently was assigned to the Vatican. We were all so excited and happy for him! And, he’s enjoying it though struggling a bit with Italian. He’s neither a diplomat nor anywhere near 65 but I was curious if he might someday be honored in some fashion. He’s an amazing ambassador for Catholicism in the tech industry…an area noted for its atheists…and has dealt with argumentative atheists in the most humorous and charitable manner I’ve ever seen. I expect that he might go far due not only to his tech know how but his interactions with a sometimes hostile group!

Sounds like a Monsignor title wouldn’t be in his future, though.

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I’m sure that if he’s true to his Jesuit spirituality, he’s very happy doing what he’s doing and is not in it for the honors :slight_smile:

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At certain liturgical functions, a precedence of honor. But no extra pay or authority. You don’t have to be a monsignor to be named a bishop.

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He’s the LAST person I could imagine wanting any honors. It’s one of the reasons I feel he’ll someday deserve one! :joy:. He’s a credit to the Catholic faith and Priests in general.

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When our longtime Bishop (who had never nominated any of his priests to be named a Monsignor) was preparing to retire in 1991, he did nominate six of his close collaborators as a thank you for their special service to him and the diocese.

One of the six was my pastor at the time. I asked him what becoming a Monsignor meant to him.

Ever the master of the understatement he said with a wry smile, “What does it mean? About a thousand dollars out of my pocket for new cassocks.”

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In the article you linked to, it stated that the suspension would continue “at least until October”. This indicates that Pope Francis didn’t intend for it to be permanent or even for the rest of his reign, but rather for a temporary period of time.

We’re not all atheists. Honestly, if you learn a bit of physics, my experience is that it is awfully hard to be an atheist.

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Could it be that he was named a mosignor before the Pope’s suppression?

I’ve met several Jesuits over the years and they were pretty much all like that. They all did quite a lot of amazing stuff, but kept quiet about it and didn’t expect or get any special recognition. Especially the younger ones.

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