Pope stops conferring title 'monsignor' on priests [CWN]


#1

Pope Francis has stopped conferring the title “monsignor” on priests.The Italian daily Il Messagero has reported that shortly after his election, the Pope instructed the Secretariat of …

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#2

Wow. Why only until October, I wonder?:confused:


#3

[quote="Luigi_Daniele, post:2, topic:339097"]
Wow. Why only until October, I wonder?:confused:

[/quote]

Because that's when the 8 Cardinals report back to the Holy Father and advise him about governance of the church.


#4

[quote="4givemeasinner, post:3, topic:339097"]
Because that's when the 8 Cardinals report back to the Holy Father and advise him about governance of the church.

[/quote]

Ahh, OK. Thank you! :thumbsup:


#5

During the last conclave all of us were responding to the wacky speculations of the "liberals" (real or perceived) by saying that whoever gets elected will not be making huge changes. When it comes to certain things like "women priests" we were correct of course; the Holy Spirit will protect the doctrine and sacramental life of the Church.

I've found that among some of my friends this line of thinking has continued in the sense of denying that Pope Francis will make any big changes at all. But so far this Pope has struck me as very likely to make serious and surprising changes. Hopefully good ones, though I know that I personally will probably find it difficult and have to struggle.

I wonder if we will see the title disappear entirely or if it's just that the process for elevating people to this position will be changed (or, theoretically, the Pope could decide the current process is fine after all and things would return to normal).

It is my understanding that new bishops are almost always chosen from among monsignors. Thus while some priests are elevated to that honor in recognition of a lifetime of valuable service to the Church or things like that, for others it's to put them on the short list for potential new bishops. Therefore I can't help but speculate that this could be related to wider changes in the works for how bishops are chosen. Again, just pure speculation.


#6

Is Pope Francis going to start changing tradition, with a little "t"???


#7

In the late 1960s Pope Paul reduced the number of categories of Monsignor down to 3 - used to be 14!
I am not a priest, so there may be features I don't know, but I see no reason for not eliminating this "rank", while letting all current holders keep their title. There should be more specific focus on Holy Orders, as sacrament - deacon, priest, bishop. Non Catholics, and sometimes Catholics, are confused about this intermediate title.
Since Monsignor means "my lord" I can see this pope questioning that title.
Pope Paul also eliminated other "clerical" type titles that were once conferred prior to the diaconate, but which had more or less lost their historical function, at least at that point.

I have not heard of any religious order priests being monsignors. Under current policy, are they appointed as such? Do the Eastern Catholic or Orthodox churches use this title?
I also wonder if groups like the Polish National Catholic Church or SSPX use this title. I believe both those groups still use other eliminated-by-Rome titles, such as Subdeacon; wonder how their titles would be affected if there is a future merger into Rome.


#8

Byzantines have honorary titles such as Archimandrite, Igumen, Chorbishop, Archpriest or Protopresbyter, Mitered Archpriest, Archdeacon, and Protodeacon.


#9

[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:5, topic:339097"]
It is my understanding that new bishops are almost always chosen from among monsignors. Thus while some priests are elevated to that honor in recognition of a lifetime of valuable service to the Church or things like that, for others it's to put them on the short list for potential new bishops. Therefore I can't help but speculate that this could be related to wider changes in the works for how bishops are chosen. Again, just pure speculation.

[/quote]

I agree with this speculation, although we should look into the value of the tile, and check if it has gone unchanged for the centuries, or became just a means to tag priests over the rest, giving them a highlight when picking candidates for bishops. Like many things Pope Francis has done throughout this year, this one has me impressed. Tradition shouldn't take major hits, but if this speculation turns out to be true, then it's a safe thing to do it. :thumbsup:


#10

[quote="Aelred_Minor, post:5, topic:339097"]
It is my understanding that new bishops are almost always chosen from among monsignors. Thus while some priests are elevated to that honor in recognition of a lifetime of valuable service to the Church or things like that, for others it's to put them on the short list for potential new bishops. Therefore I can't help but speculate that this could be related to wider changes in the works for how bishops are chosen. Again, just pure speculation.

[/quote]

In the past year, 2 priests from my diocese have been elevated to bishop.

Our Chancellor was appointed an Auxiliary of our diocese; he was just Fr.

My vocation director was unexpectedly appointed bishop of a neighbouring diocese; he also was just Fr.

So it's not always the case, at least here in Western Canada (outside of Vancouver especially).


#11

The priests I know who are Monsignors (or should that be Monsignori...?) have that title either by virtue of their role as senior (in the sense of role not age) priests of the diocese. I am however aware of one priest (now sadly deceased) who received the title as recognition for basically being a much loved priest for over 50 years. I agree though that, to the uninitiated the title is confusing. Perhaps one option for reform would be to keep the title but specify in greater detail when it should be granted and also remove the "extras" which accompany it (I'm thinking in terms of clerical dress here).


#12

[quote="coachkfan1, post:6, topic:339097"]
Is Pope Francis going to start changing tradition, with a little "t"???

[/quote]

The media constantly portrays Francis as One Who Changes, while they constantly portrayed JP II as "conservative".
Here are some highlights of JP II:

Public "apologies" for the human frailties of the Church - several
Changed Rosary
Changed Stations of the Cross
First Catechism in 4 centuries
First new Code of Canon Law (since 1917)
First pope to enter a mosque in 1400 years
Prayer alongside many non-Christian believers in Assisi
Divine Mercy emphasized in totally different (formerly controversial) way

Significant outreach to Eastern Orthodoxy (people forget it was just a few years earlier Pope Paul and the EO Patriarch had revoked mutual excommunications)

Significant outreach to persons in the Church but alienated due to attachment to the Traditional Latin Mass

He reorganized the Curia - Francis is not the first pope, and won't be the last pope, to do that.

These are just a few points that came to mind from a man the Media, to this day, claimed
and still claim to be an opponent of change. If the Media was, and is, so blatantly dishonest describing JP II as an opponent of change, you can judge the credibility of the Media when they love to describe Francis as a loose canon, threatening to make traditional Catholics nervous with changes. The media's agenda is to try to make one pope contradict other popes, to undermine Catholicism.


#13

:tiphat:I guess the idea is to maybe hold off,a on using the title or maybe making more stringent criteria for giving someone the title. My dad's cousin Edgar was a monsignor in Germany.He passed away last year. Maybe in some places there were too many named,hence the reason to shelve it for a while. I'm sure Pope Francis has his reasons.


#14

I really don't see the point in eliminating the title, maybe handing it out a bit less, but not eliminating it.

I can think of some priests who have received the title who were definitely worthy of recognition, but had never been recognized otherwise.


#15

In answer to whether eastern rites and others use titles other than bishop, priest, and deacon--yes, the eastern Catholics have had monsignors but not the Orthodox because that is a Roman title. The fssp uses all the titles graduating to the priesthood and they have not lost their meaning at all, really. Porter, lector, acolyte, subdeacon, etc are all steps leading to the priesthood and there are ceremonies for each of these. Altar boys are the acolytes and there was some hope that they would become priests. We have subdeacons in our parish (fssp) and even a layman can participate in the ceremony as a straw subdeacon if there are not enough priests or deacons to do the part. They do very well. Even some teens can do it and they take it seriously. I love these traditions because they prepare people for things and are rites of passage for some. I am sure that if the sspx came back, they would be able to keep the titles because of their old rite Mass. The church has always been generous toward groups coming into the church or formed within the church to keep their traditions such as the eastern rites. Most changes of any significance affects the Novus Ordo parishes rather than Anglican Usage or fssp or any eastern rites. They all have their own traditions and it works better that way rather than forcing everyone to give up their traditions to merge into a watered down liturgy that others may not prefer. I think some differences make the church better for more people. As for monsignor, well, that is up to the pope.


#16

Perhaps it should be pointed out that this title is a very new one. It evolved around the 17th century.

Also in some countries (France for sure; I'm not sure about Italy or Spanish-speaking countries like Argentina) bishops are also called by this title, which might be seen as confusing.

Finally I guess Vatican diplomats or at least some of them are called "monsignor" too, without entrance into any of the three "levels" or whatever they should be called of monsignors, and this halt in conferring the title has not changed that. I'd say there's definitely room for change here, to make the title either more clearly significant of something in particular or else to get rid of it entirely.


#17

[quote="curlycool89, post:10, topic:339097"]
In the past year, 2 priests from my diocese have been elevated to bishop.

Our Chancellor was appointed an Auxiliary of our diocese; he was just Fr.

My vocation director was unexpectedly appointed bishop of a neighbouring diocese; he also was just Fr.

So it's not always the case, at least here in Western Canada (outside of Vancouver especially).

[/quote]

Interesting. Maybe monsignor is not used as a shortlist for potential future priests to the degree I was led to believe. On the other hand, I know that many monsignors prefer to still be called "Fr.", so perhaps these men actually were monsignors?


#18

[quote="mtngal25, post:15, topic:339097"]
In answer to whether eastern rites and others use titles other than bishop, priest, and deacon--yes, the eastern Catholics have had monsignors but not the Orthodox because that is a Roman title. The fssp uses all the titles graduating to the priesthood and they have not lost their meaning at all, really. Porter, lector, acolyte, subdeacon, etc are all steps leading to the priesthood and there are ceremonies for each of these. Altar boys are the acolytes and there was some hope that they would become priests. We have subdeacons in our parish (fssp) and even a layman can participate in the ceremony as a straw subdeacon if there are not enough priests or deacons to do the part. They do very well. Even some teens can do it and they take it seriously. I love these traditions because they prepare people for things and are rites of passage for some. I am sure that if the sspx came back, they would be able to keep the titles because of their old rite Mass. The church has always been generous toward groups coming into the church or formed within the church to keep their traditions such as the eastern rites. Most changes of any significance affects the Novus Ordo parishes rather than Anglican Usage or fssp or any eastern rites. They all have their own traditions and it works better that way rather than forcing everyone to give up their traditions to merge into a watered down liturgy that others may not prefer. I think some differences make the church better for more people. As for monsignor, well, that is up to the pope.

[/quote]

Porter, lector, acolyte, subdeacon, etc. are not honorific titles.


#19

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