What should a Protestant call a priest?


#1

I have a Protestant co-worker who asked me a question that I cannot answer. He is a member of one of the Protestant religions that take the “call no man Father” line literally and therefore he refuses to call priests “Father.” He was wanting to know if there is a respectful alternative. Is there something he could call a priest to whom he is talking other than “Father”? Let’s assume that he does not know the priest in question personally, so calling him by his first name is not an option.


#2

Calling a priest by his first name really isn’t an option anyway unless your friend is a close personal friend of the priest and the priest doesn’t mind being addressed by his first name. To call a priest one doesn’t have a close friendship with by his first name would be the equivalent of calling your physician “Sam” instead of “Dr. Jones.”

Your friend could use the title he uses for his own ministers for Catholic priests. Most priests would not mind being called “Reverend” or “Pastor,” for example (although technically “Pastor” is used in Catholic circles for the priest who heads a parish church). If the priest says, “Call me ‘Father,’” your friend could smile politely and say, “I’m sorry; I can’t.” The priest will understand.


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