What should I call a Protestant clergywoman?


#1

Do you have any suggestions on the proper address for a Protestant clergywoman, particularly for those who are considered by their churches to be priests, such as Anglicans and Episcopalians? Obviously, I can’t call them “Father” but I have no idea what is both correct and polite.


#2

Not only can you not call female priests “Father,” but the default term of “Reverend” is also incorrect (although widely misused). Protestant clergymen are correctly styled “Mr.” if they do not have a doctorate and “Doctor” if they do. I recommend calling a female Protestant clergyperson “Ms.” if she does not have a doctorate (or “Mrs.” if she is married) and “Doctor” if she does. Should she be “ordained” to the Protestant episcopacy I recommend continuing to use “Ms./Mrs.” or “Doctor” rather than “Bishop.”

Keep in mind that the Catholic Church does not recognize Protestant ecclesial communities to have valid holy orders. Insofar as Catholics use priestly titles such as “Father” and “Bishop” for Protestant clergy, they are used solely as a courtesy in recognition of the titles the individual Protestant clergy use for themselves.


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