Monday, October 03, 2011

Can we can the "first names" of priests and religious? Please?

Okay, I realize many Protestants hop on the words "call no man Father" yada yada yada. This argument is handled pretty much in this essay.

Only don't go there yet. Or if you do, please come back, especially if you're a Catholic because I'm talking to YOU.

Would you PLEASE stop addressing and/or talking about priests and religious by their first names?

Recounting of a recent fellow parishioner about something or other in the parish:

She: "And so Kevin said blah blah blah and Carlos answered blah blah blah and then Bob said blah blah blah to which Tanya said blah blah blah, and then Jonathan said blah blah blah, only then Joe said blah blah blah but then, Olga replied blah blah blah...

Me: "Huh? Who?"

Turns out my good friend was referring to several priests and sisters. Who knew?

Look, good people. The ordained — and religious as well — didn't go through a lot of stuff, only to be addressed by the guy who pumps your gas. By omitting their titles—titles conferred upon them by God—you're dumbing down the respect their office deserves. So please. Cut it out.

"But parish priest insists that I call him by his first name!"

Don't do it. Politely decline, if necessary. Pray for him, certainly. He may very well think that, by doing this, he's "coming closer" to his flock. Bah (forgive the pun). What he's in fact doing is relinquishing a precious bit of his authority as a pastor.

Address those called by God by their proper titles.

Save the first name bit for your physicians, senators, and presidents, if you must. (And iff they'll let you.)