Skip to comments.Pope abolishes honorary title of monsignor for diocesan priests under the age of 65
Posted on 01/04/2014 1:17:16 PM PST by NYer
In a new move aimed at reforming the clergy and eliminating careerism in the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has abolished the conferral of the Pontifical Honor of Monsignor on secular priests under the age of 65.
Henceforth, the only Pontifical Honor that will be conferred on secular priests will be that of Chaplain to His Holiness and this will be conferred only on worthy priests who are over 65 years of age. (Secular priests are priests in a diocese, who are not monks or members of religious institutes or orders).
The Vaticans Secretariat of State has communicated this news to Apostolic Nuncios around the world, and has asked them to inform all bishops in their respective countries of the decision in this regard taken by Pope Francis.
Thus, for example, on January 2, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, wrote to all the bishops in Great Britain to inform them of the Popes decision. He confirmed that the privileges in this regard that have already been granted by the Roman Pontiff to physical or juridical persons remain in force. This would suggest that the papal decree is not retroactive, those who are already monsignors will not lose their title.
The decision does not come as a surprise to those who know Pope Francis. A humble man, he has always been averse to ecclesiastical titles, and when he was bishop and later cardinal in Argentina he always asked people to call him Father, instead of My Lord, Your Grace or Your Eminence; he is convinced that the name Father best reflects the mission that has been entrusted to a priest, bishop or cardinal. Indeed, during his tenure as archbishop of Buenos Aires (1998-2013), he never asked the Holy See to confer the title of monsignor on any priest in the archdiocese.
In taking this decision, Pope Francis is building on the reform in this area of ecclesiastical titles that was introduced by Paul VI in 1968, in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. Before Paul VIs reform there were 14 grades of monsignor, he reduced them to the three ranks that exist today: Apostolic Protonotary, Honorary Prelate of His Holiness, Chaplain of His Holiness. The original titles dated back to the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII (1623-1644).
These three honors are granted by the Pope, usually on the proposal of the local bishop, to Catholic priests who have rendered particularly valuable service to the Church. The priests are given these Pontifical Honors may be addressed as Monsignor and has certain privileges, such as those regarding ecclesiastical dress and vestments.
Many bishops have tended to use the honor as a way of rewarding priests who are particularly loyal to them, or to promote priests who have showed particular initiative, but not infrequently priests in their dioceses have read it in a different light. Just before Christmas, a senior Vatican prelate told me that Pope Francis had recently refused the request of one bishop who had asked him to confer the title of Monsignor on no less than 12 priests in his diocese. Another source told me that in some countries the Pontifical Honor is conferred in a ceremony that, sometimes, is far from the style of Church that Francis desires.
The Popes decision does not make any changes regarding the conferral of Pontifical Honors for Religious and Lay people, the Vatican Secretariat of State stated in its communication to the nuncios. It said the same conditions apply as previously for such honors, as does the mode for requesting them.
Jesus, Luke 11:43
Upon his receiving the honorific of Monsignor, I asked our pastor how many priests gain that title.
He replied, “We have a saying: for every one who wears the purple, four will have the blues.”
As for Pope Francis, does the movie “Shoes of the Fisherman” apply here?
And so begins another round of “Sunnis and Shias”.
Good. I want to see the ring-kissing go away too. It has nothing to do with religion. It’s from the times when bishops were a secular power.
If someone is truly great, as is Francis, he doesn’t need artificial trappings that once belonged to princes and princesses.
If someone is truly great, as is Francis, he doesnt need artificial trappings that once belonged to princes and princesses.
Post of the century. You are so right. I think Francis is the best thing to happen to the Catholic Church practically forever. He is so refreshing. I could care less what the haters think. He is perfect!
Bishops are princes and the Pope is a monarch. Manners change over time, but this is not subject to change.
The world has known plenty of humble monarchs, and His Holiness is one of them.
My first reaction was, what, more changes? But on further consideration, I agree with him here.
This was a late development in the Church, stemming from the time when Popes tended to think of themselves as the height of the nobility.
” I want to see the ring-kissing go away too. It has nothing to do with religion. Its from the times when bishops were a secular power.”
I want more of the hand-kissing since it goes back to BEFORE bishops were a secular power. In the Orthodox Churches it is still the custom in many places to kiss the hands of a priest and bishops. The difference is that with the priest they say
“Father bless” and with the bishop they say “Master bless.”
If you hate to see people kissing a priest’s hands, then don’t watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RqUHY0_Cq-c&feature=related
S, we’ll do what you want - not kiss the bishop’s ring - but now everyone will have to kiss the hands of every Catholic and Orthodox priest or bishop they meet. How’s that?
Term limits in the Catholic Church?
They do have mandatory retirement of either 65 or 75 for priests.
Interesting. I grew up in the New York Archdiocese. Just about every parish pastor was made a monsignor, especially if they had built a new church building or school.
Now, I have lived in California for over 40 years. Monsignors are few and far between out here. In our Diocese of San Bernardino, which is the 4th or 5th largest diocese in the US, there are only a handful of priests with the monsignor title. I only know of two, so perhaps there are a couple more, and one of those two passed away last year at a very old age. We have some very successful parish pastors here who have accomplished a great deal in establishing new parishes. None are monsignors.
” In the Orthodox Churches it is still the custom in many places to kiss the hands of a priest and bishops.”
It’s our custom everywhere so far as I know. Whern we meet a priest or hierarch, we kiss his right hand. We will all line up and kiss the priest’s hand tomorrow after the Divine Liturgy’ He will give us anditheron and bless us. It’s a good thing.
“And so begins another round of Sunnis and Shias.”
I quoted Christ’s comments on “respectful greetings” without personal comment.
I agree. It is a good thing.
In the post-Carolingian era, high born laymen would treat bishops and priests who were commoners as if they were servants and inferiors.
One of the ways in which the Church responded was by conferring titles of honor on clergy to insist that titled laity treat their pastors with more respect.
Another way, of course, was by selecting bishops and abbots from among the nobly-born clergy.
I for one am glad that the Church asserted itself by creating its own nobility rather than just allowing secular nobility to dominate and direct the Church as if it were a mere adjunct of earthly politics.
But yes, these titles and distinctions are less meaningful in an era when the ability to deliver blocs of votes is more important than birth as a measure of social power.
The same problem remains, however: how will the Christian clergy develop the proper esprit de corps to challenge the disdain and disrespect they increasingly receive from secular politicians?
Ending outmoded honors does not provide a full answer.
Humble Ill grant you. Ill grant you too that he is loved and adored by manyincluding the secular media, non-Catholics, homosexuals and atheists. But the jury is still out on the question of whether he is performing his Christ-imposed duty to lead all to salvation.
A much stronger argument can be made that he appears more adept at sewing seeds resembling the oft-described diabolical disorientation promised by the Blessed Mother in the Third Secret of Fatima. No one wants to believe this, including me; but one would have to be in a trance not to see that much of what he has been saying since April certainly challenges, if it doesnt outright contradict, Catholic dogma.
I really don’t object to this at all as it was a novelty.
Interestingly, though, the honorific title originally disappeared when the pope who granted it died, such as the Honorary Chaplains to the Pope and the Honorary Chamberlains to the Pope.
So, frankly, I’d love to see him expire the commissions of the supernumerary chaplains who were appointed by his predecessors!
Is not being a priest necessarily a career? The Church does not hire priests off the street for temporary jobs.
It’s a vocation, not a career. There’s a difference.
Not to say that some don’t err in the execution of it.
“Careerism” refers to the desire for prestige, power, titles, money, etc..
my bishop hasn’t made a msgr. since he took over about 10 yrs. ago...the reason is financial, it’s in their contract that they get a raise in salary and a diocese that’s in debt must practice proper stewardship......
It SEEMS that if a cleric from a non-Catholic church errs in any way, it's a snoozer. But if a Roman Catholic cleric errs it's national news.
The standard of behavior seems much higher and far more rigorous for an R.C. priest than for any other cleric.
Men and women of the cloth HAVE to err--it's human nature.
It is a very good thing—forget about any ring, these are the hands that Christ has chosen as His instruments to make Himself present among us.
The Holy Father has a distinct style but so far I have not seen anything contradicting Catholicism. I have seen though plenty of vituperation from ... I am not sure how to characterize them. Angry people?
Why kiss the hand of any mortal man? If Jesus were here, I would gladly kiss His hand. He is a true intermediary to God the Father. There are no mortal/human intermediaries, just teachers and keepers of the faith.
Contradicting Catholicism? Im not really sure that’s what’s being said, but there are many innocent people who hang on every word a pope says as being the gospel of truth; so when a pope makes statements that are interpreted (rightly or wrongly) as suggesting that sinful behavior may be acceptable in the eyes of God, I see that as a problem. Whether it could be said to contradict Catholicism is another issue.
Specifically, as a result of this popes publications (oral and written), there is a reasonable belief among many people of the world that homosexual behavior is not sinful. No, Pope Francis didnt say that as such, but when he said who am I (the pope!!) to judge, that was understood by many as an absolution for homosexual behavior.
And thats just one of a great number of examples, and certainly not the most egregious example. Listing another half dozen and more would only be piling on. One can argue that he is always being misunderstood and deviously being misinterpreted by the secular media, but when millions of people consistently misunderstand the very words of this man, and he never comes back strongly to clarify the misunderstandings, one has to wonder if it is calculated.
Please understand that I dont mean at all to suggest that he is intentionally trying to lead souls astray, because I dont believe he is. But merely becomes one acts with a white heart and an empty head does not make a wrong, right. There were many earlier popes and prelates of the Church that led the faithful astray that no doubt had good intentions. Oner could easily argue that Martin Luther honestly believed (Im not one of those) that the Church was wrong in the dogmatic truths that she espoused; but still, many souls were lost because of this man.
How about they act in an exemplary Christlike way?
My pastor is very well loved and respected. He oversees one of the largest parishes in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. He is a Monsignor but that is not why he is respected.
“Why kiss the hand of any mortal man?”
Why call anyone “Mister” or “Mrs.”? Why use salutations in letters? Why salute officers in the military? Aren’t they all just mortals?
“If Jesus were here, I would gladly kiss His hand.”
Right after you bent your knee to Him.
“He is a true intermediary to God the Father. There are no mortal/human intermediaries, just teachers and keepers of the faith.”
No, Christ extends His office of intermediary to the Communion of Saints. Hence, you can pray for someone else. We have a very generous God.
If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge...A person once asked me if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: "Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?" We must always consider the person We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible.
is a clear exposition of the Catholic teaching about any concupiscent attraction that may result in actual sin, including homosexual practice.
Running around condemning the Pope who teaches correct things clearly is silly, or perhaps evil. Direct your anger at the leftwing media that first convinced everyone that the Church "hates the gays" and now is surprised to find out otherwise.
If the question of homosexuality had been asked of any pope holding that office before 1957, their answer would have been an unambiguous: No! I absolutely do not approve of homosexuality; it is a mortal sin. So if you believe that this popes media-pleasing, non-answer (albeit not inconsistent with Church dogma) was preferable, we will simply agree to disagree.
As for the left-wing media that constantly distorts the truth, understand that my complaint is not with them; that is what I would expect of promoters of the secular world. It would be foolish to expect anything else. Rather, my complaint is with the bishops and this pope who clearly lack the spiritual courage (or wisdom) to stand up and boldly defend the faith. It is their role to rebuke the media and scream to the world that there is such a thing as sin, and that the practice of homosexuality is one of the four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance. But they dont; they stand mute.
I would respectfully suggest that my criticism of this pope was not for his teaching correct things, but for not teaching the horror of sin when he had the chance. For you to say that is silly or evil mocks the truth. St Athanasius went for 17 years condemning Pope Liberius and almost every bishop in his day. I have little doubt that both the world and the Church thought him silly, or worse, at that time as well. And while the issue in his day was Arianism, today it is Modernisma heresy that St Pope Pius X condemned as the synthesis of all heresies.
There was a better day in the life of the Church that I am old enough to have experienced first hand as an Altar Boy during the early 1940s. At that time the Catholic Church was not the weakened, lukewarm and compromised organization that she has become today. She was strong, respected and spoke with a single voice. If the media dared challenge any truth, the bishops and priests immediately took to the pulpits and boldly condemned their lies to the faithful in the pews. And, unlike today, all listened.
But that was a long time ago, and times change. Indeed, many of my childhood companions who are still alive, have simply accepted the teachings of the bishops as a necessary modernization of the Church and have abandoned the truths they were once taught by the prelates, priests and nuns of their day. I have not. And while I disagree with your unchallenged support of this pope and his Modernist philosophy, I do understand that you are far from alone; apparently much of the world stands with him and the Modernist Church whos teachings are in stark opposition to what is believed by traditional Catholics.
One last thought. Don’t miss this recently posted piece, above, entitled:In the Vatican there is a NEW PROGRESSIVE INQUISITION.
And N.B., the guy who wrote this is far from a traditionalist. It’s obvious that for whatever reasons he decided to turn a blind eye toward Francis, but even if the pope really doesn’t know as much as the average reader of the W/P (which is absurd), what about the rest of those Modernist prelates? Do they all get a pass? This is what’s going on in the Modernist Church of Nice.
That would have been an incomplete answer then, and it is an incomplete answer now. The Pope gave a better, more adequate answer.
I have no clue what the "new inquisition" article is. Do you have a link?
Yes, I saw the article. I have no useful comment on it.
“their answer would have been an unambiguous: No! I absolutely do not approve of homosexuality; it is a mortal sin
That would have been an incomplete answer then, and it is an incomplete answer now. The Pope gave a better, more adequate answer.”
It seemed to me that the Holy Father gave the other half of the answer, but look as I might, I cannot find the unambiguous statement above.
It is the absence thereof that is at issue.
I’m sorry, but in my haste to respond to the earlier post I, obviously, was not as clear as I should have been. The “unambiguous” quote is something I made up as an example of what a pre-Modernist pope (Pius XII and earlier) would have said if asked the same question that Pope Francis posed for himself.
But in spite of what Annalex might say, this pope’s response was woefully inadequate as far as teaching the truth of the Catholic Church. The media and the homosexuals love his response because he did not condemn the practice of homosexualityhe merely did not endorse it. That is thew complaint of traditional Catholics.
Good. He gave the precise answer: that concupiscence, including homosexual tendency is not yet sin; it becomes actual sin when the tendency becomes practice. Note, too, that it was a quick off-the-cuff remark to a reporter, not an encyclical.
You are stating Church doctrine, of course, but I was unaware that this pope had made such a statement in the context of his earlier remarks. I was looking for some sort of a clarification like that following his statement but never saw it. I obviously missed it. Would you kindly provide us with a link.
“He gave the precise answer: that concupiscence, including homosexual tendency is not yet sin; it becomes actual sin when the tendency becomes practice.”
Well, see, that bit about the practice being sin was left out. Some people think that means Pope Francis doesn’t believe it to be a sin. I myself am far from certain that he believes it to be sin.
“Note, too, that it was a quick off-the-cuff remark to a reporter, not an encyclical.”
True, but if I were to make such a remark, the sinfulness of homosexual conduct would have been the first thing out of my mouth. I think that’s true of many people.
You are correct, the pavlovian response from most Catholics would be like you indicate. But I think, our pope has a rule: always put charity first. I think that is a good rule in general and it was good that he applied it to the question about the “gay lobby”.
“I think that is a good rule in general”
So, we are to put charity first, even if, say, it was more appropriate to put rebuking sinners first?
“and it was good that he applied it to the question about the gay lobby.
I disagree. His failure to specifically note the sinful nature of homosexual conduct has inevitably led to widespread assertions that “the pope says homosexual behavior is not sinful.”
Why open that door?
Apparently that is what the Holy Father is doing, so I am deferring to what he thinks is more appropriate.
led to widespread assertions that the pope says homosexual behavior is not sinful.
But it also made people realize that our God is God of love. In the end, accuracy in theology wins over theological slogans.