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Official titles

Dear Parishioners,

Last week I talked about the duties of a Dean or, as the Universal Church calls him, a Vicar Forane. Together with those duties comes a new title, “Very Reverend.”

Sometimes we can be a bit confused by the various titles for priests and bishops in the church. A parishioner once saw my name written as “Rev. David Reitzel.” She thought that Reverend was a title exclusively used for protestant ministers. The confusion comes from the fact that “official” titles are rarely used in speech. They are almost exclusively used for official documents.

For example, when I speak with Bishop Crosby, I say, “Hi Bishop”. But when I write to him, I start with, “Your Excellency.”

To reduce confusion, here are a list of the most common official titles:

Pope: His Holiness

Patriarch: His Beatitude

Cardinal: His Eminence

Bishop: Most Reverend, His Excellency

Dean: Very Reverend

Priest: Reverend

Deacon: Reverend Mr.

Abbot: Right Reverend

Abbess: Reverend Mother

Fr. David Reitzel


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