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Pope Abolishes Monsignor Title

Woof.

Pope Francis has abolished the honorary title of Monsignor for any secular priest under 65.

Deacon Greg says that the sound you hear is heads exploding in rectories all around the world. Indeed.

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 Vatican’s 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.

*subhead*Woof.*subhead*

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23 comments:

Charles said...

What is the pro/con of this move? I have to admit, I don't really know what the whole history is behind this title. If it is simply an honorary title that doesn't have any sort of bearing on the Church authority hierarchy, is there really a downside to this move?

Beefy Levinson said...

Q: What's the difference between a Monsignor and a simple parish priest?

A: Nothing, but don't tell that to Monsignor.

Maurisa said...

The question I'm left with is what problem does this decision address exactly? It seems he just solved a non-existent problem. It's silly, if you ask me--which he did not.

Philadelphia Catholic Outsider said...

I think the Holy Father has solved a problem. Of course most Monsignors are good and holy priests, but it was a title sought after by a certain kind of clericalist and did split the priestly brotherhood is an inappropriate way. I would like to know If this means that he will make no more monsignors, or that the monsignors we already have are no longer monsignors.

TTC said...

Those who are conferred the title of "monsignor" are generally the careerists and cronies of the good ole boy network. The Pope has that much right. But removing a title has absolutely no effect upon the struggle for power and clericalism.

Cronies are created by withholding Church teaching to pleaseth the worldly, wealthy and pagan government. That is exactly the matrix the Holy Father suggests we build the foundation of the Church upon so expect more of them.

These men get assigned to the wealthiest parishes and Chancery positions and will continue to spend their careers robbing the faithful to jockey for power.

TTC said...

PCO , it is not retroactive.

Matthew Roth said...

Chaplain of His Holiness IS what allows one, in English speaking countries anyways, to be called Monsignor. It is the lowest of three grades, down from 14 prior to the reforms of the minor prelates by Paul VI. It is something I have mixed feelings about. It is careerism, but otoh ironically so, because it can be used to keep priests from the episcopacy.

Paul Ben said...

I've been reading every now and then some headlines and some more details about the words and actions of the new Pope.

Personally, I never cared about Popes, any and all Popes, at least the ones I saw during my lifetime so far.

My faith in the Catholic Church doesn't depend on them.

I am Catholic and my Catholic Roots are in the Bible, the Church Fathers, Tradition, the Councils and the Magisterium.

No pope can change the Church, the Bible and Tradition.

If you have a strong belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church and if you believe that the Catholic Church is founded by Jesus Christ, then nothing else should matter or should shake your core beliefs.

Maurisa said...

I have personally known only one Monsignor. He was our parish priest, but also the Vicar General of several parishes in the same area. He is one of the most reverent, humble, and holy men I have ever known and while he will retain his honorary title of Monsignor, the idea that he is lumped together with the careerists and cronies makes my blood boil. I am sure there are many more such Monsignors.

Kelli said...

My great uncle who passed away in 2013, was a Monsignor. He turned down several "career" opportunities in order to stay in a parish and serve the people. He was not in a wealthy parish, and when he passed we met so many people whose lives were touched by him, and it meant so much to our family. His funeral Mass was said at the small parish he served for many years, and was standing room only. Even in retirement he taught RCIA, and I know several people personally who say God used him to lead them to the church. It makes me sad that this title would clump him in some group that is less than honorable, but my uncle was truly a very humble and holy man.

Mack Hall, HSG said...

Paulben, try recasting all that without any use of a first-person pronoun. Please.

JB said...

Wow I never realized how completely wrong the Church was about virtually everything until Francis the First came around. It's really amazing. He has the Virgin Mary speculatively yelling "lies!" to God, abolishing the monsignor title, blasting rosary bouquets, and calling the miracle of the loaves and fishes a "parable."

Lynda said...

That's the least of it!! Yes, I think we're all realising the Faith we adhered to was the wrong one!!

parishableitems said...

Though it was and remains an honor to be made a monsignor, I believe that most priests would rather be called "Father" anyways.

Fr John Abberton said...

This signals a continuing reform of the clergy. It follows other reforms such as the changes in seminaries promoted by Blessed JP II and it is linked to the recent and very painful scandals we have suffered (and are still suffering). It is not aimed at good and holy priests who have the title Monsignor (that should be obvious), but it points to the basis of the reform...the proper appreciation of the Sacrament of Orders and the call to humble service. I am astounded that this obvious point is being missed by so many people. Surely it is clear from the Pope's own words and life-style what he is about. It is time now for Catholics to stop being suspicious of Pope Francis and time for them to grab hold of his coat-tails. I have been waiting for years for the demise of the title 'Monsignor', not because I am envious of it but because it has absolutely nothing to do with ministry, the Sacrament of Orders, evangelisation or Christian spirituality. It is a worldly title in the Church and for that reason alone should be expunged (which I hope it will be in time). In my view these titles have been abused in some cases and, in any case, being a Monsignor really signals "this man is important" (it means little else). I am reminded of the Cure D'Ars, the patron saint of parish priests who was invited to become an honorary Canon. (I am not against Cathedral Canons). He refused, but the bishop insisted. Perhaps it is time for all priests to follow the example of St. John Vianney....if not, indeed, Our Lord Himself, who came not to be served, but to serve.

JB said...

i don't see how abolishing the title monsignor (should we get rid of "pope" also and just say "bishop of rome"?) is linked in any way to the homosexual abuse crisis in the Church's recent past. rather than do away with an honorific like this (which in my mind was always a tribute to lengthy and loyal service), why not screen out anyone with homosexual tendencies from the priesthood? aggressively.

Fr John Abberton said...

JB you misunderstand and take what I said too simplistically. It is not specifically linked to the scandals, but that is part of the background in the sense that a spiritual reform of the clergy is needed. That is all I meant. At the same time, why should priests need any "tribute" on earth? Shouldn't we be looking to Christ to hand out the tributes? We are told to follow the saints; isn't it time we actually started to do that in this case?

David Madeley said...

Practically, I think this is something we won't miss. Still, I deny that titles or privileges are in themselves a bad thing. If anyone covets anything worldly, they are building a house on sand, that's clear. However, bestowing worldly honours on people is a way of singling out particular gifts or virtues, not for the good of the person, but for the edification of everyone else. The Queen's honours list, for example, has it's fair share of government hangers-on, but at the same time no-one would begrudge a knighthood to an olympic athlete or the founder of a charity.

JB said...

To me it just seems like more of the "We are the Greeks" approach by Bergoglio and his supporters. Everything that went before, e.g., the red shoes, the apartment in the Apostolic palace (not much bigger than what he has now), the "obsession" with abortion and homosexual marriage, etc., etc., were all profoundly wrongheaded, and he's here to make lio and get us all back "on track." I'm sorry but it just all smells funny to me. If he wanted to show some humility I'd think he'd wear the red shoes since they represent nothing more than the blood of Christ's feet on the way to the Cross. These traditions developed for a reason; they are part of a spiritual treasury.

Ellen said...

Our diocese has one monsignor. He was pastor of our parish once and everyone just called him father. He was a holy and humble man who is now retired from parish work, but keeps busy with retreats and spiritual direction. I'm 63 and have known exactly 2 priests who were hungry for titles. The rest were just busy being priests.

Gretchen said...

"Surely it is clear from the Pope's own words and life-style what he is about."

Well, yes, it is clear to me, Father. But not in the way you understand, I think.

Lynda said...

Surely, a Pope ought not to have a "lifestyle"? The way of life is that of a devout Catholic who is ordained to the Holy See.

Christi H said...

Well, people were ondering, not too long ago, if the cardinal title might be expanded to include women religious and theologians. They pointed out that, unlike the priesthood, it is canon law rather than doctrine that has always restricted it to men.
But id the title is being limited to only priests over 65 can be cardinals, then I doubt theyd expand it to include women.

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