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Monsignor ( // ; Italian : monsignore [monsiɲˈɲoːre] ) is an honorific form of address for some members of the clergy, usually of the Roman Catholic Church, including bishops, honorary prelates and canons. "Monsignor" is a form of address, not an appointment: properly speaking, one cannot be "made a monsignor" or be "the monsignor of a parish". The title or form of address is associated with certain papal awards, which Pope Paul VI reduced to three classes: those of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate, and Chaplain of His Holiness.
In some cases, these ecclesiastical honorific titles derive from the pope, but in other cases it is simply a customary or honorary style belonging to a prelate or honorary prelate. These are granted to individuals who have rendered valuable service to the church, or who provide some special function in church governance, or who are members of bodies such as certain chapters. Although in some languages the word is used as a form of address for bishops, which is indeed its primary use in those languages, this is not customary in English. (Accordingly, in English, use of "Monsignor" is dropped for a priest who becomes a bishop.) Monsignor is the apocopic form of the Italian monsignore, meaning "my lord". It is abbreviated Mgr, Mons,or Msgr.
Apart from those working in the Roman Curia and the diplomatic service of the Holy See, it is usually on the proposal of the local bishop that the Pope grants this title to Catholic diocesan clergy. The grant is subject to criteria of the Holy See that include a minimum age.
Soon after his election in March 2013, Pope Francis suspended the granting of the honorific title of Monsignor except to members of the Holy See's diplomatic service.
The subject of bestowing honorifics came up at the October 2013 meeting of the Council of Cardinal Advisers. Pope Francis had indicated a desire to scale back such practices as part of a broader effort to project a more modest and pastoral vision of leadership. In December of the same year he communicated his definitive decision to accept no further requests from bishops for appointments to any class but that of Chaplain of His Holiness, the lowest of the three classes, and that candidates presented must be at least 65 years old. He himself, during his 15 years as archbishop of Buenos Aires, never asked that any of his priests receive the title, and he was understood to associate it with clerical "careerism".Grants already made were not revoked.
Appointments to all three classes of awards continue to be granted to officials of the Roman Curia and the diplomatic service of the Holy See, and there was no revocation of privileges granted to certain bodies such as chapters of canons whereby all their members or some of them have the rank of Protonotary Apostolic, Honorary Prelate or Chaplain of His Holiness.
Also unaffected is the association of the style with the office of vicar general, an appointment made by the bishop of the diocese, not by the Pope. Without necessarily being a protonotary apostolic, a diocesan priest has that titular rank as long as he remains in office.
Although in some languages "Monsignore", "Monseigneur", "Monsenyor", "Monseñor", and the like are normal forms of address for all higher prelates of the Catholic Church below the rank of cardinal or patriarch, including bishops and archbishops, in English bishops are not usually addressed as "Monsignor", a title reserved in English for diocesan priests who have received certain specific honorary awards or who hold certain offices.
The written form of address for such a priest is Monsignor (first name) (last name) or The Reverend Monsignor (first name) (last name). The spoken form of address is Monsignor (last name).
Before the simplification of ecclesiastical titles in 1969, those of the lowest class were addressed in English as The Very Reverend Monsignor (in Latin, Reverendissimus Dominus; in Italian, Reverendissimo Monsignore) and those belonging to the higher classes were addressed as The Right Reverend Monsignor (in Latin, Illustrissimus et Reverendissimus Dominus; in Italian, Illustrissimo e Reverendissimo Monsignore).
The 1969 Instruction of the Secretariat of State indicated that the title of "Monsignor" may be used for bishops. This is normal practice in Italian, French, Catalan, and Spanish, but not in English. The same instruction indicated that, in the case of bishops, "Reverendissimus" (usually translated in this case as "Most Reverend", rather than "Very Reverend"), may be added to the word "Monsignor", as also in the case of prelates without episcopal rank who head offices of the Roman Curia, judges of the Rota, the Promotor General of Justice and the Defender of the Bond of the Apostolic Signatura, the Protonotaries Apostolic "de numero", and the four Clerics of the Camera.The (in meaning identical) predicate "His Lordship" or "Your Lordship" is, in English, used as a clerical title only for bishops.
Until 1968 there were at least 14 different grades, including domestic prelates, four kinds of protonotaries apostolic, four kinds of papal chamberlains, and at least five types of papal chaplains.
Pope Paul VI in his motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968 reduced the grades to three. Since then, protonotaries apostolic have been classified either de numero or supernumerary. Most of the former classes of chamberlains and chaplains were abolished, leaving only a single class of "Chaplains of His Holiness", a specifically priestly-sounding category.
The three ranks established by Pope Paul VI are, in descending order of precedence:
Before 1968 the appointment of a Privy Chamberlain expired at the death of the Pope who granted it. This no longer holds.Those listed in the index of the Annuario Pontificio as Chaplains of His Holiness continue to be listed in the edition that follow the death of the Pope, as after the deaths of Popes Paul VI and John Paul I in 1978 and after that of Pope John Paul II in 2005.
In 2014, Pope Francis abolished the practice of granting priests under the age of 65 the title of "monsignor". However, existing members of all three ranks established by Pope Paul VI retain their membership. Higher ranks are still attained by virtue of membership of certain chapters of canons or because of being a vicar general, and new appointments continue to be made for officials of the Roman Curia and the diplomatic service of the Holy See.
The 1969 Instruction of the Secretariat of State also simplified the dress of monsignori.
Under legislation of Pope Pius X, vicars general and vicars capitular (the latter are now called diocesan administrators) are titular (not actual) Protonotaries durante munere, i.e. as long as they hold those offices, and so are entitled to be addressed as Monsignor.
The only privileges of dress that Pope Pius X granted them were a black, silk-fringed sash (fascia), black piping on the biretta with a black tuft, [ page needed ] However, Pontificalis domus of Paul VI removed this position (titular protonotaries) from the Papal Household, even though the title of "monsignor", which is to be distinguished from a prelatial rank, has not been withdrawn from vicars general, as can be seen, for instance, from the placing of the abbreviated title "Mons." before the name of every member of the secular (diocesan) clergy listed as a vicar general in the Annuario Pontificio .and a black mantelletta. As a result of this they were in some countries referred to as "black protonotaries".
Under Paul VI, the Secretariat of State set minimum qualifications of age and priesthood for the appointment of Chaplains of His Holiness (35 years of age and 10 of priesthood), Honorary Prelates (45 of age and 15 of priesthood) and Protonotaries Apostolic Supernumerary (55 of age and 20 of priesthood). However, it waived the minimum age limit for vicars general proposed for appointment as Honorary Prelates, in view of the fact that, as long as they hold the office of vicar general, they also held the still higher rank of Protonotary Apostolic Supernumerary. For the same reason, the Secretariat of State did not consider it appropriate that someone who was already a vicar general be appointed only a Chaplain of His Holiness. All these criteria have been superseded by the 2013 decision of Pope Francis to grant only the title of Chaplain of His Holiness and to require even for this a minimum age of 65 years.
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin praelatus, the past participle of praeferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.
An Prelate of Honour of His Holiness is a Catholic prelate to whom the Pope has granted this title of honour. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges as regards clerical clothing.
The word prothonotary is recorded in English since 1447, as "principal clerk of a court," from L.L. prothonotarius, from Greek protonotarios "first scribe," originally the chief of the college of recorders of the court of the Byzantine Empire, from Greek πρῶτοςprotos "first" + Latin notarius ("notary"); the -h- appeared in Medieval Latin. The title was awarded to certain high-ranking notaries.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.
The papal household or pontifical household, called until 1968 the Papal Court, consists of dignitaries who assist the pope in carrying out particular ceremonies of either a religious or a civil character.
In the Roman Catholic Church, protonotary apostolic is the title for a member of the highest non-episcopal college of prelates in the Roman Curia or, outside Rome, an honorary prelate on whom the Pope has conferred this title and its special privileges. An example is Prince Georg of Bavaria (1880–1943), who became in 1926 Protonotary by papal decree.
A mantelletta, Italian diminutive of Latin mantellum 'mantle', is a sleeveless, knee-length, vest-like garment, open in front, with slits instead of sleeves on the sides, fastened at the neck, once even more common than the mozzetta.
The Very Reverend is a style given to members of the clergy. The definite article "The" should always proceed "Reverend" as "Reverend" is a style or fashion and not a title.
Ecclesiastical addresses are the formal styles of address used for members of the clergy.
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.
The fascia is a sash worn by clerics and seminarians with the cassock in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Church. It is not worn as a belt but is placed above the waist between the navel and the breastbone (sternum). The ends that hang down are worn on the left side of the body and placed a little forward but not completely off the left hip.
Salvatore Ronald Matano is an American prelate of the Catholic Church serving as the Bishop of Rochester. He previously served as Bishop of Burlington.
Precedence signifies the right to enjoy a prerogative of honor before other persons; for example, to have the most distinguished place in a procession, a ceremony, or an assembly, to have the right to express an opinion, cast a vote, or append a signature before others, to perform the most honorable offices.
A Chaplain of His Holiness is a priest to whom the Pope has granted this title. They are addressed as Monsignor and have certain privileges with respect to ecclesiastical dress and vestments.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
Pontificalis Domus was a motu proprio document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.
David Dennis Kagan is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the seventh and current bishop of Bismarck.
James Francis Checchio is an American Roman Catholic prelate. Bishop Checchio served as rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome from 2005 until 2016. On March 8, 2016, Pope Francis named him Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen to succeed Bishop Paul Bootkoski. He was consecrated and installed as Bishop of Metuchen on May 3, 2016.
Myron Joseph Cotta is an American priest and prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was appointed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Stockton by Pope Francis on January 23, 2018. His installation Mass was celebrated on March 15, 2018 at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto, California.
Guglielmo Borghetti is an Italian ordinary of the Catholic Church and the current Bishop of Albenga-Imperia. He is the former Bishop of Pitigliano-Sovana-Orbetello.
Pariter, qui vicarii generalis aut etiam capitularis munere fungitur, hoc munere dumtaxat perdurante, erit protonotarius titularis.