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Addressing Catholic clergy

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    Determine the hierarchical status or position of the clergyman.Below are some identifiers for the various people within the Catholic hierarchy. It is important to note that these are "guidelines" rather than rules. A pastor, for example, may be Byzantine but wear a Roman cassock.
    • The pope can be easily recognized by the fact that his everyday “cassock” (the garment worn by clergy outside liturgical functions) is white. He is usually the only one wearing a white cassock (there is a tiny chance that an Eastern clergyman could wear a white cassock as colors are not strictly regulated in all Eastern churches, and some Latin priests are permitted in tropical countries to wear white cassocks).
    • A cardinal wears a red cassock (although it should be noted that at least one regular Eastern bishop also wears one).
    • A metropolitan or bishop of the Eastern Church can wear a wide cassock, a “ryassa” (a coat-like item of clothing with long, wide sleeves), a high black headgear, possibly with a veil; In some Slavic tradition, the headgear of a metropolitan is white), he also wears the "Panagia", a medal decorated with an icon of the Mother of God.
    • A Latin bishop can be recognized by the red hem, red button placket, red buttons on his cassock as well as the red cingulate around his waist and the red skullcap (zucchetto). He also wears a pectoral cross.
    • A monsignor is recognized by the red hem, red button placket and red buttons on his black cassock. But he wears neither the pectoral cross nor the red skullcap. This honorary title is generally no longer awarded in the Eastern Churches.
    • An archpriest is perhaps the Eastern Church equivalent of a monsignor. If he wears a head covering, it can be purple or red. In the liturgical context he can also wear the epigonation. Apart from that, he dresses like an Eastern Church priest.
    • An Eastern Church priest dresses like a bishop with a few exceptions. Instead of the panagia, he wears a pectoral cross. Instead of a klobuks he can wear a black Kamilawka. In some churches the Kamilawka is an award while in others it is a dress option for every priest.
    • A Latin priest wears a tight-fitting cassock. He also wears the white priestly collar.
    • A deacon from the Eastern Church wears the same clothing as an Eastern Church priest, minus the pectoral cross.
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    Addressing a brother: In a formal introduction, a brother should be introduced as "Brother (first name) from the (name of the community)". He should be addressed with "brother (first name)", in correspondence with "venerable brother (first name), (initials of his community)."

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    Addressing a sister: In a formal introduction, a sister should be introduced as "Sister (first name) from (name of community)". She should be addressed with “sister (first and last name)” or “sister” or in correspondence with “venerable sister (first and last name), (initials of your community)”.

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    Addressing a religious priest: In a formal introduction, a religious priest should be introduced as “The Reverend Father (first and last name) from the (name of the community)”. He should be addressed as "(Mr.) Father (last name)" or simply as "(Mr.) Father", in correspondence as "Revered Father (first name, last name), (initials of his community)."

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    Addressing a Mother Superior: In a formal introduction, a mother superior should be introduced as "The Venerable Mother Superior (first and last name) from the (name of the community)". She should be addressed as "Venerable Mother (first and last name)" or "Mother Superior", in correspondence as "Venerable Mother Superior, (initials of your community)."

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    Addressing a deacon: In a formal introduction, a (permanent) deacon should be introduced as “Venerable Deacon (first and last name)”. He should be addressed as “Deacon (last name)” or in correspondence as “Venerable Deacon (first and last name)” or simply “Deacon (first and last name)”. If it is a seminarist who is about to be ordained a priest, he should be introduced as “Deacon (first and last name)”. He should be addressed as “Deacon (cash on delivery)” or in correspondence with “Venerable Sir (first and last name)”.

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    Addressing a diocesan priest: In the case of a formal introduction, a diocesan priest should be introduced as “The Revered Mr. Chaplain / Pastor (first and last name)”, depending on the position. He should be addressed as "Revered Pastor / Chaplain" or simply as "Pastor / Chaplain" or in correspondence as "Revered Pastor / Chaplain (first and last name)". Note that you should get up when he walks in (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves.

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    Addressing a prelate, cathedral capitular or cathedral dean: At a formal introduction he should be presented as “The Most Revered Mr. Prelate / Cathedral Chapter / Cathedral Dean (first and last name)”. He should be addressed as “Most Revered Mr. (Title)” or simply as “Mr. (Title)” or in correspondence as “Most Revered Mr. Prelate / Cathedral Chapter / Cathedral Dean”. Note that you should also get up here when he enters the room (until he offers you to sit down) and also when he leaves.

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    Addressing a monsignor: In a formal introduction he should be introduced as “The Revered Monsignor (first and last name)”. He should be addressed as “Monsignor (last name)” or simply as “Monsignor”, ​​in correspondence as “Revered Monsignor (first and last name)”. Note that you should also get up here when he enters the room (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves again.

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    Address a bishop. In a formal introduction, a bishop should be introduced as “His Excellency, (first and last name), Bishop of (diocese)”. He should be addressed as “His Excellency” or in correspondence with “His Excellency the Most Revered Bishop (first and last name) of (Diocese)”. Note that you should get up when he walks in (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves. Take off your hat in his presence, and you can kiss his ring when greeting and saying goodbye. If he is your own local bishop, you can kneel while kissing the ring (although a bow is also appropriate); you should refrain from either when the Pope is present.

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    Address an archbishop. In a formal introduction, a bishop should be introduced in the same way as a bishop. He should be addressed as “Your Excellency” or “(Most Revered) Mister Archbishop” or in correspondence as “Your Excellency the Most Revered Mister Archbishop Bishop (first and last name) of (Archbishopric)”. Note that, as with the bishop, you should stand up when he enters the room (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves. Take off your hat in his presence, and you can kiss his ring when greeting and saying goodbye. If he's your own archbishop, you can kneel while kissing the ring (although a bow is also appropriate); you should refrain from either when the Pope is present.

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    Addressing a patriarch. In a formal introduction, a patriarch should write “Your Beatitude (first and last name), Patriarch of (Patriarchate)” (with the exception of Lisbon, where he is addressed as “Your Eminence”) or in correspondence as “His Beatitude, the Most Revered Sir (first and last name), Patriarch of (Patriarchate) ”. Note that, like the archbishop, you should get up when he enters the room (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves. Take off your hat in his presence, and you can kiss his ring when greeting and saying goodbye. If he's your own patriarch, you can kneel while kissing the ring (although a bow is also appropriate); however, you should refrain from either when the Pope is present.

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    Addressing a cardinal. In a formal introduction, a cardinal should be introduced as "His Eminence, (first name) Cardinal (last name), Archbishop of (Archdiocese)". He should be addressed with “Your Eminence” or “Cardinal (surname)” or in correspondence with “His Eminence, (first name) Cardinal (surname), Archbishop of (Archbishopric)”. Note that, like the patriarch, you should get up when he enters the room (until he offers to sit down) and when he leaves. Take off your hat in his presence, and you can kiss his ring when greeting and saying goodbye. If he is your own bishop, you can kneel while kissing the ring (although a bow is also appropriate); however, you should refrain from either when the Pope is present.

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    Address the Pope.In a formal introduction, the Pope should be introduced as “His Holiness Pope (Name)”. He should be addressed as “Your Holiness” or “Holy Father” or in correspondence with “His Holiness, Pope (name)”. Note that men should wear a dark suit and tie and remove their hat in his presence, while women should wear a black dress that covers their arms. They should also wear a hat, such as a veil (there is a special privilege for wearing white clothing and a veil, known as "privilège du blanc"). Stand up when he enters the room (until he invites you to sit down) and also when he leaves. When you are introduced, kneel on your left knee and kiss his ring; likewise when he leaves.
    • Le privilège du blanc ("the prerogative of the white man") is the French name for a tradition that allows Catholic queens and princesses to wear a white dress and a white veil at a papal private audience. The Italian term is "il privilegio del bianco". The Prefecture of the Papal House sometimes issues special instructions when the privilege can be used, for example during a papal private audience or Holy Mass celebrated at the inauguration of a Pope. The privilege is currently available to the Catholic queens of Belgium and Spain, the Princess of Monaco, the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and the Princess of the former Italian royal house of Savoy.