Msgr - Title and Forms of Address

Title and Forms of Address

In some countries, Monsignor (or its foreign language equivalent) is the usual style of address for all higher prelates of the Roman Church below the rank of cardinal or patriarch, including bishops and archbishops. In other countries, particularly English-speaking ones, it is not used for bishops, but only for priests who have received certain specific honorary awards or who hold certain offices.

The written form of address for a priest-monsignor 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 and Spanish. It is unusual 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 Apostolic Protonotaries "de numero", and the four Clerics of the Camera.

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