Papal Bull

…in the unfortunate sense. CNN is reporting a general threat levied at anyone trying to ordain women to serve as priests.

You’d think that to counter-act the negative publicity from their sex abuse scandals recently they’d modernize their stance on this. I am, of course, in no way asserting that allowing the ordination of women would make up for the sex abuse that has occurred. I just think, in a PR/damage-control kind-of-way that allowing women priests would be a smart move; especially considering dwindling seminary enrollments and parish participation and all that.

But, Catholics among us, just out of curiosity — with what title would you address a female priest? “Mother So-and-so?” It feels little weird in my brain, but I guess I could get used to it. What’s the accepted abbreviation for that? I mean, corresponding to “Father” being abbreviated to “Fr.,” there’s probably a short form for “Mother.”

“Mr.?” Yikes.

Or can we just ask the Anglicans how they do it?

9 thoughts on “Papal Bull”

  1. Tammy

    I think Mother is not such a strange title- Mother Theresa used it quite well.

  2. Cliff

    I think Mother is not such a strange title- Mother Theresa used it quite well.

    Perhaps from a secular perspective (like yours, right?) it’s not strange at all, particularly given the Mother Teresa example. But she was a missionary organization founder and orphanage director, not to mention a nun…and not a priest. Maybe I’m not communicating this well, but for me, addressing or referring to a priest as anything but “Father So-and-so” will be weird for a while.

    Don’t get me wrong: getting used to the nomenclature and form of address won’t keep me from supporting female priests…I still think the prohibition is dumb.

  3. Margot

    So, I’m not Catholic. I grew up in a largely Catholic state; will that help? You call Abbesses “Mother.” Of course, you don’t run into as many of them as you do priests.

    P.S. Like your new look.

  4. Tammy

    I just hope that they don’t do things like they did on the first Star Trek episodes where they actually had women in positions of authority – everyone called them ‘Sir’. It was as it calling them ‘Ma’am’ was somehow less authoritative. I suspect calling a priest ‘Mother’ sounds strange to Catholic ears because the concept of the authoritative woman wasn’t even a concept discussed openly. It is a given that the person in charge is a man – the women can be in charge of the children, but not the men.

  5. David

    hey cliff,

    As an episcopalian (what Anglican’s are called outside of England) I had a female priest. We called her “mother.”

    I assume, even if the Catholic leadership wasn’t backwards conservative, they still wouldn’t let women be priests, because of a fear of Schism in more conservative countries.

  6. David

    oh and the abbreviation is:
    Rev. Mo.

  7. Cliff

    Thanks for the input, David.

    P.S. – I thought you were Jewish!?

  8. Tammy

    I like “Mo” – Hey Mo! (said in the voice of Curly for those of us dorky enough to still know the Stooges)

  9. David

    Oh, I am of a mixed-religion couple. It’s quite common in New York. But then my mom lost interest in going to Synagogue or anything like that.

    What your’re tripping over is the complex and ambiguous relationship between Jewish as religion and Jewish as ethnicity.

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