Thursday, March 17, 2011

Congratulations, My Lords

Congratulations to Mgr Keith Newton, Mgr John Broadhurst and Mgr Andrew Burnham, the former Anglican Bishops who have been raised to the dignity of Prelates as Protonotaries Apostolic by the Holy Father.

I hope they Anglicise their exotic Italianate titles of "Monsignore" to the more homely English form of "My Lord"! It's "patrimony", don't you know?
thanks to the Catholic Herald


shane said...

I see many Anglophone traditionalists blogs adopt the French/Italian practice of referring to Monsignor X. Very chic.

Anonymous said...


Msgr Burnham is not reported to have been made a Protonotary Apostolic, but rather a Prelate of Honour.

Still smashing news though.

Gigi said...

Noooo not My Lord! I love the title "Monsignor" - full of latin romanticism! Way nicer than the almost chronosomatic "Apostolic Protonotary".
Lovely news.

Stephen said...

The Ordinariate website has the correct information:

"It was announced today that the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been honoured by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and has been elevated to the rank of Protonotary Apostolic.

Fr John Broadhurst and Fr Andrew Burnham have also been honoured by being elevated to the rank of Prelate of Honour."

motuproprio said...

In fact the official website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham makes it clear that only the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton has been appointed a Protonotary Apostolic, Mgr Burnham and Mgr Broadhurst are both Prelates of Honour.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

When I was in the seminary in Ireland in the 1960s our rector once inelegantly said before the assembled students, ‘If I were pope for half an hour I’d get rid of all those red bellybands’. I agreed with him then and agree even more now.

I don’t believe a single soul has ever been drawn to Jesus Christ by the appointment of someone as a ‘monsignor’, though many a monsignor has drawn souls to Our Lord by being a good priest, not by being a ‘monsignor’.

This ‘honours’ system, I think, is an obstacle to many since it has absolutely nothing to do with the Gospel. It is a worldly invention that embarrasses me.

A Vatican document that came out around the time I was ordained, 1967, decreed that ‘Monsignor’ was the proper way to address a bishop. The first time I did this in the USA, in 1969, the bishop and the priests around him thought this was hilarious. They simply use ‘Bishop’ as their form of address in the USA.

Here in the Philippines people address a bishop as ‘Monsignor’ but the title causes confusion, since many think that every monsignor is a bishop.

My comment is general and in no way is it meant to be critical of the three former Anglican bishops. I understand, because of the mindset of the ‘officialese’ church, why they have been given this title, with two different ranks. May God bless them and all the members of the new ordinariate.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Fr Sean,
In general I agree, giving titles to some tends be more about not giving titles to others, creating and unnecessary stratification. Though I like seeing bit of purple or scarlet myself.

In the case of the Ordinariate I think things are bit different, it is about highlighting its leadership.

Victor said...

Congratulations to the three newly honoured clergy!

The Holy Father chooses to single out members of the clergy by bestowing honorifical titles to them, which are connected with certain rights concerning the attire. (BTW, the same is true of the orthodox churches - Archabbots, Mitrate priests etc.) One might criticise this practice, but what alternative system of honours can there be? Except you want to give this up entirely for the church (I hope not: it would be extremely boring, sartorially speaking).

Humility means accepting not only shame and humiliation, but also honours and titles. Lady Marchmain said something of that sort in "Brideshead revisited".

Fr Sean's opinion is widespread amongst those clergy ordained in the '60s and '70s - some go even further and dismiss the clerical attire completely. Am I completely off to suspect there is some connection between these attitudes?

By this I do not mean any disrespect to Fr Sean - I can see from his photo that he wears the "dog collar", and I can absolutely understand his point of view. But there is such a thing as false humility, that sort that cries "Look everybody, how modest I am!" Our Lord let the sinner wash his feet with expensive ointments - and every priest is the image of His Master. Let this image be adorned with beautiful clothes, but remember that - much like an icon - the honour applies to the One depicted!

Lenz said...

Thgough I am a Lutheran I know some RC monsignores. They are not special guys.A. Lenz

Richard said...

I like how Graham Greene, mischeviously mocked the title in his novel Monsginor Quixote. Do PA's still get to wear the mitre?

Sharon said...

Isn't "my lord" or "your lordship" the way to address a bishop?

I thought that monsignors were addressed as Monsignor Smith

Richard said...

I think "My Lord" is particular to England and Wales and only used for addressing bishops. I don't think Monsignors can even entitle themselves as Right Reverend or Very Reverend anymore.
In Italy "Your Ezcellency" is added before the title Monsignor to distinguish bishops and archbishops from lower prelates.

Robin Ward said...

The ubiquity of these titles which are really proper to the Roman court and curia is an unintended consequence of the decision not to have chapters in the United States - no canonries means you need an alternative honours system. But congratulations to them!

Fr. S.A. said...

It seems Fr. Sean has turned this into a debate about titles of honor, which I find a bit ironic. Ordained in 1990, I guess I don't have the same baggage as my brothers ordained in the '60s and '70s. While some carry on about how the Church should rid itself of these honors, others seem to make it their life mission to obtain them. I think the balance is simply to carry on your priestly work, be happy for those who have been so honored and accept the same honors with humility if bestowed. They should neither be disdained nor desired. All for the greater glory of God.

The Sibyl said...

What great news! The monsignorial dignity is a small one, yet it seems here to be an apt way of expressing recognition.

Sorry Fr Sean, you are showing your age! That sort of 60s egalitarian nonsense is so passe, worse is arguing that it has not drawn anyone Jesus, not in the Gospel spirit and all that - seems to be the argument people use when they don't have an argument.

Can't we just accept our patrimony as we have recieved it without always haveing to tare it appart
as if open season had been declared.

Weather a purple sash is liked or disliked is small compared with the destructive policies of so many of our bishops - perhaps the focus of our critism needs to be redirected somewhat.

The bishops of the Phillipines are quite autocratic and clericalist even with creating lots of monsignori - but celebrate the old mass - Gosh no!

Sharon said...

Well said Fr S A!

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