His Most Reverend Excellency

His Most Reverend Excellency

I don’t rub shoulders with too many “high-ups” in the Catholic church, but if I did I might be tempted to suggest that they tone down the self-aggrandizing titles. We had a function recently where the person giving the opening prayer was the “Very Reverend _____, Vicar of ____.”

I wondered what made him very reverend, and, “wouldn’t any reverend want to be very reverend?” I looked up the Wiki on this and to my irreverent delight I found that one might also aspire to be:

His Most Reverend Excellency“–when he enters, you should stand and remove your hat and you may kiss the sacred ring at the greeting and again at closing . If he is your bishop, you may kneel when kissing the ring (bowing at the waist is also acceptable). You should address him “Your Excellency.”

Higher yet on the totem pole is, “His Grace _____.” All the rituals of the hat and kneeling and kissing the ring also apply to “His Grace.”

Next would be “His Beatitude” and then “His Emminence,” both with all the rituals of the hat and kneeling and kissing the ring.

Last would be “The Sovereign Pontiff, His Holiness _____.” Note that men should wear a dark suit and tie and remove their hats in his presence, while women should wear black dresses and have their heads and arms covered. (White for women is a privilege reserved to Catholic queens and a select few royals.) Stand when he enters a room (until he invites you to sit) and again when he leaves it. When introduced, kneel on your left knee and kiss his ring; repeat before he leaves.

Sounds a bit royal to me. I’m sure Jesus would be proud.




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