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How to Cover the Catholic Church

title before the name of bishops and archbishops, not just before the name

of priests who have received that honorary ecclesiastical title from the pope.

Check on the Web or in other resources to determine whether the man in

question is a bishop or just a priest who has an honorary title from the pope.


(1) Strictly speaking, a member of a religious order of women with sol-

emn vows. (2) In general, all women religious, even those in simple vows,

who are more properly called


. Whether a woman religious is a nun or

sister in a strict canonical sense, in news reporting it is appropriate to use the



as the religious title before her name.


A diocesan bishop or his equivalent, his vicar general and episcopal

vicar, or a major superior of a clerical religious order, congregation or soci-

ety. It refers to someone with


authority in church law over a group

of clergy, over certain pastoral concerns in a specific geographical area or over

the members of a religious order. The term


was formerly restricted to

diocesan bishops and major superiors of religious orders, but it was expanded

in the 1983

Code of Canon Law

to include vicars general and episcopal vic-

ars. It is not uncommon for bishops and other church officials schooled in the

previous canon law code to use the term


mistakenly to refer only to

diocesan bishops or major superiors of men religious. If a church official uses

the term in this more restricted former use, it is wise to question him or her

on what he or she means by the term.

papal nuncio.


apostolic nuncio



A specific community of the Christian faithful within a diocese, hav-

ing its own church building, under the authority of a pastor who is respon-

sible for providing ministerial service. Most parishes are formed on a geo-

graphic basis, but they may be formed along national or ethnic lines.


A priest in charge of a Catholic parish or congregation. He is responsible

for administering the sacraments, instructing the congregation in the doctrine of

the church, and providing other services to the people of the parish.


is not

ordinarily used as a title before the name of a Catholic priest: He is



Smith or


John Smith or

the Rev.

John Smith, depending on your publica-

tion’s style manual.