Glossary of Church Terms
A parish or (arch)diocesan body that the pastor or
(arch)bishop consults concerning policies and major decisions in the gover-
nance of the local church. Such a council’s role is consultative and always sub-
ject to the final authority of the pastor or bishop.
Also known as the
, this is the principal
consultative body mandated by the
Code of Canon Law
to advise the diocesan
bishop in matters of pastoral governance. It consists of bishops and priests
serving the diocese.
May be a synonym for
or may refer to the collective
body of priests of a diocese or similar ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
(1) A grouping of an archdiocese, called the
the dioceses under it, called
Code of Canon Law
certain limited obligations and authority that the metropolitan archbishop has
with respect to the dioceses within his province. (2) A grouping of communi-
ties of a religious order under the jurisdiction of a provincial superior.
religious priest/diocesan priest.
are professed members of
a religious order or institute. Religious clergy live according to the rule of their
respective orders. In pastoral ministry, they are under the jurisdiction of their
local bishop, as well as of the superiors of their order.
are under the direction of their local bishop. Most serve in the parishes
of the diocese, but they may also be assigned to other diocesan posts and min-
istries or be released for service outside the diocese.
religious titles before names.
Of course you will follow your own publi-
cation’s style manual for use of religious titles before names. But in general,
Catholics refer to nuns as
, religious brothers as
and priests as
, and those religious titles take precedence over whatever job titles they
might hold, such as pastor, chancellor, vicar general, associate pastor, executive
director. The other chief religious titles for clerics are
and, for the head of a male monastic community,
many members of religious orders, the short version of their order’s name may
precede the religious title:
Mercy Sister Mary Smith
Jesuit Father John Smith
Benedictine Brother Peter Smith
. In certain cases it may be better to use an
appositive phrase or some other approach:
Sister Janet Smith, a School Sister of
, rather than
School Sister of Notre Dame Sister Janet Smith