As it turns out, some of the Cardinals have Twitter accounts. Among them is Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Or is it Cardinal Timothy Dolan? (I know. The Twitter reference is gratuitous, but I couldn’t resist the topic name.)
First, I am not Catholic. But I have been around the ecclesiastical block once or twice. Half a century ago, it was standard to refer to Cardinals as [first name] Cardinal [last name]. During this interregnum / sede vacante, I have noticed many, many official references from media with significant production values using the form Cardinal [first name, last name]. Most Catholic online reference guides retain the traditional form. Some non-Catholic actually show the non-traditional form with the traditional form as a parenthetical.
So, what gives? Have the style guides abandoned the church’s guidelines? Is the old way silly now?
Yeah, seems the Cards have been in the media alot lately. Regardless of popular media style guides, the Catholic Church has some very specific guidelines for both titles and salutations. From the Mother Church Herself:
Address a Cardinal.
During a formal introduction, a Cardinal should be introduced as “His Eminence, (First Name) Cardinal (Last Name), Archbishop of (Location).” He should be directly addressed as “Your Eminence” or “Cardinal (Last Name)” – or, on paper, as “His Eminence, (First Name) Cardinal (Last Name), Archbishop of (Location).” Note that, as with a Patriarch, you should stand when he enters a room (until he invites you to sit) and again when he leaves it. Remove your hat in his presence, and you may kiss the sacred ring during both the greeting and the closing. If he is your own Bishop, you may kneel when kissing the ring (though bowing at the waist is also acceptable); however, do not do either if the Pope is present.
The Protocol School of Washington agrees. The recent trend in popular media (putting the “Cardinal” first) is just that. A trend. Not sanctioned by the Church or the protocol wonks in DC. The (nearly) universal format of putting the title first is what causes this error. It’s an attempt to fit everything into the same mold.
Note that when the Cardinal’s first name is omitted (as in “Cardinal Nolan”), then the “Cardinal” can come first.
Interesting find, Robert. I wonder if that might have anything to do with the Ecumenical Council that happened around 1960? The Catholic Church changed a LOT of their canon back then. For example, the celebration of mass was translated from Latin to English. And that was just one of many changes to make aspects of the Church less formal, and more “friendly” to the common man.
But the officially sanctioned use of “Cardinal” remains on the books as described in my previous post. Not like there’s never been dissent in the Church, so maybe some Catholics just opted for the more familiar sounding variation in the spirit of the Council. I do recall some older priests risked excommunication by refusing to change their mass from Latin to English.
Glenn said: I notice that the Protocol School of Washington link above actually lists both forms as correct
Indeed they do, but they list the Church-sanctioned “(Given name) Cardinal (surname)” first. The fact that they list the alternative form “Cardinal (given name) (surname)” at all is a reflection of their philosophy, trying to stay current with changes in usage.
For example, I’d bet the honorific “Ms.” was added to this page sometime in the 60s as well.
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