Titles

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Ken Anderson, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I'll post this here rather than in the religion section since it's more about a language issue than a religious one, and the thread can be used for anything else that might come up relating titles. Something that @Don Alaska said in another thread reminded me of it.

    When I was a kid, attending what was then the Bethel Mission Church just up the hill from where I lived, most of the adults referred to the pastor as "Reverend Swanson," even when introducing him formally.

    When I called him that one day, while I was in the church doing the bulletins or something, or maybe reading in the church library, I don't remember, he corrected me. Not in a mean way, but he explained that when using the term "Reverend," the title should be preceded by a determiner, usually "the." Grammatically, it would be "the Reverend Swanson," not simply "Reverend Swanson," but that "Pastor Swanson" would not be preceded by a determiner, when used as an address.

    He also explained that "the Reverend Swanson" might be used to introduce him, rather than in addressing him, but that it wasn't necessary at all. "Pastor Swanson" was fine.

    When I write it here, it sounds like he was being snobbish or unnecessarily critical, but it wasn't presented that way. Later, I learned that he had had the same conversation with one of my cousins, and probably others.

    I remember the pastor before him, and he was usually called "Reverend Peterson."

    I remember wondering, particularly as I listed to other people in the church address him in the following days and weeks, yet the deacons, the elders, and the majority of the adults in the church, including my father, addressed him as "Reverend Swanson," although there were some, such as my mother, who used "Pastor" instead.

    I wondered why he wasn't correcting them. I realized that he hadn't corrected me in public either, but since they continued to refer to him as "Reverend Swanson," it seemed that he had never brought it up to the adults, just the kids.

    I considered that maybe it was one of those things, where kids were supposed to call people "Mister' or "Mrs." while adults would use their first names, but that wouldn't change the fact that "Reverend Swanson" was an incorrect usage of the title, from what he had said.

    Rather than delving into the unknown or the dangerous, I addressed him as "Pastor Swanson" from that point on.

    There were two possibilities. One, perhaps he didn't want to correct the elders, the deacons, or others who would be in a position to decide whether he stays or not. But that didn't seem to be the case because he wasn't shy about pointing out other things that he believed to be wrong. Neither did our church seemed to be the type that would get rid of a pastor for such a thing.

    My guess is that he realized that the adults were used to using the title that way, and no one was going to die from it, and it wasn't likely to be a salvational issue, so he decided to just let them use the title as they pleased, but that he would see to it that the next generation understood the way it was supposed to be used.
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Being Catholic The only thing I ever remember calling a priest was "Father".

    It was Father Garbin...there where others but his is the only name I remember.

    In fact yesterday I was reading the news on the scandal with the Catholic priests and most were listed as Reverend so and so.

    Maybe my memory is wrong but I NEVER remember calling priest Reverends.

    The local priest we called Father
    The higher ups were Bishop, Cardinal etc.
     
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  3. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Same here for the Catholic Church - there's no way I would call any of them 'Father' now - respect for them has gone
     
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  4. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Very Well-Known Member
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    I think "The Reverend" is the proper title for anyone who has a BD or higher. At the Doctoral level, it changes to "The Reverend Doctor". I think Americans just shortened it to "Reverend". A BD usually takes 7 years to complete--you could get a Doctorate in most other subjects in that time.
     
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  5. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    I moved the posts about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to a new thread. It's a legitimate topic for discussions but it moves this one off on a tangent.
     
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  6. Tom Galty

    Tom Galty Active Member
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    Think that a catholic Priest is called a Father and a Protestant Priest is called Reverent
     
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  7. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    @Ken Anderson , here's The Reverend Mr. Black by Johnny Cash!
     
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