VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has decided to limit the honor of “monsignor” among diocesan priests and grant it from now on only to those at least 65 years of age.
The change, which is not retroactive and does not affect Vatican officials or members of religious orders, was announced in a letter from the Vatican Secretariat of State to nunciatures around the world, along with instructions to inform local bishops.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the United States, informed U.S. bishops of the new policy in a letter dated Dec. 30. Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins, general secretary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, forwarded the letter to the bishops Jan. 3.
Pope Francis has often warned clergy against the temptations of careerism and personal ambition.
Of the three grades of monsignor — apostolic protonotary, honorary prelate of His Holiness and chaplain of His Holiness — only the last will be available to diocesan priests who meet the new age requirement.
Bishops must resubmit any pending requests for papal honors in accordance with the new rules.
Archbishop Vigano’s letter did not give a reason for the change, but Pope Francis has often warned clergy against the temptations of careerism and personal ambition.
The archbishop noted that there had been no change regarding the granting of ecclesiastical honors to laypeople.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, noted Jan. 6 that Pope Paul VI had reformed the system of ecclesiastical honors in 1968, reducing the number of titles to three.
“Pope Francis’ decision thus follows in the same line, with further simplification,” Father Lombardi said.
Help keep Catholic media free, support CatholicPhilly.com
You may have noticed “pay walls” greeting you when you visit the websites of newspapers and magazines, both large and small. These mechanisms allow you to read a few articles for free before you’ve got to pay an annual fee if you want to see more.
You won’t find a pay wall on CatholicPhilly.com because we’re more than a news organization. We’re informing, inspiring and forming readers in the Catholic faith every day through the news, features and commentaries that we post on this site and share across social media.
It costs money to provide high-quality coverage of the local Catholic communities we primarily serve, while also distributing national and world news of interest to Catholics, plus the orthodox teachings of the Catholic faith.
Help us in this mission by making a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
or by credit card: