Roman Catholic Deacon

Third Person: The Somewhat Reverend [Name]
Second Person: Hey, you, over there, with the turtleneck

Roman Catholic Priest

Third Person: The Reverend Father [Name]
Second Person: Um, you’re, like, a priest, right?

Presbyterian or Reformed Minister

Whatever you were predestined to call him or her

Eastern Orthodox Archimandrake

Third Person: The Very Reverend Father [Name]
Second Person: What? Oh, sorry, I was sure you said “mandrake”

Roman Catholic Bishop

Third Person: The Right Reverend [Name]
Second Person: Your Excellency

Lefebvrist Bishop

Third Person: The Wrong Reverend [Name]
Second Person: Please don’t hurt me

Lutheran Bishop

Third Person: What, we have bishops?
Second Person: No, really, nobody told me we had bishops

Roman Catholic Archbishop

Third Person: The Most Reverend [Name]
Second Person: Archie

Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury (or York)

Third Person: The Awfully Reverend and Particularly Honorable Lord Archbishop of York (or Canterbury)
Second Person: What Ho, Old Chap

Roman Catholic Pope

Third Person: The Ultra-Reverend Francis, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of God
Second Person: Frank


  1. I used to work with a Lutheran, who kept reminding me that, because so many Catholic bishops in Scandinavia shifted easily over into being Lutheran Bishops, the Lutherans actually have as valid a chain of Apostolic Succession back to Jesus as the Catholics. I suppose the Anglicans managed to turn a few when the time came, as well.

    That still leaves the splinter-off-a-splinter-off-a-splinter sects just as ridiculous as they sound.

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Anglicans maintain and value the Apostolic Succession. Lutherans did not historically consider it necessary, and not all Lutheran groups had a valid Apostolic Succession (or, for that matter, bishops); in some places they just elected or appointed bishops, or found them out back by the trash cans. When the ELCA and the Episcopal Church agreed on a protocol for full communion between the denominations, one of the conditions was that everybody laid hands on everybody else, so that the Anglicans could persuade themselves that the Lutherans had a valid Apostolic Succession, without which the Anglicans just didn’t feel comfortable.

  2. raf says:

    When I tried to lay hands on our local bishop, she objected.

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