Addressing a priest

NotNow

Senior Member
English
When I was in Munich, I noticed that people addressed a Catholic priest with the Latin word Pater. Is this universal in the German-speaking world?
 
  • bh7

    Senior Member
    Canada; English
    This form of address is used for a priest who is a member of a religious order. Regular parish priests are addressed as "Hochwürden", I think (the German equivalent of the address "Father" used by anglophones for Catholic priests or "Reverend" for protestant clergy).
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    "Pater" is used, but only when addressing monk priests.
    Else you would use "Herr Pfarrer" (probably "Herr Pastor" in Germany??) or "Hochwürden"; difference is in style, in Ausrian rural regions the most typical form would be "Herr Pfarrer".
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    "Pater" is used, but only when addressing monk priests.
    Else you would use "Herr Pfarrer" (probably "Herr Pastor" in Germany??) or "Hochwürden"; difference is in style, in Ausrian rural regions the most typical form would be "Herr Pfarrer".
    Protestant churches use both denominations for the office, Pfarrer and Pastor. It depends on the church which is used. Protestants have no special style for priests as every faithful Christian has priesthood in the Protestant view.

    In the Catholic Chruch, Priester and Pfarrer is not the same thing. The former is a state and the latter is an office. To which of the two does the style "Hochwürden" apply?
     

    sokol

    Senior Member
    Austrian (as opposed to Australian)
    In the Catholic Chruch, Priester and Pfarrer is not the same thing. The former is a state and the latter is an office. To which of the two does the style "Hochwürden" apply?
    Well, at least in my experience we don't really distinguish - we just say "Herr Pfarrer" to address a priest, and "Hochwürden" when we want to be very formal.
    Okay, there is a difference in composites like "Priesterweihe": you cannot use "Pfarrer" here at all. But if you address a priest it's all the same to us (meaning: rural Upper Austria).

    So typically "Herr Pfarrer" is used - in the rural region of Upper Austria where I grew up (I cannot speak for Vienna ;)); situations hardly ever are so formal that anyone would use "Hochwürden" (it might even sound ironical, used in this rural context; but you hear it in films, frequently).
     

    Robocop

    Senior Member
    (Swiss) German
    In Switzerland, you would address a catholic priest as [Hochwürdiger] Herr Pfarrer (Pfarrhelfer/Kaplan/Vikar/Dekan/Bischof) or just Hochwürden if you did not know his "rank". I think the adjective in square brackets would nowadays be used by very obedient / faithful / pious (?) people only.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top