A rose by any other name…

Hmm, I saw an interesting thing recently. It seems that some people are upset by some priests who go by Father (first name) and prefer them to go by Father (last name). We won’t bother discussing those who don’t go by Father at all.

I go by Father Todd. I never thought that it was a bad thing. I am not sure why Father Reitmeyer would be any better. I know it would be tougher for a lot of people. I know it would be tougher for the kids at school.

My family and some very close friends forget a lot and call me Todd in private but always get it right or at least correct themselves in public. I don’t have a problem with that either. I think it shows a huge respect for the priesthood. Trust me they called me other things before I was ordained in public (affectionately of course).

I always thought the important part was Father.

Now I have had some people get bent out of shape because I use the title Father. I will introduce myself as Father Todd and they will quickly shift to Todd at which point I have to gently remind them it is Father Todd. For them it seems it is a professional title that they can dispense with because they are “professional equals”. In dignity yes but ontologically there is a difference. That isn’t done because I think I am so great or that I am any better of a person than them. It really is because I know I am different. I have to remember that all the time. I carry my oils with me even when I wear civilian clothes (don’t worry it is very rare). The fact that I am a priest is an ontological reality that I don’t think it would be good to pretend isn’t there. It signifies a relationship ordained by God not by me. No matter what I do I will never be worthy of it. No matter what I do I will never be rid of it even if God forbid I should end up in Hell.

All that being said I go back to my question. Isn’t it the Father part that is important and that part that goes after it just preference? Or am I missing something?


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