Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/166

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Ciasca was secretary, and rests on the necessity of providing for the due order of the archives and for facility of classification. Lastly, it is better not to write on the back of the sheet, as the ink may soak through the paper and make the document less easy to read; in any case, it is a rule of politeness to facilitate the reading of a letter in every possible way. Ten years ago the use of a typewriter was not permissible; at the present day it is. Many decrees of the Congregation of Rites are written in this way; the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars allow it in the case of documents addressed to them, and other ecclesiastical courts have followed their example, but letters addressed to the Sovereign Pontiff personally must still be written by hand. If the letter be sealed, red wax must be used, any other colour, or even black, being forbidden; but the use of wafers, made to look like seals of red wax, which are gummed on to the envelope, is now tolerated. Moreover, according to the practice of the ecclesiastical chanceries, the seal used should be smaller in proportion to the dignity of the person addressed. In practice, however, it is not easy to follow this rule, since it is not everyone who possesses seals of different sizes.

Forms of address in various countries.—Italy.—The Sovereign Pontiff is addressed at the commencement of a letter as "Most Holy Father" (Beatissimo Padre); in the body of the letter as "His Holiness" (Sua or Vostra Santità). It is customary to speak to him always in the third person, and the letter ends with: "Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, I have the honour to profess myself, with the most profound respect, Your Holiness's most humble servant." If, instead of a letter, a petition is sent to the Sovereign Pontiff, to be examined by him or by one of the Roman Congregations, it should begin: "Most Holy Father, Prostrate at the feet of Your Holiness, the undersigned N., of the diocese of N., has the honour to set forth as follows:" —— and the statement of the request ends with the words: "And may God …" (meaning, "May God enrich Your Holiness with His gifts"). If written in Italian the petition ends with the formula, Che della grazia …, the beginning of a phrase implying that the favour asked is looked for from the great kindness of the Sovereign Pontiff. After folding the petition lengthways to the paper, the petitioner should write at the top, "To His Holiness, Pope N.…"; in the middle, "for the petitioner" (per l'infrascritto oratore), and at the bottom, to the right, the name of the agent, or the person charged with the transaction of that particular business at the Roman court. In writing to an Italian cardinal, the letter should begin with the words, "Most Reverend Eminence" (Eminenza Revma.); if he should be of a princely family, "Most Illustrious and Reverend Eminence". In the body of the letter itself he should always be addressed in the third person and as "Your Eminence", or "His Eminence", and the letter should end: "Embracing the purple of His Most Reverend Eminence, I am His Eminence's very humble and obedient servant". This is an adaptation of the more complicated Italian formula, "Prostrato al bacio della sacra porpora, ho l'onore di confermarmi dell' Eminenza Vostra Rev'ma dev'mo ed oss'mo servo". The Cardinal's address, as written on the envelope, must be repeated at the left-hand lower corner of the first page of the letter, and this must be done in all letters of this kind, being intended to show that there has been no mistake made in the address. A Bishop's title is "Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Lord". The words, "Your Greatness", a translation of the Latin, Amplitudo Vestra, used in chancery letters, are not customary in Italy, except when writing in Latin. On the other hand, bishops there generally receive the title of "Excellency" (Eccellenza). A decree of the Congregatio Ceremonialis, 3 June, 1893, assigns this title to patriarchs, instead of "His Beatitude", wrongly assumed by them. Traditional usage, indeed, reserves this title to the Sovereign Pontiff, one of the most ancient instances being met with in a letter from St. Jerome to Pope St. Damasus (d. 384), but in practice patriarchs still use it, and it is still given to them. Nuncios take the title of "Excellency" in accordance to the usage of European courts, and custom accords it to legates of the Holy See in virtue of their office (see Legate), of whom the best known is the Archbishop of Reims, in France. As all Bishops in Italy take, or accept, this title, a letter should be addressed: "To His Excellency, the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Monsignore N.…, Bishop of …" and should end with the words: "Kissing his pastoral ring, I am His Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Excellency's very humble and very obedient servant". Moreover, custom requires that the title should be given to the four prelates known in Italian as di fiochetti (those who have the right to have tufts on their carriage-harness), namely: The Vice-Chamberlain, the Auditor of the Apostolic Chamber, the Treasurer of the same Chamber (an office not filled since 1870), and the Majordomo. The other prelates di mantelletta, whether enrolled in a college of prelates or not, have the title of "Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Lord." The letter should begin: "To the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Lord, Monsignore N.…" and end: "I am Your Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Lordship's very humble servant". In addressing a privy chamberlain, honorary chamberlain, or papal chaplain, the term "Monsignore" should be used (in French Monseigneur) "Monsignore Reverendissimo" in Italian, and the letter should end: "I am Your Lordship's very devoted [or very humble] servant," according to the writer's rank. A religious should be addressed as "Reverend Father" or "Most Reverend Father" ("Reverendo padre" or "Reverendissimo Padre"), according to his rank in his order, and the words "Vostra Paternità" or "Vostra Riverenza", "Your Paternity" or "Your Reverence", used in the letter itself. There are, indeed, certain fine distinctions to be made in the use of these expressions, according as the religious written to belongs to one order or another, but nowadays these chancery formulas, once clearly distinguished, are commonly used indiscriminately. In writing to one of a community of Brothers, such as the Christian Brothers, a simple religious should be addressed as "Very Dear Brother" (the customary form among the Christian Brothers); should he hold a position in his congregation, as "Honoured Brother," or "Much Honoured Brother". By the motu proprio of Pius X (21 February, 1905), he conferred on vicars-general during their tenure of office the title "My Lord", on canons "Reverendo Signor, Don N.… canonico di …", in French "Monsieur le Chanoine", in English "The Very Reverend Canon". Consultors of the Roman Congregations have the title of "Most Reverend," and must be so addressed at the beginning and end of letters written to them. Lastly, parish priests should be addressed in Italian as "Reverendo Signor Parroco" or "Curato di", in French, as "Monsieur le Curé", in English as "The Reverend A.… B.…" "Parish Priest" (curé) is a general term. Most of the Italian provinces have special names for the office, such as "pievano", "prevosto", and others which it would take too long to enumerate, but "Reverendo Signor Parroco" may always be used safely. All priest in Italy have the title "Don", an abbreviation of Dominus (Lord), and should therefore be addressed as "Reverendo Don" (or "D."); or, in the case of a doctor, "Reverendo [or Rev.] Dott., Don N.…" Various formulas of