Thursday, 9 July 2015

What to Call a Female Anglo Catholic Priest

There is a general perception that priests in the Church of England were initially a bit liberal.  But I think* that as time goes by, this will change. As the idea of women as ministers becomes more normalised, increasingly we'll see women from the Evangelical and Catholic wings of the C of E becoming priests.

But what does one call an Anglo Catholic woman who is also a priest? I would argue there are two alternatives: "Mother" or "Father".

"Father Angela" may sound a bit wrong. But if that's what a priest, of either gender or nun, wants to be called, then that seems fair enough.

"Mother" seems more sensible. "Mother Angela" has a Sister Act-y feel to it. For those who want to see the priest as a surrogate deity, it points out that God is our mother as well as our father. And if you object to it on the grounds that it sounds wrong, one can only presume that either you don't believe women can be priests, or that you shouldn't call male priests "Father".

Of course, in the Beaker Folk the Archdruid is always called "Auntie". And this is why there could never be a male Archdruid. "Uncle Eileen" sounds ridiculous.

* I've done no research, this is just prejudice. I'm hoping this kind of attitude will get me a job writing for the Guardian's Comment is Free


  1. It's obvious: Revparent

  2. Father Angela sounds fine to me. It is not as though anyone not on stage addresses their father as Father. I see a Dustin Hoffman film in this.

  3. Father Angela sound fine to me, too, since a number of male Anglican clergy wish to have the title of Father and presumably the women are regarded as equals?

    No, I don't believe women can be priests but let's not open that can of worms in this combox.

  4. A powerful ambitious woman filling a role normally associated with a man? Just refer to her as M, of course.

  5. I call no man father, nor any woman mother. I'm too damned old for that sort of thing.


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