When going to confession, if you know the priest is a Monsignor (name plate on confessional) would you begin, “Forgive me, Monsignor, for I have sinned,” or stay with the simple, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned?”
There are lots of old sayings about Monsignors. I am, for example, reminded of a story told about the late Bp. Alphonse Schladweiler, great old gent. At a confirmation he once said, in his booming voice, “Now children, the bishop has been asking you questions. Do have any questions for the bishop?” Always dangerous. One lad piped up, “What’s a Monsignor?” The priest at the place was a Monsignor. Without missing a beat the old bishop said “Why, sonny, a Monsignor is the cross that hangs around the bishop’s neck!”
No, you don’t have to say “Bless me, Monsignor…”. Any Monsignor worth his salt relishes the title “Father” as the one dearest to his heart. You can say, “Bless me, Monsignor,…” if you want, but the confessor is really there in his capacity as a spiritual father and in the place of the Just Judge who is also Mercy.
As far as etiquette is concerned, you might say “Thank you” at the end.
Since I am on Monsignors,…. and don’t get me wrong! I’d enjoy being a Monsignor enormously, especially since I am a Lutheran convert: what an honor to be associated with the Holy Father in that way? Is there some bishop out there who… I digress.
You know what difference there is between an absolution given by a Monsignor or a poor little garden variety priest like me? Absolutely none. How about the difference in the consecration of the Eucharist? (Trick question.)
More about Monsignors. It seems that the Sacrament of Monsignor has matter and form. The matter is the fancy cassock and the form is “Come apart and rest awhile”.
Yes, folks, I’m here all week. Next week I’ll be at Ha Ha‘s in Cleveland. Be sure to tip your waitresses.
GO TO CONFESSION!