A reader sent my this article.
I resonate with what follows.
Very often I notice though I am very obviously dressed in my black suit with Roman collar, people in, for instance, banks et alibi, address me by my first name. Or, priests are reduced to "sir", which, though better by far, is still sorely lacking. I think more than one of you might remember what might have happened to you in a Catholic school, decades ago, if you slipped and called Father, "sir".
The title is not important for me, personally. What is signals, however, is a societal break down in decorum.
Anyway… I think your readers will have your own comments about what follows.
Miss Manners: A Priest Walks Into a Bank …
Dear Miss Manners,
I am a 50 year old Catholic priest who appreciates your contribution to a more civilized world. As a priest, people are usually polite and well-mannered in my presence, with one glaring exception.
I confess that I am a bit irked by the growing popularity of addressing total strangers by their first names in the banking industry. The tellers at my bank always address me by my first name, even when I am attired in full priestly garb. I have tried responding, "Oh, do I know you? Since you used my first name, I feel sure I should remember yours. I am so sorry."
Am I being too persnickety in thinking that one should use a title (Fr., Mr., etc.) when addressing an older, business client? I spoke once to a branch manager who informed me it was the "company policy." Am I wrong for preferring a little more decorum in these situations?
You are neither wrong nor persnickety, but you are not achieving your very legitimate desire to be addressed respectfully. Your being a stranger to the speaker is sufficient reason alone, as is your being an adult, and a priest.
Unfortunate as it is that the teller has been instructed to use your first name, Miss Manners is guessing that he probably doesn’t even know how else to address you. It would therefore be a kindness to say gently, "Please call me Father Gardner."
Father Z agrees with Miss Manners.
It is very likely that most people today have little or no clue about how to address people, including priests.