Report: Pope stops naming monsignors

Pope Francis has stopped granting priests the honorary title of "monsignor" in advance of an October meeting with several cardinals on possible reforms in the Catholic Church, the London-based Catholic weekly The Tablet is reporting Thursday.

According to the Tablet's Rome correspondent Robert Mickens, Francis first made the decision in April shortly after his election as pope. The decision was also reported by the Rome daily Il Messagero today.

The title monsignor is an honorific of sorts normally granted to priests as a reward for service to the church or as a sign of some special function they serve in church governance. The title is usually granted by the pope on the recommendation of the priest's local bishop.

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Some have criticized the practice, saying it leads to an air of careerism in the church.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR national correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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