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Is it common place to address letters directly to the Pope himself?

serb1389

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Please forgive my ignorance on this.  I recently had a situation where people used the "ask a priest" function on our website, and they addressed their letter "Dear Pope Benedict"...

To say that I was shocked and confused is an understatement.  I at first thought it was a joke or something, but ended up writing a response anyway.  What really intrigued me was the question of whether or not this is an acceptable practice in the RC church? 

Are there procedures to deal with letter such as this? 

To me it would seem like writing a letter to Santa Claus...the USPOST has a procedure for that, so maybe the Vatican has one for this.  Sorry for the analogy it's the best I could come up with on short notice...lol. 

Does anyone know anything about this?  Is this common?  Is the Pope being the head of the church so engrained in people's minds that they feel they have to go straight to the top to get answers? 

Thank you all for any answers to this. 
 

Crucifer

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Here's the address:

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

the way to start the letter would be:
"If it please Your Holiness"

It would be akin to writing to the President of the US or Elizabeth Windsor; they probably will never see the letter themselves, and you will receive a reply from a secretary.
 

scamandrius

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So, you wouldn't address the Pope in a letter with "Yo, my main holy man, Pope B-dawg"?  No wonder I haven't got any responses! ;D

Totally meant in jest, my Catholic friends. ;) I would never, ever address a pope as such, just as I would never write to the current President with anything less than his proper honorific.
 

Crucifer

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I don't call ppl I've just met by thier 1st name, unless they invite me to, so I'd probably call him "Mr. Ratzinger".
 

peterfarrington

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I wrote to Pope John Paul II when I was an evangelical and got a very nice reply, a copy of a theological paper, and a photo. Someone had certainly given my letter some thought. I had the sense that the content of my letter had been at least mentioned for a second or two to the Pope.

Father Peter
 

Robert W

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Tallitot said:
Elizabeth Windsor
  ;D
Monarchs do not have a last names. The British Queen is simply named "Elizabeth II". She is of the house of Windsor but it is not her name. Sorry to get off topic.
 

serb1389

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peterfarrington said:
I wrote to Pope John Paul II when I was an evangelical and got a very nice reply, a copy of a theological paper, and a photo. Someone had certainly given my letter some thought. I had the sense that the content of my letter had been at least mentioned for a second or two to the Pope.

Father Peter
I just recommended that the person contact a local RC priest & directed them to the local RC cathedral.  They might have even gotten the names messed up b/c we're both cathedrals of oakland.  Anyway, it was kind of a weird email and I did think it might have been a joke, had it not also been a serious topic. 

I just never thought you could address something directly to him.  makes no sense with all the other people in between...
 

Athanasios

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The Pope has his own email so that one can send him an email -- and I've been told that on certain occasions that account receives millions of emails every day! So, I think it should be obvious that the absolutely staggering volume of messages that get sent to the Pope means he can't personally read and respond to each and every one.

There is a difference between writing the Pope for a blessing or to support him and writing him for a doctrinal or disciplinary matter. For the latter, the usual chain of command is your Priest, then your Bishop, then the Holy See, where it will be filtered to the proper curia office (e.g., Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).


I recall writing the Apostolic Nuncio when the Holy Father came to the U.S. to give my message of support to the Pope. The Apostolic Nuncio (or someone in his office) wrote me back.

 
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