Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Do Cardinals Have Their Title In The Middle Of Their Name?

Q - Why do Cardinals have "Cardinal" in between the first and last names, as if it were a middle name?

A - Thanks for the question.

The reason is a simple one. Their first name is considered their "Christian" name, given at birth. As a sign of humility, Cardinals generally keep this name first to show their first allegiance is to Christ. So, it is common to see "Timothy Cardinal Dolan". This is how most Cardinals will refer to themselves - as a sign of humility.

But, others generally refer use the title of Cardinal first - The title of Cardinal is an ecclesiastical title (from the Church). "Cardinal Timothy Dolan". So, you will see this more often in News stories and such.

I hope this helps.


Michael said...

Does "Cardinal" literally become their legal middle name?

Marcel said...

Michael - No, they do not. It is a title of position, not a name.