Call priests "Father" in Latin, that is.
This is a fact that came to my attention recently when I was reading a volume of Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions (a canon law journal that prints what its name indicates) that had a revision from the reign of John Paul II of the rescript of laicization that is given to priests who are returned to the lay state (in terms of how they function in the Church; they still remain priests ontologically).
The revision was notable in that it allowed bishops to do things like, after a period of time, allow the ex-priest to serve as a lector or an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.
What caught my attention, though, was the way the document refers to the priest.
In the English translation, it says something like "Father _____________ of the Diocese of ______________ is hereby . . . blah, blah, blah, etc."
But in the original Latin, it doesn’t say the Latin equivalent of "Father _____________," which would be "Pater _____________."
Instead, it said, "D.nus _____________."
I recognized that as almost certainly an abbreviation for "Dominus" or "Lord," which is a title that is still used for clergy in Latin, as it is in some countries (like England) as a title for nobility.
Thus when B16 was elected, Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez announced:
« Fratelli e sorelle carissimi ! ¡ Queridísimos hermanos y hermanas ! Biens chers frères et sœurs ! Liebe Brüder und Schwestern ! Dear brothers and sisters ! Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum : Habemus papam ! Emminentissimum ac reverendissimum dominum, dominum Iosephum, sanctæ romanæ Ecclesiæ cardinalem Ratzinger, qui sibi nomen imposuit Benedicti decimi sexti. »
The blue part would be "Lord Joseph (Cardinal of the holy roman Church) Ratzinger."
(BTW, you can listen to that online HERE. I just love listening to it and recalling that day. I especially like the brief pause before he enthusiastically says "Ratzinger." WHEEEE! I love it. HERE ARE MORE HABEMUS PAPAM RECORDINGS OF OTHER POPES.)
Anyway, after looking at the rescript, I called a friend who is a Latinist and who is well acquainted with Church documents in Latin and asked two questions:
1) Is Dominus the normal honorific used for priests in Church documents.
2) Do they use Pater or an synonym?
So it seems that calling priests "Father" is something that happens in vernacular languages like English (Father) or Spanish (Padre) or Arabic (Abunah) but not (at least not typically) in the Church’s official documents.
I said to my friend: "I bet there are a bunch of priests who don’t know they are ‘Lord So-and-So’ in Latin."
My friend: "Let’s not tell them."