Saturday, June 09, 2007

Stop the world! The Pope was called "Sir"!

I didn't realize that something like this could merit a headline. Apparently, when President Bush met with Pope Benedict XVI the other day, President Bush said (GASP!), "Yes, Sir," instead of, "Yes, Your Holiness."

I say good for President Bush. I get very irritated at all these made-up little titles that people from other countries invent, and then expect us to respect. My mother always told me that if she ever met the Queen of England, she'd be damned if she would curtsy before the Queen. If you are a British subject, then by all means, curtsy; otherwise, keep your petty little customs to yourself. Same thing with the Pope; if you are Catholic and you feel obligated to call him "Your Holiness", then feel free. But as a non-Catholic, please do not drag me into your rigid customs and courtesies.

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to me that we Americans are constantly being admonished for not respecting the customs of other nationalities and cultures, yet these other people of the world don't seem to worry about reciprocating.

This all reminds me of little kids and their secret handshakes that are required to get into the tree house. The gasping minions who were shocked at Bush's supposed taboo really need to grow up, and get out of the tree house.

Good Day to You, Sir


Texas Truth said...

Gosh Yes. I felt the same thing when I read this "news."

I was raised that "sir" was a proper show of respect.

Anonymous said...

I think that leaders of countries should address other leaders with their appropriate titles. Preseident Bush would expect to be referred to as Mr. President by the Prime Minister of Israel and people refer to judges, ambassadors, and mayors as "Your Honor." I think it's not a dramatic news story - just courtesy.

bluejay said...

I do not refer to judges, ambassadors, and mayors as "Your Honor." I call them Judge, Ambassador, and Mayor. These are their appropriate titles. "Your Honor" is a judgment call that they may not have earned and may not deserve. I have no way of knowing if they are, indeed, honorable. Again, it is the "treehouse" syndrome.

Chanman said...

Sorry Anonymous,
You can demand to be called whatever you want, but I can choose not to do it.

When I was foreman of the jury on a court case about seven years ago, not once did I call the judge "Your Honor" when speaking with her. It was "yes ma'am" and "no ma'am".

Sir, Ma'am, and official titles are the limits of my courtesies. "Your Holiness" is not an official title. I would call him "Sir" or "Pope".

Darren said...

Finally! A point on which we disagree.

I agree that "sir" or "ma'am" are appropriate addresses for someone, but I don't understand the disdain you have for other titles. While some titles might seem antiquated (The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, e.g.), there's nothing wrong with using them. When in Rome, and all that.

And the President was as close to Rome as you could be without actually being in Rome, since the Vatican is independent!

The Brits do not expect Americans to bow or curtsy for the queen. On the web site for the royal family, we're told that if you ever address the queen, she is to be addressed as "Your Majesty" or "Ma'am". Babe Ruth's "Hiya, King" upon meeting George VI (I think) shows a lack of respect.

Respect for local customs is an honorable act (except, obviously, when those customs are egregiously against your own customs).

For the record, I would probably address the Pope as "sir" and the queen as "Your majesty". I would address her heir as "sir" and probably wouldn't use a title for the other royals--not that I ever plan on meeting them, of course!

Chanman said...

Ahh, now see, I agree with you about Babe Ruth. "Hiya, King" is quite crass, but more for the "Hiya" part than the "King" part. I would have said something like, "Pleased to meet you, King George", or, "Pleased to meet you, Sir." What I would not call him would be, "Your Majesty". Those are the titles (along with "Your Holiness" and "Your Honor") that stick in my craw.

I am fine with titles as long as it is their stated job description, e.g. King George vs. Your Majesty, or Judge vs. Your Honor.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Oh, gee what a calamity... Somehow I think the pope understood the title the president used. If GWB were Catholic then I'd raise my eyebrows a bit, but unless he's studied Catholic history this is a non story...