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October 4, 2007 7:48 PM   Subscribe

HolyManEtiquetteFilter: If the Dalai Lama and the Pope are in the same room, how do you address them plurally?

I know both are "Your Holiness", but somehow "Your Holinesses" seems kind of awkward. Anybody have a good guess?
Further, how does one of them address the other?
posted by l33tpolicywonk to Religion & Philosophy (23 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Say 'Your Holiness,' and let each one think that you're speaking only to him.
posted by box at 7:51 PM on October 4, 2007


Yo. I think Yo would work well. Yo, Hat Dude!, even better.

Honestly, though, if you're addressing both simultaneously, I'd go with Holy Fathers and skip the Your business entirely. As to how they address each other, I would assume that the Dalai Lama would call the Pope Your Holiness and the Pope would (please oh god) have the courtesy to address the Dalai Lama in the proper honorific as according to the Tibetan Buddhists.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:54 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I believe box is correct.

(The current Pope would eat the Dalai Lama's face, actually.)
posted by notsnot at 8:02 PM on October 4, 2007


(The current Pope would eat the Dalai Lama's face, actually.)

From a religious point of view, they probably wouldn't acknowledge each other. But both are skillful enough politicians that they would come up with terms of address that don't compromise their respective belief systems without insulting the other party.

If third parties were invited to such a meeting, they would surely be provided with terms of address in advance.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:20 PM on October 4, 2007


But both are skillful enough politicians that they would come up with terms of address that don't compromise their respective belief systems without insulting the other party.

Uh, no. Both the Dalai Lama and the Pope would have to have protocol offices that handle this sort of thing. These folks (I used to be one of them for government) write their speeches and make sure that protocol is followed - in this case, ensuring that the proper and appropriate terms of address are used. In an official, temporal context, neither considers the other to be a competitor.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 PM on October 4, 2007


Holy Ones, perhaps? It strikes me as being appropriate without the phonetic weirdness that "Your Holinesses" has.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 8:48 PM on October 4, 2007


Uh, no. Both the Dalai Lama and the Pope would have to have protocol offices that handle this sort of thing.

Sure, of course they would delegate the actual work part of it.

Also, any hypothetical person important enough to be invited to such a meeting would very likely have their own set of people who would go out and answer this question for them.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:57 PM on October 4, 2007


The language thing would, I imagine, add even more complexity to the task. I would imagine that the intersection between their language sets is on the small side.
posted by frieze at 9:12 PM on October 4, 2007


They're not really a set of interchangeable or naturally grouped Holinesses so addressing them in the plural is likely inherently a protocol violation.

This is probably a write around situation--as in, you'd simply never address them in the plural. "Your holiness..." nod to one Holy Dude... "Your holiness..." nod to the other Holy Dude... "would you come this way, please."
posted by jacquilynne at 9:33 PM on October 4, 2007


"holinesses,........"
posted by taff at 12:00 AM on October 5, 2007


"Y'areet, lads?"

In seriousness, I agree with taff; "Your Holinesses..."
posted by Abiezer at 1:18 AM on October 5, 2007


I agree with jacquilynne. I'd think that if there is any ambiguity, it would be more respectful to address them each individually then continue with what you'd be saying to them both.

P.s. this is one odd question...
posted by TheAspiringCatapult at 2:23 AM on October 5, 2007


Definitely refer to them individually in the situation you describe. If you were to add a few more religious leaders to the pot though, perhaps an Ayatollah or two, the situation might become untenable. Avoid this at all costs.
posted by greytape at 2:33 AM on October 5, 2007


it would be more respectful to address them each individually

Ah, but in which order?
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:37 AM on October 5, 2007


Groups of cardinals, bishops and priests meet all the time. Surely there must be a rule of thumb for addressing those groups.

Anyone up on their etiquette enough to know how you speak when you're, say, addressing the College of Cardinals? Do you pluralize to "Your Eminences"? Address each one individually? Use some other form of address entirely?

(ObSnark: Of course, if you want to be properly inclusive, it ought to be "Y'all's holinesses.")
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:21 AM on October 5, 2007


[a few comments removed -- it's not chatfilter if you don't answer it with answers that inlcude the word dudes. srsly.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:03 AM on October 5, 2007


like the noble cactus the plural would be holii ( hole-eye )
posted by BSummers at 8:29 AM on October 5, 2007


Eminences is, I believe, the way one addresses Cardinals in the plural. Similarly, Excellencies can be used for a group of Ambassadors.

But Holiness is kind of more like President. The current president of the US is Mr. President -- but past presidents revert to their highest non-unique title. Presidents of other countries can, of course, be Mr. President, at the same time, but 'Presidents' doesn't feel like quite the same natural grouping precisely because they're unique within their nation and their courtesy title is meant to belong to them alone. The protocol of addressing multiple presidents of multiple nations is probably the closest thing to addressing multiple holinesses--that's probably what I'd research for guidance. It's a little complicated by the fact that one can address Presidents by name 'President Bush, President Calderon, could you come with me, please.' while the same doesn't really work with Their Holinesses.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:30 AM on October 5, 2007


Cardinals have rank & seniority (yep, here it is).

So on the basis of seniority in office and seniority of religion, the Dali Lama would seem to prevail but the host of such an event would surely come into play.

What if they were having dinner with Sir Jonathan Sacks?
posted by jaimystery at 8:46 AM on October 5, 2007


I based my support for the "Holinesses" address in part to a use of the same in a story on a monastery site. Not exactly the Vatican Protocol Office nor H.H.'s equivalent in Dharamsala, but couldn't scare up either of those. The term seemed right and familiar to me, and was used on the website of one fairly prominent Tibetan Buddhist monastic community in the West.
posted by Abiezer at 8:49 AM on October 5, 2007


Aha! Straight from a Vatican publication! Their Holinesses Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Zakka I wish solemnly to widen the horizon of their brotherhood....

Meanwhile, this site uses it in a photo caption to refer to the Gyalwa Karmapa, the Dalai Lama and Sakya Trizin. It's not official approval, but it suggests that the Dalai Lama might not mind the plural either.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:03 AM on October 5, 2007


" Aha! Straight from a Vatican publication! Their Holinesses Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Zakka I wish solemnly to widen the horizon of their brotherhood.... "

Now this gets complicated. The Vatican recognizes the religious authority of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, which split from Rome in the Great Schism of 1054. The Syriac Orthodox Church, however, split from the other churches as a result of the Council of Chalcedon in 451. So, a couple of questions:

-Does the Vatican recognize the religious authority of the the Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church (i.e. are their sacraments valid under Canon Law)?
-Is the use of the term "Holinessses" tied to this recognition?

The Vatican certain does not recognize the religious authority of the Dalai Lama.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:06 AM on October 5, 2007


Follow up to my own question: protocol opening to a speech Pope Benedict XVI gave to a gathering of religious officials:
Holinesses, Beatitudes,
Illustrious Authorities,
Representatives of the Churches and Ecclesial Communities,
Esteemed exponents of the great world religions
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2007


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