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R J Valentine
I think the "correct" salutation used to be "Reverend and dearFather", which sort of nods to your point. Myself, I'd ... in the salutation, as in: Rev. Richard Fontana ... Dear Father Fontana, or, for a business letter, Dear Father Fontana:

IMO: "Dear Fr. Fontana," unless you also spell out "Mister" (and other titles) in other greetings.
Maria Conlon
When it's you against the world, back the world. (Zappa)
...
} My late and reverend headmaster, surnamed Snow, was adamant that he } should be referred to as "Mr Snow" in speech and in the salutation of a } letter, and that "The Rev. Mr G. Snow" was proper on the envelope (the } capitalisation and punctuation, which he didn't speak on, are mine). } What his views became after he was translated to a bishopric, upon } becoming tired of unruly boys, I don't know.
Those would be fine for a deacon (Around Here (tm)), though a lot of people just use "Deacon" with the last (or, God forbid, first) name.

I guess some people use "Msgr." for bishops. We used to use "excellency" or "eminence", but we don't anymore. We don't see people kissing rings much (but I know of one bishop who carries his in his back pocket).

R. J. Valentine
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I guess some people use "Msgr." for bishops. We used to use "excellency" or "eminence", but we don't anymore.

An exception is the Archbishop of New York (Second or Third Largest Diocese In America), who is traditionally known as "Hizzeminence" in informal journalistic usage (much as the mayor is "Hizzoner").
R J Valentine

or, for a business letter, Dear Father Fontana:

IMO: "Dear Fr. Fontana," unless you also spell out "Mister" (and other titles) in other greetings.

Huh. And here was me thinking that "Fr." stood for "friar", not "father". Well, live and learn.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
R J Valentine IMO: "Dear Fr. Fontana," unless you also spell out "Mister" (and other titles) in other greetings.

Huh. And here was me thinking that "Fr." stood for "friar", not "father". Well, live and learn.

And there was me thinking it was frater (brother).

Ross Howard
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Huh. And here was me thinking that "Fr." stood for "friar", not "father". Well, live and learn.

This brings to mind the interesting point that even with rational punctuation "friar" could be abbreviated either "Fr." or "Fr".
Rational punctuation calls for not following an abbreviation with a period if the abbreviation ends with the same letter the unabbreviated word ends with. For example, "Mister" is abbreviated only "Mr".
But in the case of "Friar" we can abbreviate it either way, depending upon which of the two "r"s we think of as ending the abbreviation.
Incidentally, note the difficulties we would get into with my first two paragraphs above if we tried to slavishly follow the silly American punctuation convention that calls for putting an ending period inside quotes whether it makes sense to do so or not.
R J Valentine IMO: "Dear Fr. Fontana," unless you also spell out "Mister" (and other titles) in other greetings.

Huh. And here was me thinking that "Fr." stood for "friar", not "father".

MWCD11 gives it for both, with "father" listed first. (I don't know whether the historical order rule applies to abbreviations.)

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >The misinformation that passes for
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >gospel wisdom about English usagePalo Alto, CA 94304 >is sometimes astounding.

http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
Huh. And here was me thinking that "Fr." stood for "friar", not "father". Well, live and learn.

And there was me thinking it was frater (brother).

I thought it was Fister.

Ray
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Rational punctuation calls for not following an abbreviation with a period if the abbreviation ends with the same letter the unabbreviated word ends with. For example, "Mister" is abbreviated only "Mr".

I don't quite get the rationale for calling this mode of punctuation "rational", or at least for considering it to be more rational than any competing mode of punctuation.
-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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