Among professional lay people outside Academe and the
laboratory, including politicians, lawyers, and bankers, it is
customary to eschew the use of doctoral titles. Ministers of
religion, however, seem happy to use them. Very few are doctors of
divinity, although a limited number have a lower doctorate in
religious studies. What is the reason for the difference in
The premise of the question is faulty. The use of the title "Dr"
outside the academic circles is almost universal by those who hold
doctorates. Many people in the Civil Service, professions,
industry, etc., use their doctoral title, and it is entirelyproper
for them to do so.
Indeed, there can be no possible objection, as it is, after all,
the correct mode of address for a person with a Ph.D., D.Phil., or
higher doctorate. Likewise, there can be no objection to the use of
that title by any minister of religion similarly qualified.
There is an anomaly in that surgeons, many of whom have the MD,
prefer to revert to the title "Mr" and its feminine equivalents, as
is customary for that branch of the medical profession. The
majority of medical practitioners take the style "Dr" by virtue of
a paragraph in the Medical Act, despite having only degrees as
Bachelors (usually MB, BS).
Do we sleep in heaven? G. C.
I once heard a sham grace that sounded like Latin but
was a list of household products, including Domestos, Omo, and
Paxo. Can anyone recall the whole of it?G. S.
Address: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor,
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