I am trying to learn about Catholic clerical posts called "cura" and "cura teniente" in rural 1700s Mexico. "Teniente" generally means second-in-command, like lieutenant. I am tempted to translate the title as "assistant priest" but this specific term refers to priests of the cathedral chapter, so I'm not sure of its correct name in English.

So in a parish with both sorts of priests, one would outrank the other? If so, I would like to know what to call those positions. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


What's the normal term for a Catholic priest that works in a parish under another one?

In Catholic parishes the priest in charge is commonly known as the pastor. He is normally addresses as Father in everyday conversation. The priests that aid a pastor in the administration of a parish are called either assistant pastors or associate pastors.

Years ago, the term assistant pastor for a priest helping in the administration of a parish was universally the only term used. Nowadays, associate pastor is quite common in certain regions. In everyday conversation, they simply called Father.

Sometimes, assistant pastors are called parochial vicars.

A priest who is residing at a parish and who on occasion helps out in the administration of a parish is known as a priest in residence. These priests are not pastors or assistant pastors because they normally will have some sort of ministry that takes up a large portion of their day. They often are ministering to hospitals or prisons and are called Chaplains.


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