Category talk:Religious leaders

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WikiProject Religion / Religious leaders (Rated Category-class)
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earlier comments on this category[edit]

Maybe a bit late to ask, but should this category include articles like cardinal or just article about individual cardinals? -- User:Docu

BTW there is Category:Christian leaders (which currently isn't a subcategory). -- User:Docu

Guidelines for Page[edit]

This page should only contain categories containing people. Articles about religious leadership positions or roles should go in Category:Religious leadership roles and articles about individuals should be placed in an appropriate sub-category. If the sub-category doesn't exist, create it (with this Category as its parent). --JeffW 20:23, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

Organization proposal[edit]

Here's an idea on how to have this organized...

  • Religious leaders by religion
    • Christian religions leaders
      • Methodist religious leaders
      • Roman Catholic religious leaders
      • Anglican religious leaders
      • ...
    • Jewish religions leaders
    • Muslim religious leaders
    • Buddhist religious leaders
    • Taoist religions leaders
    • ...
  • Religious leaders by title
    • Clergy
    • Priests
    • Imams
    • Rabbis
    • ...
  • Religious leaders by nationality
    • (as it is now, mostly)

And intersections of those, such as Wiccan priests, Anglican priests, Roman Catholic bishops, Italian clergy, American rabbis, etc. Titles that're only used by one religion (such as, say, Grand Mufti) wouldn't need an adjective saying what religion they're for, they'd just go under (in this example) Religious leaders by title and Muslim religious leaders (or Sunni religious leaders). Other things, such as priest, ought to be subdivided by religion. There'd be some grey areas, but it'd be more structured and less haphazard than now. What do others think? Mairi 05:43, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. --Alynna 19:54, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
I like it up to a point. Personally, I would like to see the categorization go something like this:
  • Religious leaders by religion
    • Christian religions leaders
      • Methodist religious leaders
        • Methodist bishops
        • Methodist priests
        • ...
      • Roman Catholic religious leaders
        • Roman Catholic Popes
        • Roman Catholic archbishops
        • Roman Catholic bishops
        • Roman Catholic priests
        • Roman Catholic religious
      • Anglican religious leaders
        • Anglican archbishops
        • Anglican bishops
        • Anglican priests
        • Anglican religious
        • ...
    • Jewish religions leaders
      • High Priests of Israel
      • Rabbis
    • Muslim religious leaders
      • Shi'ite religious leaders
      • Sunni religious leaders
    • Buddhist religious leaders
    • Taoist religions leaders
    • ...

(the rest as per the proposal above). I say this only because I think it might be a good idea, particularly in the larger faiths, to break down the structure of the church by its own internal hierarchy, hopefully listing only the highest position achieved for each person, but definitely listing at least that position. This would make it easier to find the real "heavyweights" in the various religions, for those who are inclined to do so. I am leaving a copy of the message that was sent to the WikiProject Religion on the talk pages of all of the "daughter" projects, and hope that we will hear from some of them soon as well. Badbilltucker 21:54, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

Both look fine to me ... I like the second one better, although I would keep in mind that most denominations probably will not need to be split up into sub-categories. BigDT 22:54, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm glad we're having this discussion. I like the second one better as well. The only thing I would mention is there needs to be a category for lay religious leaders.NinaEliza 23:01, 9 December 2006 (UTC)
That's roughly what I intended too, so I'm fine with that. I agree about the need for lay religious leaders categories; they could just go under Category:Foo lay religious leaders, unless the church has a specific name for them. Mairi 23:51, 9 December 2006 (UTC)

One other thing I thought about ... there are Baptists, Southern Baptists, American Baptists, and Independent Baptists. There are Lutherans, ELCA, and LCMS. There are Catholics, Roman Catholics, American Catholics, and plenty of other Catholics not in communion with Rome. You get the idea. In each case, other than name, there is little relationship between the two. For example, American Catholics do not acknowledge the Roman church. American Baptists usually don't belong to the Southern Baptist Convention. However, with a lot of the denominations, you're really getting into category creep, if we give each and every Baptist group its own category structure. I'm not particularly picky ... we just need to make sure that there is some standard for when we split up, for example, Catholics into Sub-Catholics, so that we don't, six months from now having someone creating a complete structure for a 10-church Baptist denomination. BigDT 21:15, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I agree wholeheartedly with BigDT above. I think we might try to create categories only when there is already a specific page in wikipedia already about the "denomination" (if that's what it's called). Otherwise, if I, for instance, am found out to have started the Church of Cthulhu, but there is no specific existing article for my church, then I should be included only in the category of religious leaders from physical area Foo, and, maybe, in a generic religious category like Category:New age religious leaders, for example. Badbilltucker 21:57, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I'm tempted to found the Church of Foo.NinaEliza 01:45, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
And, as a defender of religious belief in all its forms, I would support you in doing so. People should be allowed to create any tax dodges they can think of. But I do think that maybe a bit of clarification of my earlier statement is in order anyway. To clarify (I hope) a little, I think maybe we would only create categories if there already exists a category for that particular named religious group. So, as their is a Category:Hinduism, there would be subcategories created. If there is not a category, like, for instance for the Church Universal and Triumphant, their leaders would be classified in the Category:Leaders... of whatever existing Category is included on their page to describe their church, in the case above, maybe either Category:New Age religious leaders and/or Category:Spirituality religious leaders (which in this case don't really make a lot of sense, so probably would not be created.) Badbilltucker 03:11, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Mairi's idea is good, but I think that User:Badbilltucker's improvement will work better because of the vastly different structure and terminology between churches. In the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the top-down structure is:

  • General Conference president
  • Division president
  • Union president
  • Conference president
  • Pastor

Which is again quite different from the Catholic and Anglican examples provided. -Colin MacLaurin 12:18, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Clergy categories[edit]

This note is intended for reference rather than discussion on this page, as I will update it and link back to it from further CfD discussions.

I propose a series of CFD nominations to merge the two layers of categories for "clergy" and "religious leaders", because it's largely a duplicate layer. Having a separate layer for "clergy" is over-categorization by WP:SHAREDNAME, as not all churches use the term. The word "clergy" can be retained below the "religious leaders by denomination" level, only within the denominational families where "clergy" is the main term used for leaders; the categories for other denominations will use their preferred terms, at the same level. There was a third layer for "Christian ministers", and I started by taking out that extra layer. Here are some links to discussions of clergy & ministers categories, renamed to "religious leaders" or specific terms.

Updating the tree that I proposed at 2013 May 19 for different outcomes of subsequent CfDs, the final tree could include:

Category:Religious workers
Category:Religious leaders
Category:Christian religious leaders
Category:Christian religious leaders by nationality
Christian religious leaders by period (renamed back from Category:Christian clergy by period)
Category:Christian religious leaders by denomination
Category:Roman Catholic clergy, or should that one be Category:Roman Catholic priests?
Category:Eastern Orthodox clergy
Category:Protestant religious leaders
Category:Baptist ministers
Category:Lutheran clergy
Category:Pentecostal pastors

A discussion of female "clergy" at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 June 2 was closed with no consensus over whether clergy are "religious leaders" or "religious workers", so a CFD or other discussion on that may be needed soon.

Buddhist priestesses were renamed to Category:Female Buddhist clergy at Wikipedia:Categories for discussion/Log/2014 September 18#Category:Buddhist priestesses, but this may be a temporary outcome pending more information on merging with Category:Buddhist nuns.

Pentecostal pastors/ministers are being discussed again at Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2015_January_4#Pentecostal_minister_categories. – Fayenatic London 23:58, 4 January 2015 (UTC)


  • @Fayenatic london: Question: Christian clergy is currently a child category of Category:Christian religious leaders. What is your view on other child categories of Christian religious leaders, how would they fit in? Marcocapelle (talk) 13:34, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
    • @Marcocapelle: Evangelists and missionaries should go up into a Christian sub-cat of Category:religious workers rather than "leaders". Theologians, monks and nuns (Category:Members of Christian religious orders), and some others belong at that level too. The others look OK to stay. – Fayenatic London 17:15, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
      • @Fayenatic london: So a top level summary of your proposal is to rename Clergy into Christian religious leaders, and rename Christian religious leaders into Christian religious workers, right? Marcocapelle (talk) 20:49, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
        • @Marcocapelle: No, neither of those... Merge Clergy into Religious leaders, and merge Christian clergy into Christian religious leaders. I had not thought much about "religious workers" before the June 2 CFD, which created a "Female" sub-cat under that name. As I see it, Religious leaders should be a sub-cat of Religious workers, in which case Christian religious leaders should be under a new Category:Christian religious workers. – Fayenatic London 21:50, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
          • Should have been:
So a top level summary of your proposal is to rename Christian Clergy into Christian religious leaders, and rename Christian religious leaders into Christian religious workers, right?
Of course it can be similarly applied to other religions and to the religion top level. I agree that in the new setup religious leaders should be a sub-cat of religious workers, just like now clergy is a sub-cat of religious leaders. Marcocapelle (talk) 22:01, 4 October 2014 (UTC)
  • "Category:Roman Catholic clergy, or should that one be Category:Roman Catholic priests?" No. "Clergy" is broader than "priests" priests should be a subcat of clergy. For instance Franz Liszt was a Roman Catholic clergyman, since he received tonsure and several of the minor orders, but was not a priest.--Samuel J. Howard (talk) 15:59, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
    • Thanks, Samuel. I see from the article that Liszt received the four minor orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte. After this ordination he was often called Abbé Liszt. It seems to me that these four orders, like being a Protestant lay preacher, are not WP:DEFINING. Liszt should therefore stay categorised in Hungarian Roman Catholics, but not Roman Catholic clergy. In my opinion, therefore, categories for RC clergy should be deleted, for the same reason as I oppose a broader category of Pentecostal ministers. This would of course require a full discussion, and in practice, if deletion is approved, it would need to be selectively merged to RC priests. – Fayenatic London 23:58, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
      • Bishops and priests are both subcategories of clergy that are defining in the sense you want. But this defining business is clearly not how categories are actually being used in Wikipedia. Your entire scheme seems to be based on this misaphrension. We use categories for alumni relationships for example. Or is being a painter really defining for Adolf Hitler? --Samuel J. Howard (talk) 19:33, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
        • In most cases, the clergy and priests categories are used as synonyms. Bishops would be a subcategory of priests, if the clergy level was removed.
          • OK... the problem is that would be WRONG. This is not the common conceptual scheme used by the Church, in which clerics is the overarching category for bishops, priests, deacons (and the minor orders at various points and in various places). You're creating your own conceptual scheme, it's a form of --Samuel J. Howard (talk) 15:16, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
        • Categories get removed if they are used in non-defining ways. There is an article Paintings by Adolf Hitler but none on exorcisms by Franz Liszt. – Fayenatic London 09:15, 6 January 2015 (UTC)
          • The way you're using defining is highly problematic, but leaving that aside, ordination in the Roman Catholic Church would still qualify as standard biographical details per WP:COP#N. Being ordained is just as much a standard biographical detail as being an alumnus of this or that university, which isn't generally defining.--Samuel J. Howard (talk) 15:16, 6 January 2015 (UTC)