AskDefine | Define padre

Dictionary Definition



1 a chaplain in one of the military services [syn: military chaplain, Holy Joe, sky pilot]
2 `Father' is a term of address for priests in some churches (especially the Roman Catholic Church or the Orthodox Catholic Church); `Padre' is frequently used in the military [syn: Father]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Padre



  1. A military clergyman.

Classical Nahuatl

Alternative spellings


From Spanish padre "father; priest", from Latin pater.


  1. A Christian priest.


  • Lockhart, James. (2001) Nahuatl as Written, Stanford University Press, p. 229.



  • [ˈpadre]


From Latin pater


  1. father



Latin pater


padre (plural padres)
  1. priest (Catholic or Orthodox)

See also



From pater


  1. father


Derived terms

See also


  1. cool


Extensive Definition

Padre () is a commonly used term for a military chaplain in the American, Australian Army, British and the Canadian Forces. "Padre" (Spanish and Italian for Father) is the common term of address for all chaplains by all ranks.

United Kingdom

All chaplains are commissioned officers and wear uniform. British Army and Royal Air Force chaplains bear ranks and wear rank insignia, but Royal Navy chaplains do not, wearing a cross and the officers' cap badge as their only insignia.
Chaplains in the armed forces were previously all Christian or Jewish. In recent times, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has employed only Christian chaplains, with the Jewish community providing an honorary chaplain under longstanding arrangements, although Jewish chaplains have served in the Territorial Army. However, at the end of 2004, Ivor Caplin, the then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence announced that the armed forces would recruit four non-Christian chaplains, from Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh communities, with a Jewish chaplain expected to be employed by the MoD in due course.
In the era before callsigns the radio "appointment title" for the Padre was "Sky pilot".


Saint Louis was the king who gave legal status to the military almoners, since chaplains supporting their lord into crusades were the first to be militarized. In 1531, during the Battle of Cappel, the Swiss reformist, Huldrych Zwingli, became the very first Protestant military almoner to be killed in a battlefield.
The actual French Aumônerie Militaire (military almonry) status is based on the July 8th, 1880 law, which involves the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish faiths. The 1905 laicity law, definitely rejecting religion out of the French Republic, exceptionally, doesn't apply to the army. The Minister of Defence names three Chief-Staff-linked military almoners - one per faith - in charge of all chaplains. The civilian chaplains, serving in the army, are named by one of these three military almoners. The first Muslim Chaplain-General, Abdelkader Arbi, was commissioned in 2006.1
French military chaplains wear a uniform, since World War II, but don't have any rank nor rank insignia. The modern military almonry is rooted in WWII, where military chaplains were incorporated in almost every Free French Forces fighting units and made of personnel coming from either Metropolitan France, England or from the French Empire. After the war, military almoners where sent to occupation zones in Germany and Austria.
In the 1950's, military almoners where sent in the French Union's territories, including Indochina and Algeria. In 1954, pastor Tissot was one of the last paratrooper volunteers to jump over the besieged Dien Bien Phu fortified camp in northern Vietnam. In May 7th, he was made prisoner of the Viet Minh and sent to a re-education camp, deep in the jungle.
Since 1984, French military chaplains are involved in every military operations - including the Gulf War - from Rapid Reaction Force (Force d'Action Rapide) units to navy ships.


Army and Air Force:
Chaplains in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have almost the same status as chaplains in the British armed services. Chaplains in the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) are commissioned officers and wear the uniform of officers of their particular branch of the services as well as the rank to which they are qualified. Chaplains in the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force begin their commission as a Captain (Army) or Flight Lieutenant (RAAF) respectively. There are five levels or "divisions" for the seniority of chaplains in the Australian Army and Air Force with each division corresponding to a worn rank. The highest "division" is Division 5 who are "Principal Chaplains," of which there are three per service representing the three major Christian denominations: Catholic, Anglican and Protestant. The Principal Chaplains of the Army wear the rank of Brigadier and in the RAAF, Air Commodore. Australian Army chaplains, whatever their rank, are mostly referred to as "Padre" by officers and soldiers alike. The title is also widely used in the RAAF for their chaplains.
Like chaplains in the Australian Army and RAAF, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) chaplains are commissioned officers and wear the uniform of a RAN officer, but like chaplains in the British Royal Navy (RN) they do not wear a rank. Rather they wear the same cross and anchor emblem worn by RN chaplains on their shoulder rank slides and do not have gold braided rings or executive loops on their winter sleeve coat or summer shoulder boards. Like other chaplains in the ADF, Navy chaplains have five divisions of seniority. Interestingly, whilst Australian Navy chaplains do not wear rank, they are accorded a certain rank for protocol and ceremonial occasions and for saluting purposes. Division 1, 2 and 3 Australian Navy chaplains are accorded the rank and status as Commanders (Lieutenant Colonel equivalent in the Australian Army). Division 4 Australian Navy chaplains are accorded the rank and status of Captain (equiv. of Colonel). Division 5 Australian Navy chaplains are "Principal Chaplains," and these three chaplains, representing the three major Christian denominations: Catholic, Anglican and Protestant, are accorded the rank and status of Commodore. The title "Padre" for chaplains is less common and not officially encouraged in the Royal Australian Navy, although it is known to be used by some sailors and Navy chaplains in preference to the more formal title of "Chaplain" or form of address towards an officer such as "Sir."
Heads of Denominations:
In the Australian Defence Force (ADF), the heads of military chaplaincy for those Christian denominations and of the Jewish faith that have an official association with the ADF, are also members of the ADF's "Religious Advisory Committee" (RAC). With respect to the Catholic and Anglican churches, their Bishops are members of RAC and they and the other members of RAC have the status of a two star General (US) or Major General (Australian Army), or Rear Admiral (RAN) or Air Vice-Marshal (RAAF).


padre in French: Aumônier militaire

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

DD, Doctor of Divinity, Holy Joe, abbe, cassock, chaplain, churchman, clergyman, cleric, clerical, clerk, confessor, curate, cure, divine, ecclesiastic, father, father confessor, father in Christ, gallach, man of God, military chaplain, minister, parish priest, parson, pastor, penitentiary, presbyter, priest, rector, reverend, servant of God, shepherd, sky pilot, spiritual director, spiritual father, supply clergy, supply minister, the Reverend, the very Reverend, tonsured cleric
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