RULE # 1: CHURCH
Capitalize the word "church" when it refers to:
1) A specific church denomination as a whole or a specific local church: Roman Catholic Church, The Protestant Christian Church, First Assembly of God Church.
2) As part of a recognized name or title: The prayer group met at St. Michael's
Lowercase the word "church" when it refers to:
1) The entire body of Christians, globally or all through time: We pray at our church every Sunday evening.
2) Clerical, instead of secular, government: Members felt the changes further separated the church and state.
3) The Christian faith: He sang in the choir at the church.
4) A building used for communal worship: Our church was built in 1972.
5) A group of Christians making up one church or parish: He became a member of this church last year.
6) A group of Christians in any state or city: Julia flew to New York to visit the church at Center Street.
RULE # 2: TITLES OF INDIVIDUALS
1) Title first, then person's full name:
- Bishop Terry Blake
- Msgr. Brian Jones
- Fr. Andrew Schanpp
- Sr. Betty White
- Dr. Stephen Hills
2) When referring to the Holy Father, use Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Benedict. Afterwards, you can use just Pope Benedict, Benedict XVI, or the pope.
3) Lowercase "pope" or "popes" when you use the word in a general way: Over the years popes have blessed us with good news.
RULE # 3: NAMES OF PLACES AND STRUCTURES
1) Capitalize the following words when you use them as part of an official name. Lowercase non-official words.
- The Diocese of Fairfax was closed.
- The diocese was closed.
- The Vatican library was closed.
- The library was closed.
- St. Michael's Church was closed.
- The church was closed.
RULE # 4: NAMES OF DIVINE BEINGS
1) Capitalize the names of divine beings, no matter if the religion is monotheistic or polytheistic:
- Satan (the word "devil" is lowercase)
2) Capitalize the different names for God:
- the Almighty
- the Lord
- Son of God
- the Trinity
- the Holy Spirit
3) Capitalize personal pronouns when you refer to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit:
The passion of God appears in all of us, because God sent His only begotten Son into our world so that we may have the chance to live through Him.
RULE # 5: NAMES OF THE BIBLE
1) Capitalize the names and variations of the Bible and religious works of other faiths:
- the Law
- the Revised Standard Version
- Quran Sutra
2) Lowercase the adjective form of Bible and Scripture:
3) Capitalize the names of books of the Bible. In most cases, lowercase the word "book" and capitalize the words "Gospel" and "Epistle":
- the book of Exodus
- the Gospel of Mark
- the Epistle of Galatians
- the Psalms
- a psalm
- the Acts of the Apostles
4) Lowercase the word "gospel" when you use it as a noun or an adjective to refer to "the good news": Catholics must teach the gospel message to the masses.
RULE # 6: NAMES OF RELIGIONS
1) Capitalize the names of major religions and denominations: Christianity, Christian Protestantism, Greek Orthodox, Catholicism, Muslim.
2) Capitalize the noun variations of both Pentecostal and Charismatic. However, lowercase the adjective variation of these words:.
- teachings of a Pentecostal
- a pentecostal follower
- the prayer style of a Charismatic
- charismatic service group
RULE # 7: DATES
Use the era classifications B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord) instead of B.C.E. (before the common era) and C.E. (of the common era).
** Note that B.C. follows the year. A.D. precedes the year.
- 1150 B.C.
- A.D. 79.
Many publications adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style for composing religious articles. In some cases the publication might have its own house style which conforms to a different writing style.
Please leave comments and/or corrections.