Pope Paul VI drastically reduced the levels of monsignori, curtailing the categories from over a dozen types of monsignor to four, in 1968, and restricted the vestments they may wear.
There is now a report that Pope Francis has prohibited almost all promotions to monsignor.
The Tablet (U.K.) writes the following:
Robert Mickens in Rome
Pope Francis has temporarily stopped the practice of naming priests "honorary prelates", which allows them to take the title "monsignor".
The only exception is for those clerics who work in the Holy See's diplomatic service. The Rome daily, Il Messaggero, reported the decision today.
The Tablet has learned that the Pope communicated the decision on 12 April, shortly after his election, to top officials the Secretariat of State, the office that grants approval to bishops around the world who propose priests for the honorary title.
During that meeting, Francis said he wanted the granting of such onorificienza to be put on hold at least until October, after he had met his group of eight cardinal-advisors to discuss reforming the Roman Curia and governance of the universal Church.
It is not clear if the discontinuation of permitting priests to take the title "monsignor" will remain just temporary provision, or if the title will be made obsolete permanently.
The practice of awarding priests with the honorary title of monsignor was reduced drastically in many parts of the world after the Second Vatican Council, but has been re-adopted in a growing number of dioceses in the past several years.