Abbot (from the Semitic ab or abba, father), a prelate of high rank in the Roman Catholic church, who governs a principal monastery of one of the old religious orders, which may also have minor convents depending on it. An abbot is solemnly consecrated by a bishop, though this is regarded as a merely ecclesiastical and not a sacramental rite. Abbots are allowed to use the mitre, pastoral cross, ring, and crozier, and to celebrate pontifical mass, and are styled right reverend. Some of them in former times exercised a quasi-episcopal jurisdiction over a small district, and were allowed to confer tonsure and minor orders. During the middle ages many abbots, especially in England, were powerful feudal barons. In modern times they are simply superiors of religious houses. In ecclesiastical councils an abbot can speak, but not vote.