Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Why do You Call Your Priest "Father"?

Third in a series of “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked.”

See the initial posting.


"And call no man you father your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Mt 23:9).

In this passage, Jesus is teaching that God the Father alone is ultimately the source of all authority. But He is not speaking absolutely, because if so, that would eliminate even biological fathers, the title "Church Fathers." the founding fathers of a country or organization, and so on. Jesus himself uses the term "father" in Matthew 15:4-5; 19:5, 19, 29; 21:31, John 8:56, and several other places.

In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus actually has Lazarus using the address "Father Abraham" twice (Luke 16:24, 30. See also Acts 7:2; Rom. 4:12; James 2:21).

St. Paul
also uses the term when he writes, "I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (1 Cor. 4:15. See also 1 Cor. 4:14-16), and refers to "our forefather Isaac" (Rom. 9:10).


More Resources

**An excellent yet brief explanation by John Martignoni of Christian Bible Society

**More detailed apologetic from Catholics United for the Faith
'Call No Man Father'? Understanding Matthew 23:9

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