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Capntom wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a friend who says that we should call no man Father.

  • Is there any Biblical evidence to support the Catholic position in calling priests "Fathers"?

Thank you for your time.

Capntom

  { Is there any Biblical evidence to support the Catholic position in calling priests Fathers? }

Bob replied:

Dear friend:

If you want to be more persuasive with your friend, use the Bible. The Bible can become a common ground for discussion, provided he is open to looking beyond the anti-Catholic rhetoric he has been taught.

Go to the place where Jesus says, "call no man father" (Matthew 23:9), and go a step further.
He also said call no man "master" or "teacher".

  • Now would it be wrong to call someone "teacher", or a child to call their daddy "father"?

He will probably respond by saying this is meant only in a spiritual sense. So in other words,
he would assert that no man should be looked at as a spiritual father.

At that point, you can bring in St. Paul, who identifies himself as a spiritual father to Timothy, Titus and the Corinthians. Read these Epistles and write down all the references where Paul either calls them "my child, or my son in the faith" or whatever. (For example, see 1 Timothy 1:2; and especially 1 Corinthians 4:15. Ask your friend:

  • Is Paul a biological father?
  • Is he a spiritual father?

If so, this is legitimate and does not contradict Christ's command.  That is precisely why we call priests "father." They have a fatherly role, rooted in Christ, as they carry on the Lord's work.

The thing Jesus does warn against is the holding up of a human person as another way to God,
as if others were equal to Him. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. However, in some religions, especially eastern religions like Hinduism, people do, in fact, hold up human beings as though they possess "enlightenment" and can show us the way, independent of Christ. That is precisely the kind of blasphemy that Christ rails against.

Peace,

Bob K.

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