Friday December 4th 2020

Why Do Catholics Call Priests “Father” When the Bible Says “Call no man your father”?

In Matthew 23:9, Jesus says:
“Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”

This passage is often taken out of context, but is wrong to do so.  You should not read the Bible and take verses and apply it to whatever you wish.  As we dig deeper into this passage, if we were to read it literally then no one can be called father.  This would include our biological father and the “Founding Fathers” of our country.  This would also contradict the commandment that we should honor our mother and father.  Furthermore, there are also passages where Jesus refers back to the “fathers” of Israel.  And, St. Paul in describing his very own church leadership refers to himself as the father to his children in 1 Corinthians 4: 14-15.  “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:14–15). There are other versus as well in the New Testament, in Acts 7:2, Stephen refers to “our father Abraham,” and in Romans 9:10, Paul speaks of “our father Isaac.”

In taking the full context of Matthew 23, you see that Jesus is condemning the scribes and Pharisees for lack of humility for not looking toward God for authority but rather setting themselves up as the ultimate authority.  In the chapter, Jesus condemns them for using the titles rabbi (master), abba (father) and moreh (teacher), for their own selfishness and personal gains.  A very crude example of this is a man having children so that he can get a tax benefit and treats his children as such.  He is taking the role of “father” for his own selfishness and personal gains.

Catholics refer to Priest as “father” as a term of endearment and respect.  The priests provides for our spiritual welfare just as a father of a family provides food, shelter and love for his family. Priests, through the Eucharist, provide us with our Spiritual food; through Reconciliation, provide us with forgiveness; through mass and the Bible, they teach us about God and His teachings; they listen and give us advise; and by their vocation, they sacrifice their life in service for us and our families.  The Priest is our spiritual Father and we are his spiritual children.

“The world looks to a priest, because it looks to Jesus!  No one can see Christ; but everyone sees the priest , and through him they wish to catch a glimpse of the Lord” – Pope John Paul II

Reader Feedback

100 Responses to “Why Do Catholics Call Priests “Father” When the Bible Says “Call no man your father”?”

  1. Bert says:

    Stated in the beginning of this post. “This passage is often taken out of context, but is wrong to do so. You should not read the Bible and take verses and apply it to whatever you wish.”
    Isn’t that what the Catholic religion does so many times with its traditions and man made religious laws?

  2. JUSTINA LAZARUS says:

    Thank you all for clearing the doubts in my heart, in the name of JESUS.AMEN

  3. Carlos Angelito says:

    It is wrong to call a Priest father because non of the apostles are called that way. You cannot find father Paul or Father Peter in the Bible. Is there anything written that Paul call Peter Father or Peter call Paul Father? It is not biblical. The priest of the Catholic church are becoming very proud for having a title that they don’t deserve.

  4. Thomas Joseph says:

    “I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:14–15).

    That is it; Paul says he is the father (of Corinthians) in Christ jesus through the gospel.

  5. angel says:

    call no priest father! nor let anyone call you father! humble your self so that you may not be exsalted. the apostles were called Christians. no church with false teaching can the holy spirit be presant! no man has authority to forgive sin but god threw his son jesus. the real church has no carved images. so if you see this things don’t be fooled. turn away that you may not be part of her sin. Babylonia. Jesus Christ is coming soon!

  6. James says:

    The non-Catholics are reading the article to find fault. They are reading for the wrong purpose not for enlightenment. Brash, judgmental, lack of humility, self-righteousness.

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