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Why do we call priests "Father"

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by MVermi, Apr 25, 2002.

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  1. MVermi

    MVermi New Member

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    Just something I have allways wondered.
     
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  2. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    Hi MVermi,

    I guess I'll answer that :)

    1 Corinthians 4:15 - Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

    Apostle Paul also calls Timothy, "my true son" (1 Timothy 1:2). He says the same thing for Titus (Titus 1:4). And he calls the Galatians, "My dear children" (Galatians 4:19). John does that too (1 John 2:1)

    I personally think calling some people "father" is just a biblical as calling someone "brother" :)

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  3. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

    +605
    Eastern Orthodox
    We call them fathers because they are our fathers in the faith. They lead and teach us like their children, and we should respect them like our fathers.


    1 Corinthians 4:15
    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.

    Philippians 2:22
    But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

    1 Thessalonians 2:11
    for you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you

    Philemon 1:10
    I appeal to you for my child, Ones'imus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment.
     
  4. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    Calling a priest "Father" is a sign of respect. He has been assigned to lead the parish, shepherd the flock, and we are acknowledging his parental role in our lives.

    I'm all for giving people the recognition they deserve. If someone has busted his or her hind end to achieve a doctorate, I'm going to accord him with the earned title of "Doctor." A minister, of any faith, should be addressed as "Reverend" or "Pastor." A physician is called "Doctor."

    As for me, I mainly answer to "Mom."

    LOL


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
  5. patriarch

    patriarch Senior Member

    533
    +4
    Catholic
    Heard a great true story about this, and I wish I could do it in inner city dialect as it actually happened.

    New priest is assigned to an inner city parish, finds his way to the school basketball court where the brothers are playing ball.

    He introduces himself. "Hi, I'm Bob"

    One the players says to him, "No, you're *Father* Bob. Don't you know you're supposed to represent God the Father to us?"

    Wish I could have been there.

    Lee
     
  6. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

    +2,528
    United States
    Catholic
    Married
    US-Others
    Well, I think they'd probably be pretty offended if we called them "Mother".
     
  7. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    LOL!! :D

    -Jason
     
  8. MVermi

    MVermi New Member

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    Then how do you explain Matthew 23:9-12 ""But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
     
  9. Hoonbaba

    Hoonbaba Catholic Preterist

    +54
    Catholic
    I think the context of Matthew 23 clearly tells us what this is all about. Matthew 23 has to do with the seven woes against the Jews. Verses 2-7 refer to the hypocritical pharisees:

    The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, "Rabbi, Rabbi. (Matt 23:2-7)

    And the next verse says:

    But you, do not be called "Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren (Matt 23:8)

    The audience in this passage were the disciples (verse 1 tells us so). Keep in mind that this passage begins with the word 'but'. It's a transitory word like 'however', 'neverthless', etc. In other words Jesus said the pharisees are hypocritical in verses 2-7, and that one word ('but') gives us an indication that Jesus is about to say something completely contradictory to the disciples, as if to say something along the lines of "don't be like them"

    And the next passage says:

    Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven (Matt 23:9)

    Also, if we were to look at that verse apart from context, then technically NO ONE should ever call their father, "father" (I'm referring to biological fathers).

    Also, Verse 10-12 also is referring to those who exalt themselves and those who humble themselves. We know that the pharisees exalted themselves, and thought of themselves as the 'greatest' yet they didn't serve others (which contradicts verse 11)

    "But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matt 23:11)

    With the context in mind, I don't see how it has anything to do with why Catholics say "father" to those who more spiritually grounded in Christ. I hope that helps =)

    God bless!

    -Jason
     
  10. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

    +1,249
    Catholic
    How do we explain it? Quite simple actually. If you want to apply this quotation from Jesus Christ fairly, you must apply it to all...

    So let us see what the Bible says...

    Paul:
    1 Corinthians 4:15
    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.

    Philemon 1:10
    I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I
    have become in my imprisonment.

    Hebrews 12:9
    Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them.

    1 Thessalonians 2:11
    …for you know how, like a father with his children, we
    exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and
    charged you…


    John:
    1 John 2:13
    I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.


    Stephen:
    Acts 7:2
    And Stephen said: "Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham...

    Were these three men of the Lord mistaken? Why would God allow these mistakes to be placed into His inerrant word? Rather, there is a conflict of interpretation here because what Jesus said and what Paul did cannot truly conflict (though according to your interpretation of Jesus' words, they most certainly do).

    Jesus' command extends directly to the First Commandment "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me."
     
  11. MVermi

    MVermi New Member

    18
    +0
    Religious Leaders Must Not Seek Honorary Titles (23:7-11) Social etiquette dictated the manner of greetings: one must greet one's social superior first (Manson 1979:99; Goodman 1983:78). Sages were objects of special honor (as in t. Mo`ed Qatan 2:17). Fitting this context of public honor and salutations (vv. 6-7), in Jesus' day Rabbi was probably an honorary greeting, "my master" (vv. 7-8; only gradually did it come to be added as a title to a given teacher's name). But whereas Jesus' disciples will carry on his mission of teaching, they will make disciples for him rather than for themselves (28:19).

    Some people used abba ("papa") as a respectful title for older men and other prominent individuals (Jeremias 1971:68), and may have especially viewed Bible teachers in these terms (see, for example, Sipre Deut. 34.3.1-3). But with God as their Father, Jesus' disciples are all siblings (compare 12:48-50; 18:15; 28:10). Matthew's original readers, who knew all about the titles and power Pharisaic teachers were claiming for themselves, would hear Jesus' teaching as a warning not to be like their competitors by seeking honorary titles or a position above others.

    John Meier, a Roman Catholic scholar, notes Jesus' prohibition of the title father and questions the use of ecclesiastical titles, which arose even in Matthew's church in Syria a few decades after his Gospel (1980:265). But while we Protestants may determine "pecking order" by different means, most of our churches offer the same temptations for personal advancement. In most church services, ministers (including guest ministers performing no function in the service) grace the platform; many churches use various forms of social conformity to increase offerings. In some circles ordained ministers are taken aback if they are not greeted with the title "Reverend," which literally means "one worthy of reverence, one who should be revered." Is it possible that the very criticisms Jesus laid against the religious establishments of his day now stand institutionalized in most of his church?
     
  12. nyj

    nyj Goodbye, my puppy

    +1,249
    Catholic
    Only if you want to criticize St. Paul too, cause he called himself a spiritual father to the Corinthians.
     
  13. Wolseley

    Wolseley Beaucoup-Diên-Cai-Dāu

    +2,528
    United States
    Catholic
    Married
    US-Others
    I don't see what difference it makes. I doubt very much that God is going to tell somebody, "I know you accepted Christ as your Savior and did everything He told you to do, but you called your pastoral leader 'father', so you can't come in."
     
  14. MVermi

    MVermi New Member

    18
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    Do you all feel that the Pastoral helpers are perfect. I believe no one should be held up on a throne that is human. Only Christ is Perfect and no one else.
     
  15. VOW

    VOW Moderator

    +15
    Catholic
    Married
    We are ALL human! No human is perfect, no pastoral helper can be perfect. Some let the occupation surround them with a false notion of perfection, but it doesn't exist.

    No Catholic leader is held up on a throne. The Pope is the Successor to Peter, but Peter himself said that he was a servant to the servants.

    All humans crave a leader, since they are social animals. The problem is when the leader elevates himself or herself so far above the others, he or she forgets the origins of us all.


    Peace be with you,
    ~VOW
     
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