Bringing you the "Good News" of Jesus Christ and His Church While PROMOTING CATHOLIC Apologetic Support groups loyal to the Holy Father and Church's magisterium
Home About
AskACatholic.com
What's New? Resources The Church Family Life Mass and
Adoration
Ask A Catholic
Knowledge base
AskACatholic Disclaimer
Search the
AskACatholic Database
Donate and
Support our work
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
New Questions
Cool Catholic Videos
About Saints
Disciplines & Practices for distinct Church seasons
Purgatory and Indulgences
About the Holy Mass
About Mary
Searching and Confused
Contemplating becoming a Catholic or Coming home
Homosexual and Gender Issues
Life and Family
No Salvation Outside the Church
Sacred Scripture
non-Catholic Cults
Justification and Salvation
The Pope and Papacy
The Sacraments
Relationships and Marriage situations
Specific people, organizations and events
Doctrine and Teachings
back
Specific Practices
Church Internals
Church History

Dean L. Gossett wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Who in the Catholic Church came up with the idea of calling priests Father?
  • Were any of the Apostles ever called Father?
  • What did Jesus say about calling someone, other than God, a spiritual Father?
  • Did any of the writers of the New Testament ever call a another leader in the Church Father with a capital F?

Thank you.

Dean

  { Can you answer some questions on the history and use of the Church calling priests, Father? }

Bob replied:

Dear Dean,

The idea of spiritual fatherhood is evident in the early church, most notably in the New Testament where Paul relies on it heavily. Go through his epistles to Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and elsewhere and observe the number of references where he calls them my child (for a simple example look at 1 Timothy 1:2), then note how Paul makes this concept of spiritual fatherhood more explicit when he declares to the Corinthians:

14 I am writing you in this way not to shame you but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 grant you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you have only one father. It was I who begot you in Christ Jesus through my preaching of the Gospel.

(1 Corinthians 4:14-15)

He is calling himself father to the Corinthians, as he does to all his spiritual children.

In full awareness that Jesus said call no man father or teacher (Matthew 23:9), we have to give Paul the benefit of the doubt, otherwise he would be committing a double duty sin, not only calling a man father, but making himself that man.

The context of error that Christ is referring to in Matthew is when someone makes someone, other that Christ, the way to God. In other words, that person becomes a Guru or enlightened figure who can substitute his own wisdom for that of God's. We see that happening all the time in eastern religions, which present real worship to these deified personas. Paul was in Christ and all who share in Christ's priestly ministry follow His Way, not some innovation. Their fatherhood belongs to God's Fatherhood, for they carry out His Ministry.

So we can call someone a spiritual father in the proper context without committing sin, just as Paul did of himself. It is the same when we call someone Doctor — (which means teacher).

Titles to persons who act in a certain capacity are not sinful, but worshiping someone as though he were God is. There is only one way to Heaven: Jesus Christ, and one Father in Heaven, to whom all fatherhood owes its glory.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Similar issues . . .

[Related posting]|[Related posting]|[Related posting]|[Related posting]|[Related posting]
[Related posting]

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
© 2012 Panoramic Sites
The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.