Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked
Question 8: Why Do You Call Your Priest "Father"?
*"And call no man 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; 21:31), John (8:56), and several other places. In the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus actually presents Lazarus as using the address "Father Abraham" twice (Lk 16:24, 30- See also Acts 7:2; Rom 4:12; Jas 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).
*Answers by Dave Armstrong