"Call no man father...or even Father"

I know there are quite a few people who interpret the words of Jesus from Matthew 23:9 literally, and therefore take issue with the practice in the Roman Catholic church of calling priests “Father Such and Such,” or referencing the Pope as “the Holy Father.”

I’ve never seen a viewpoint presented here from a practicing Catholic to address a Catholic perspective on this, so maybe it would be constructive to do so now…I hope it will be constructive and not argumentative anyhow…

To be purposely brief and succinct, this link is to a website called “Catholic Answers,” it is a good source for someone looking for well written Roman Catholic positions. The link specifically addresses the topic of this post. It is not intended to inspire debate, or back and forth, just to present a sincere response.

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/call-no-man-father

I respect the right of Roman Catholics calling a priest “father” (or Anglican, as some of my very close friends are Anglican priests). I refer quite frequently to the early church patriarchs as the “Church Fathers”. In my eyes, it’s because they’ve earned the right to such a respectful title, by their scholarship, faith, and often, their shed blood.

Speaking as a rather hardcore reformed-tradition Protestant (who read the article you posted), I am deeply unimpressed by his argument for the Apostolic tradition of referring to priests as “father”. He does show good evidence of the word being used colloquially for those whom we consider a spiritual mentor (and, by that use of “father”, I have no fuss with, I agree). But he sidesteps the issue of exactly what Apostle, in what way, in what writing, gave the Church the office of “priest” and precedented the use of the phrase “father” as a title.

The larger question at hand here is if the priesthood, as it’s formulated and enacted within the Roman church is actually the ministry handed down by the Apostles, and I do not find sufficient biblical warrant, nor warrant from the earliest of our church records, to substantiate this claim. In time, the magisterial tradition seems to have grown in complexity and requirement. For example, the Didache is an extraordinarily old document, perhaps as old as the writings of the New Testament itself. Yet it describes the sacrament of baptism in very different ways from the way the priests of the Roman church practice it. The Eucharist isn’t described in any ways that resemble the Real Presence as dictated by the Roman church. Both of these central sacraments are vigorously defended by Roman apologists and theologians as central aspects of the Catholic faith, yet the earliest writings of the church do not seem place priorities in the same way, nor does the New Testament inasmuch as I can tell. Thus I do not believe the office of “priest” to be a necessary construct within the Church for the officiating of the sacraments, nor do

Great post, Chris. I’ll make a sincere response, too, if that’s OK. I think it’s good for people to try to explain their faith and the differences between the denominations as long as they don’t get offended. So, here’s a pretty typical Protestant (also Messianic) take.

You said, “I know there are quite a few people who interpret the words of Jesus from Matthew 23:9 literally, and therefore take issue with the practice in the Roman Catholic church of calling priests “Father Such and Such,” or referencing the Pope as “the Holy Father.””

Well, folks like me take it literall because obviously a literal verse.

Matthew 23 –

"2 …The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:

3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,

7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant."

That’s pretty clear to me. I don’t see a need for a particular denomination to indoctrinate me with what it “really means” when the words on the page are so clear and simple. He’s not saying anything hard to understand there or out of context. It’s very simple and in context. It only becomes hard to understand when people who claim to follow it do what it says not to do and need to reconcile the difference. Then, it

quote:
Originally posted by Redfish_matt

The larger question at hand here is if the priesthood, as it’s formulated and enacted within the Roman church is actually the ministry handed down by the Apostles, and I do not find sufficient biblical warrant, nor warrant from the earliest of our church records, to substantiate this claim.


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I wish I had the time to go into this with you.

To claim there is not suffiient biblical and traditional documentation to substantiate the ligitimacy and authenticity of the priesthood is to reject the same authority that put together the bible.

If you are genuinely interested, there are hundreds of books written on the origins of the priesthood…many of them are written by Protestants who were seriously looking for the truth and found themselves at the Easter Vigil receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation from a Bishop.

If there are Catholics who may read this who may not have the best knowledge of church history, know that the foundations of your faith are bedrock. The answers are there, and if you need help finding them, I can get you started looking in the right places. Feel free to shoot me a PM.

Had a Catholic Preacher get quite offended at me once because I called him Preacher. He said you’re to refer to me as Father such and such. My reply to him was no sir, with all due respect, God is my Heavenly Father and gave me life, my earthly father also gave me life and raised me, I don’t recall you ever being in either equation. I don’t pretend to know a lot about Catholicism, don’t really care to, I respect the beliefs but I don’t think a Pope, Bishop or Priest has the ear of God any more than a drug addict lying in the gutter begging for help.

Oh and I called that particular fellow Preacher until the day he passed, got his goat and made him smile later on when he realized I was picking at him.

Mark
Pioneer 222 Sportfish Yamaha F300
Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal? I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.

“Life’s tough…It’s even tougher if you’re stupid” John Wayne

quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

I don’t think a Pope, Bishop or Priest has the ear of God any more than a drug addict lying in the gutter begging for help.


I think there are very few Popes, Bishops or Priests whould disagree with you.

What they do have the authority to do however, is to confer the Sacraments…Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Annointing of the Sick.

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

I don’t think a Pope, Bishop or Priest has the ear of God any more than a drug addict lying in the gutter begging for help.


I think there are very few Popes, Bishops or Priests whould disagree with you.

What they do have the authority to do however, is to confer the Sacraments…Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Annointing of the Sick.


So does the Pastor at my Church but I’m not calling her mother/father depending on the gender. Nor would they expect me to.

Mark
Pioneer 222 Sportfish Yamaha F300
Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal? I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.

“Life’s tough…It’s even tougher if you’re stupid” John Wayne

quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

…Nor would they expect me to.


Certainly nothing wrong with that.

Mr. Caudle, my responses to your comments below are in blue</font id=“blue”>.

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by Redfish_matt

The larger question at hand here is if the priesthood, as it’s formulated and enacted within the Roman church is actually the ministry handed down by the Apostles, and I do not find sufficient biblical warrant, nor warrant from the earliest of our church records, to substantiate this claim.


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I wish I had the time to go into this with you.

To claim there is not suffiient biblical and traditional documentation to substantiate the ligitimacy and authenticity of the priesthood is to reject the same authority that put together the bible.

That’s absolutely false and ironically accusative. The priesthood as you now know it didn’t exist in the Bible, nor is it mentioned, aside from hints by Paul of the practical organization of elders, pastors, and bishops without any denominational language. The Biblical priesthood was the Levitical priesthood (Jews), and Jesus spoke against forming an immitation in the Kingdom. The premise for the Catholic priesthood is based on the idea of “Apolostolic succession”, which is an extrapolation from the verse where Jesus said He’d build His Church on the foundation of Peter. The Catholic Church claims a continuous line of succession from Peter, but cannot prove it by the Bible because the Bible was written long before that alleged chain of succession supposedly happened. There was also a split between the early eastern and western church, leading to a whole new, complicated chapter of church history, with some priests claiming legitimacy

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

I don’t think a Pope, Bishop or Priest has the ear of God any more than a drug addict lying in the gutter begging for help.


I think there are very few Popes, Bishops or Priests whould disagree with you.

What they do have the authority to do however, is to confer the Sacraments…Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Annointing of the Sick.


Do they have the “authority” to perform “Holy” matrimony for two MEN?

Why evade this question?

Gotcha Covered,
Lee Strickland
Strickland Marine Insurance Agency, Inc.
https://stricklandmarine.net
843-795-1000 / 800-446-1862

quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

I don’t think a Pope, Bishop or Priest has the ear of God any more than a drug addict lying in the gutter begging for help.


I think there are very few Popes, Bishops or Priests whould disagree with you.

What they do have the authority to do however, is to confer the Sacraments…Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and the Annointing of the Sick.


So does the Pastor at my Church but I’m not calling her mother/father depending on the gender. Nor would they expect me to.

Mark
Pioneer 222 Sportfish Yamaha F300
Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal? I wouldn’t go so far as to call a dog filthy but they’re definitely dirty. But, a dog’s got personality. Personality goes a long way.

“Life’s tough…It’s even tougher if you’re stupid” John Wayne


This is where the rubber hits the road. ChrisCaudle, do you believe that a Baptist Preacher has the priestly authority to administer sacriments, or is that reserve to your Catholic “fathers”?

More importantly, what about what the BIBLE actually says on the priesthood of all believers?

Check this out, all.

Speaking to CHRISTIANS IN GENERAL, not to any special class, but to ALL, the Apostle Peter–upon whom the Catholic concept o

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by saltydog235

…Nor would they expect me to.


Certainly nothing wrong with that.


Why? Because they have less of a claim to the title than your “fathers”? Please, expound.

Gotcha Covered,
Lee Strickland
Strickland Marine Insurance Agency, Inc.
https://stricklandmarine.net
843-795-1000 / 800-446-1862

Feel free to correct any part of this…I am more interested in learning than in being “right”. I’d like to address only two of the sacraments: communion and baptism. I only address these two because they are the only two that I have researched (and very little research at that). Communion and baptism can be performed by laypersons as well as clergy. The Catholic church prefers that clergy perform these sacraments, but if no clergy is available, then laypersons are permitted and encouraged to.

If you’re lucky enough to be fishing, you’re lucky enough.

You really come off poorly when you carry on like this.

It’s unfortunate and counterproductive.

quote:
Originally posted by SurfFishLife

Communion and baptism can be performed by laypersons as well as clergy. The Catholic church prefers that clergy perform these sacraments, but if no clergy is available, then laypersons are permitted and encouraged to.


I appreciate your interest…I’ll give a brief reply and if you’d like more, I’ll certainly expound.

Starting with Communion…only an ordained Priest can consecrate the bread and the wine that Catholics believe become the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Any layperson who is attempting to consecrate, or conveying to others that he/she is consecrating bread and wine is in serious error, and is committing a grave sin.

Laypersons, both men and women are permitted to assist with the distribution of the Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and in some cases outside of the Mass when bringing the Eucharist to the sick or homebound. This is provided that they are in good standing with the Church (free of serious sin, participating in the Sacramental life of the Church, etc.).

Regarding the Sacrament of Baptism, Priests and ordained Deacons can convey the Sacrament. Laypersons cannot perform it except in extreme circumstances (immediate death, etc.), and I am not certain on all the specifics of that.

Thanks for explaining the Catholic beliefs on those two sacraments. I hadn’t heard about the differentiation between the consecration and the distribution before.

If you’re lucky enough to be fishing, you’re lucky enough.

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle

You really come off poorly when you carry on like this.

It’s unfortunate and counterproductive.


"Carry on like this"? People are simply making their case for their beliefs and asking you questions that you refuse to answer.

The only “carrying on” I’ve seen is where you attacked me personally–in the thread that spawned this one–with false claims that I was “spreading misinformation” about the Catholic Church by saying that their priests can’t marry–which I proved to be true. I also thought it was a bit “carrying on” for you to accuse me of “intentionally” trying to “smear” the Pope with a lack of sincerity just because my admitted “impression” of his words wasn’t favorable and because I said I don’t follow him.

I’m honestly not sure that you actually believe what you’re talking about here. If you did, you’d just answer the questions asked. I’ve spent time with priests before, and they answer such questions without getting hostile.

I’m just trying to be straight up with you.

Frankly, it seems disingenuous how you started out in the other thread with attacking language, and now pretend to just be here to share Catholicism. If you really do want to share, then please answer the questions asked. I ask them because I’m sincerely interested in your position.

Gotcha Covered,
Lee Strickland
Strickland Marine Insurance Agency, Inc.
https://stricklandmarine.net
843-795-1000 / 800-446-1862

quote:
Originally posted by Chris Caudle
quote:
Originally posted by Redfish_matt

The larger question at hand here is if the priesthood, as it’s formulated and enacted within the Roman church is actually the ministry handed down by the Apostles, and I do not find sufficient biblical warrant, nor warrant from the earliest of our church records, to substantiate this claim.


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I wish I had the time to go into this with you.


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We are probably in the same boat as this one. I don’t consider this topic something to get nasty about, but I do love (crave) the debate. I find it very edifying if two Christians can debate issues in a civil manner, and perhaps even learn/grow a little.

Yet, this discussion I’m having today on this forum is about 3X more stuff than I really have time for lol. I have a discipleship group to prepare for, an outboard motor to tune up, a truck to fix, etc. So I know what you mean lol.

quote:
To claim there is not suffiient biblical and traditional documentation to substantiate the ligitimacy and authenticity of the priesthood is to reject the same authority that put together the bible.

Again, a different stance than I believe is historically warranted. The Church (of any flavor) never commissioned the production of the Bible. The authority that put the Bible together was the Holy Spirit which inspired it. It is the same Holy Spirit which gave the Church the ability to understand the canon apa

Interesting discussion here. I have always wondered about calling Catholic priests father. Thanks Chris for the post explaining it from the Catholic perspective. I tend to simply this by just saying it all depends on your heart. I dont mean the desire of your heart as it is deceitful, but rather the motive of your heart in your action. I believe this holds true for giving, praising, praying, reproving, or even calling someone father. While i will not call another man, except my Dad, father, i understand why Catholics do it for priest. My belief is that if you are sincerely calling him father, as in your spiritual teacher, and not Father as in equal with God then you are ok. None of us know what is in another man’s heart, only God, therefore I think it is fruitless to argue such things, but that is just me, now. I understand that there are some that love to debate and I dont think there is anything wrong with that either depending on your motive for debating. I used to love to debate issues in politics and in religion, but the more I read the Bible and prayed, the more He made me uderstand that I was debating just to prove I was right and how prideful that was and God hates pride. It made me try to think about what my motive was before I do anything now and if it wasn’t for God, but rather for me, I try my best not to do it. Being a sinner, I don’t always succeed, so If a Catholic wants to call his priest father, but considers God his true Father in his heart and does ALL things for God’s will, then i see no problem. God surley knows that man’s true motives. I, nor any other man does. This is just my opinion on the matter and not directed at anyone.

quote:
Originally posted by RWL

My belief is that if you are sincerely calling him father, as in your spiritual teacher, and not Father as in equal with God then you are ok.


I’ve never met a Catholic who has ever come close to equating a Priest with God, or identifying a Priest, Bishop or even the Pope as worthy of worship or on any level with God.

I think the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio show this in an interesting way…perhaps you saw the pictures of more than three million young people packed onto the beach for the closing Mass on Sunday. It was remarkable. The secular media often referred to the Holy Father as “the rock star Pope,” suggesting that he was the center of the numerous events that make up World Youth Day.

To view the Holy Father in that light is to misunderstand his mission…Popes refer to themselves as “servus servorum Dei,” or “servant of the servants of God.” The ministry of the Holy Father is one not of self-exultation, but of service to the poor, the sinners, the sick, the elderly, the young and the faithful. Another way of looking at it is by comparing it to the old food pyramid they used to use to teach nutrition in school. The pyramid was organized in levels leading to the pinnacle at the top. The Holy Catholic Church is organized in a very similar way, except the pyramid is turned upside down, with the pinnacle at the bottom, and the widest part at the top.

At the very bottom is the Holy Father - the Servant of the Servants, and at the top are the servants I mentioned above. You can see this in the dignified way Blessed John Paul II publically endured the embarrassing effects of Parkinson?s carrying on his service until his death. You can see it in Benedict XVI’s resignation when he acknowledged he was no longer capable of carrying on the ser