Marie asked:

Why do we call priests father but Jesus says no man on earth should be called father?

Tim Staples replied:

"...Jesus said in Matthew 23:9 call no man on this earth father. However, you have to point out to him [the nephew-in-law] that we have to take all of Sacred Scripture not just one verse, 'cause otherwise we can make the Bible say whatever we want.

Go to Ephesians chapter 6 verse 1 where St. Paul quotes the fourth commandment ... honor your father and mother...

Luke chapter 16 verse 24 where Jesus calls Abraham father Abraham...

Romans chapter 4 verses 1 through 18, and you'll see seven times St. Paul calls Abraham father Abraham...

Then you go to James chapter 2 verse 21 and St. James calls Abraham father Abraham...

First John chapter 2 verse 13, St. John refers to the elders to whom he's writing as fathers in the context of exhorting them to teach their spiritual sons and daughters.

Then you go to first Corinthians 4 verses 14 and 15 and listen to this Marie, St. Paul says you have ten thousand instructors in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have not many fathers. I have become your father for I've begotten you through the gospel. It doesn't get more plain than that...

Ephesians chapter 3 verse 14 where St. Paul says for this cause I bow my knee before the father of light, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name or is derived in Greek. Now I should warn you there that the Douay-Rheims gets that one right. Some of the modern bibles will say from whom the whole family is named...

The key is to understand that what Jesus was condemning was the usurpation of the fatherhood of God, that's what religious leaders were doing in the first century, that's what Caesars were doing. Caesar remember demanded to be worshipped as the father of the empire. And we know that's true all the way back to Augustus thirty years before Jesus would make this statement... True fatherhood is participatory... I'm a father in as much as I participate in the sacrament, I participate in the fatherhood of God... As Paul himself said in first Corinthians 4:14 and 15 I have become your father to the Corinthians. Well how could he do that? Because he's a priest. He baptizes thereby he begets children. He nurtures through the sacraments and through teaching..."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: February 24 2015

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tim Staples

Question appeared in show: 44:20

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