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Call no man father.

De Maria's picture

Hello all,

On another topic, the Esteemed Julabee Jones is castigating Catholics roundly for calling priests, father.

She bases that opinion on Jesus' injunction, "call no man father". Now I don't see any qualifications there. Jesus didn't say, don't call priests father. He said
And call no man your father upon the earth.... Matthew 23:9

Yet, I've met no one, Protestant or Catholic, who doesn't call their dad, father. Except a few disrespectful children.

So I was wondering, what do you call your father? A question, by the way, which the sweet Julabee, has yet to answer.


De Maria

De Maria's picture

re: Dear DM,Unfortunately you

Hello Noshi,

Unfortunately you tend be rather defensive and fail to distinguish when one is agreeing with you and when one is accusing you.

Huh? Please explain how you can agree with me and those who hold the exact opposite opinion at the same time?

I've read your messages to them, perhaps I missed where you told them that I was right and they were wrong. In fact, I thought the messages leaned more the opposite direction.

I was trying to agree there that the use of these words per se is not forbidden.


Even calling someone 'father' as a term of respect - just as most Indians call Gandhi 'Bapu' (father) as a mark of respect.


Infact, I personally could technically called a 'teacher' as I've taught medical skills to my junior doctors, and have had authority over male interns.

doctor Look up doctor at Dictionary.com
c.1300, "Church father," from O.Fr. doctour, from M.L. doctor "religious teacher, adviser, scholar," from L. doctor "teacher," from doct- stem of docere "to show, teach," originally "make to appear right," causative of decere "be seemly, fitting" (see decent). Familiar form doc first recorded c.1850. Meaning of "holder of highest degree in university" is first found late 14c.; as is that of "medical professional," though this was not common till late 16c. Verb sense of "alter, disguise, falsify" is first recorded 1774.

So as per this verse, and 1 Tim 2:12, am I trangressing the gospel? That's what I meant that we mustn't use verses out of context, and without understanding the meaning behind them.
So far, that's agreement.


Now the disagreement part:
Paul was the first one to bring the gospel to the gentiles,

St. Peter, Acts Ch. 10

at the time when there was no written New Testament, atleast in the form that we see it now. His own letters and epistles - inspired of the Holy Spirit are part of the Scriptures. In that sense he had begotten them in Christ Jesus.
Please refer to what Paul say in 1 Cor 3:5-7. Is he coveting any special honour for himself? Where is the comparison that you're seeking to draw?

Do you deny that he is claiming spiritual fatherhood over his flock? And do you deny that this is a special honor?

He said:
1 Corinthians 4:15
For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

He even worked with his own hands rather that be a burden to anyone (building tents), moved around as a common person, was kept in chains at other times. Whether he refered to himself as father or teacher, it's clear that he lived as just a servant of God.

That is besides the point. What did he say in verse 1 Cor 4:15.

He certainly has begotten many children for someone who doesn't call himself a father:

Philemon 1:10 (King James Version)

10I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

1 Timothy 1:2 (King James Version)

2Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Where is his desire of being exalted above others?

I don't believe he wants to be exalted above others. I believe he accepts the title of father with humility. Just as all Catholic prelates do also.

He seems to ask for honour at the times when he's almost begging people to listen to him - just so he can persuade people to pay heed to the truth. That's the spirit in which he uses this verse you quoted. (Just like telling an erring son - I'm your mother, please listen to me)
Where does he or any other apostle in the scripture, including Peter, ask to be treated in a special way? To be exalted above others ceremonially? Or to be given special titles? Or to be called Holy?

This is all besides the point. I am in favor of a prelate being called "father" and of St. Paul calling himself "father". Apparently, you are also, as you said in your opening.

Dear DM, people love to worship idols, or to make idols out of men. It should be the duty of true spiritual leaders to curb this tendency, to lead a humble life, to deflect glory away from themselves, to discourage the laity from exalting them in any way, so that the focus remains on God and on His word alone.. people would love them and respect them still- wouldn't they? - but without glorifying them. All the apostles in the scriptures seemed to understand it very well, no matter how we may want to quote their verses out of context now.

Correct me if I'm wrong. But you are support St. Paul calling himself "father". But you are against Catholic priests doing so. Yet, in Scripture, St. Paul says:

1 Corinthians 4:16
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.

Therefore, if we call our Priests, "Father" or if they permit us to call them "Father", we are following St. Paul.

If I still am not making any sense to you, perhaps I never will. I apologize for the lengthy mail - thanks for your patience.

No problem.


De Maria