How can we explain calling priests "Father" when Jesus said not to?

By November 8, 2014 64 Comments

Full Question

Matthew’s Gospel includes a verse in which Jesus says to call no man father. Yet we Catholics use the title Father to refer to the priests. What is our explanation?


Jesus said, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). Several sentences later he said, “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers” (Matt. 23:32). So clearly verse 9 was not meant to be a prohibition against the use of the word “father” for anyone other than the first person of the trinity. Rather, it was a prohibition against the misuse of the title. For more details, see our tract Call No Man Father.