Am I Right Addressing My Priest as Father?..."

I have taken to reading the Bible quite a lot recently and it has made me wonder if I am right in addressing my priest as father because in Matthew 23 it clearly states it is wrong. please could you enlighten me on this matter.

8 As for you, do not be called 'Rabbi.' You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Call no one on earth your father; you have but one Father in heaven. 10 Do not be called 'Master'; you have but one master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Thank you in anticipation

Lance Roberts

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Dear Lance,

Thanks for your question. Please see: Call No Man Father

God bless,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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Dear Friend

Thank you for your kind reply although I do not find it spiritually satisfying.. One can intellectualise it all day the fact is we cannot change what Jesus said to suit our dogma. I feel sure that if we are called reverend the very reverend pastor or vicar they come under the same category introduced by the ego. the last shall be first and the first shall be last, high made low and low made high.

Thank you again at least it is nice to be able to have a friendly open discussion.

Shalom in Christ be with you through the New year and always.

Lance

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Fair enough, Lance, but are you accusing St. Paul of intellectualizing, changing what Jesus said and exalting himself when he told the Corinthians (and Titus & Timothy) that he was their father?

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Dear Friend,

Thanks again for you reply. I do not have to accuse Paul of intellectualising he does it himself by saying he does not always speak from spiritual wisdom but sometimes from human wisdom. (What a Great Humble and vulnerable man. ) Indeed Paul did use the word father as you said

15 Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

But it was in the context of what Jesus said in Matth;.

46 32 While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers appeared outside, wishing to speak with him. 47 (Someone told him, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, asking to speak with you.") 33 48 But he said in reply to the one who told him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother."

If we take these out of their spiritual context it becomes fodder for the ego that can intellectualise them to his heartís content to suit any dogmas or denomination he chooses.

At no point did Paul ask anyone to call him father or anyone else for that matter, other wise he would have been contradicting Jesus.

Indeed Jesus spoke to the both ego and the spirit thus giving the impression of contradictions. One example of countless, (I have come to set the earth on fire---- for the ego.) Peace I bring you---- for the spirit.

In my opinion Jesus spoke in parables so that simple people like fisherman and myself could spiritualise them and easily understand them, not complicate them by intellectual analogies, clever words and waffle.

Of course St. Paul was a great intellectual and by the grace of God was made blind physically and intellectually for a brief period in order to make contact with his true spirituality in Christ Jesus. Maybe we should first become aware of our ego before we try identifying our spirit and soul.

Thank you for listening, and please excuse any errors as most this is off the cuff so to speak.

My ego does get the better of me at times any offence is sincerely not intended.

Shalom.

Lance

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Dear Lance,

I appreciate your gallant defense of St. Paul. And I concede that altho he told the Corinthians he was their father, that does not necessarily mean he intended that they (or his "sons" Titus and Timothy) refer to him as their father. They could have just thought it in their hearts.

Also I appreciate your consistency, Lance. Sometimes people, following Mt 23:9, will refuse to call me "father" but then turn around and call me "Mr. Bloom" thus violating the following verse - since mister is simply a variation of master. Also they will address their physician as "doctor" (a violation of the preceding verse since "doctor" is the Latin word for teacher). I assume you do not fall into any of those traps yourself.

I am being a little ironic. In seriousness it does seem to me that your spirit/ego distinction might provide a solution to understand Jesus' true meaning and, by doing so, continue to use titles of respect, as well as showing proper respect to our male parents (call them "father," "dad," "Pa" or whatever). If I met a Jewish rabbi, I would address him as "Rabbi." Would you not do the same?

It seems to me that if we do not have some solution like that (or the one I proposed in the homily) we would not only do away with most titles of respect, but would have an even more difficult problem, namely that Jesus himself referred to "father Abraham"!

What do you think, Lance?

A brother in Christ,

Fr. Phil Bloom

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See also: Cloud of Witnesses: A Biblical Primer on the Communion of Saints

Catholic Home Study Resources

Peter Kreeft

Catholic Answers

Immaculate Conception

Mary's Vow of Virginity

Follow-up question from Arron: "If you were brought up away from all churches, chapels, popes and bishops, and you only had the Bible as your ONE and ONLY source of information. Would you honestly believe Mary was a sinner or not?"

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