Dear Fr. Phil,

This is just a quick piece I wrote in response to a radio talk show. You may or may not concur, I didn't get too deep. The purpose was to give a biblical reference equating the priesthood to spiritual fatherhood:

The theological background against it is this, the priesthood has always been equated to spiritual fatherhood. The first priests in the bible are priests in the natural order, the priesthood of the Father and the first born son. The first priest is Adam. We see Noah as priest blessing Shem: Genesis 9:26 (English-RSV) He also said, "Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem;

The next person to give the blessing of God in Genesis is Mel-chiz'edek blessing Abram ( Mel-chiz'edek which is a title, not a name) in Genesis 14.

18 And Mel-chiz'edek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. 19 And he blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth;

The Jewish targums go as far as to say "Mel-chiz'edek, that is the great Shem, king of Salem...

When studying Genesis two things are apparent, the blessing of the father is very important, and you had to receive the blessing to give the blessing.

The most direct quote from the OT equating the priesthood to spiritual fatherhood is in Judges: Judges 17:9-10 (English-RSV)

9 And Micah said to him, "From where do you come?" And he said to him, "I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place." 10 And Micah said to him, "Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and

Judges 18:19 (English-RSV) And they said to him, "Keep quiet, put your hand upon your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and family in Israel?"

The whole issue with Matthew 23, "Call no man father", is the jewish custom of calling the levites (priests) father and the priests obession with titles.

You can see this again in Acts 7 with Stephen addressing the "high priest and elders (priests)": Acts 7 (English-RSV) 1 And the high priest said, "Is this so?" 2 And Stephen said: "Brethren and fathers, hear me.

God Bless you, Scott Rogge