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Daily Catholic Question

Why do Catholics call priests ‘Father?’

Jesus instruction to call no man "father" was an effort to emphasize the need for a religion that is at least as interior as it is exterior, for religious integrity and for a sense of service.

The same passage also says not to call anyone rabbi (teacher) or master.

Do you call your male parent Father? Don't most Christians do that? If so, are they violating Jesus' command? Christians have not understood Jesus' command as preventing them from calling someone teacher. In our society, the term master is used rarely.

This is not to dismiss Jesus' teaching on the subject of titles. Chapter 23 of the Gospel of Matthew opens with 36 verses on the scribes and Pharisees and ends with three verses of lament over Jerusalem.

If all of us strive for what Jesus requested, using the terms father, teacher or master in any context will cause fewer problems.

St. Paul described himself as a father to the Christians in Thessalonika (1 Thessalonians 2:11) and in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:15). Applying the term father to priests is a custom and not an obligation.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Daily Catholic Question for 4/14/2014 Daily Catholic Question for 4/16/2014


Athanasius: Athanasius led a tumultuous but dedicated life of service to the Church. He was the great champion of the faith against the widespread heresy of Arianism, the teaching by Arius that Jesus was not truly divine. The vigor of his writings earned him the title of doctor of the Church. 
<p>Born of a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt, and given a classical education, Athanasius became secretary to Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, entered the priesthood and was eventually named bishop himself. His predecessor, Alexander, had been an outspoken critic of a new movement growing in the East—Arianism. </p><p>When Athanasius assumed his role as bishop of Alexandria, he continued the fight against Arianism. At first it seemed that the battle would be easily won and that Arianism would be condemned. Such, however, did not prove to be the case. The Council of Tyre was called and for several reasons that are still unclear, the Emperor Constantine exiled Athanasius to northern Gaul. This was to be the first in a series of travels and exiles reminiscent of the life of St. Paul. </p><p>After Constantine died, his son restored Athanasius as bishop. This lasted only a year, however, for he was deposed once again by a coalition of Arian bishops. Athanasius took his case to Rome, and Pope Julius I called a synod to review the case and other related matters. </p><p>Five times Athanasius was exiled for his defense of the doctrine of Christ’s divinity. During one period of his life, he enjoyed 10 years of relative peace—reading, writing and promoting the Christian life along the lines of the monastic ideal to which he was greatly devoted. His dogmatic and historical writings are almost all polemic, directed against every aspect of Arianism. </p><p>Among his ascetical writings, his<i> Life of St. Anthony</i> (January 17) achieved astonishing popularity and contributed greatly to the establishment of monastic life throughout the Western Christian world.</p> American Catholic Blog Suffering is redemptive in part because it definitively reveals to man that he is not in fact God, and it thereby opens the human person to receive the divine.

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