December 28, 2010
Did Jesus say we shouldn’t use the term “Father”? If so, why do we call priests “Father”?
“And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”
The priests’ role nurtures our religious foundation as Christians in a manner similar to the nurturing role of a natural father. The priest is typically responsible for ministering all of the Catholic sacraments. Sacraments are the cornerstones of our faith and provide structure to our lives. The use of the word “father” in reference to priests can be traced back to the earliest centuries of Christianity. The practice is widespread and continues to this day. This has led to some confusion in biblical interpretation because Jesus is quoted in Matthew 29:9 as saying “And call no [man] your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Was Jesus instructing us not to use the title father? No, like all of Jesus’s teachings they are meant to be taken in the context of the greater story, in the message he was sending given the issue at hand. In this case, Jesus was condemning the practice of people taking undue status and privilege with their titles. During his time, certain leaders made a practice of heaping titles on themselves.
References: Catholic Q&A: All You Want To Know About Catholicism by Father John J. Dietzen