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  #1  
Old Feb 25, '12, 11:27 am
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BListon BListon is offline
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Default "Holy Father"

I've just always wondered why we Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father, because obviously we have had some "not so holy" Holy Fathers before. Do you still address a bad Pope as Holy Father (ex. Leo X, Sixtus V, Boniface VIII)?
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  #2  
Old Feb 25, '12, 11:40 am
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Gregorian12 Gregorian12 is offline
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Default Re: "Holy Father"

Quote:
Originally Posted by BListon View Post
I've just always wondered why we Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father, because obviously we have had some "not so holy" Holy Fathers before. Do you still address a bad Pope as Holy Father (ex. Leo X, Sixtus V, Boniface VIII)?
The reason that Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father is for reverence to the Holy Office of succesor to Saint Peter. Even if a pope is not personally holy, the office of Christ's Vicar is.
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Old Feb 25, '12, 12:10 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: "Holy Father"

Holy Father is an ancient Middle Eastern tradition for spiritual leaders. The early hermits in the desert would address their spiritual directors as Holy Father. This is very common in the Eastern world.

The most famous and most influential of these is the pope, but he is not the only Holy Father.

Several of the Orthodox Patriarchs are also addressed as Holy Father even by our own popes. St. Dominic and St. Francis were also called Holy Father, while the pope was called, Lord.

In the Benedictine tradition, the superior is is called Holy Father in Hebrew. He is called Abba. Hence the title The Abbot and the house that is headed by this holy father or abba, is the abbey.

In the case of women religious superiors we add Reverend and Mother to their title. We know that reverend is also used for the ordained. A deacon is Rev. Mr. A diocesan priest is Rev. Father. The bishop is Most Reverend. A religious superior is Very Reverend.

These are all titles that have a shared meaning to the people of a certain time and have carried on as part of Catholic and Orthodox tradition.

I had to chuckle, because three years ago, Pope Benedict hosted one of the Orthodox Patriarchs. I can't recall which one. But in their public appearance, they kept referring to each other as "His Holiness." Pope, on the other hand is very Catholic. It's actually Italian, not Latin, Papa.

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  #4  
Old Feb 25, '12, 10:18 pm
iohanne iohanne is offline
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Default Re: "Holy Father"

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
St. Dominic and St. Francis were also called Holy Father, while the pope was called, Lord.
Yeah, I was really taken aback when I was mentally translating a bit of the Latin of the Litany of Saints. The part that goes, "Ut domnum apostolicum et omnes ecclesiasticos ordines in sancta religione conservare digneris" means, "that you may deign to preserve the apostolic lord and all ecclesial orders in holy religion." It's a really cool title, in my opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
Pope, on the other hand is very Catholic. It's actually Italian, not Latin, Papa.
I thought it was from the Greek, pappa, because I'm pretty sure the Patriarch of Alexandria was called Pope long before the Roman bishop was...
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  #5  
Old Feb 27, '12, 9:44 am
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Leon Bloy Leon Bloy is offline
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Default Re: "Holy Father"

Quote:
Originally Posted by BListon View Post
I've just always wondered why we Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father, because obviously we have had some "not so holy" Holy Fathers before. Do you still address a bad Pope as Holy Father (ex. Leo X, Sixtus V, Boniface VIII)?
Be careful, because sometimes what we think we "know" about "bad" popes is propaganda from the time, written by enemies of the Church. It's amazing how some of this stuff can be so persistent in histories.
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  #6  
Old Feb 29, '12, 6:11 am
ProVobis ProVobis is offline
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Default Re: "Holy Father"

Quote:
Originally Posted by BListon View Post
I've just always wondered why we Catholics call the Pope the Holy Father, because obviously we have had some "not so holy" Holy Fathers before. Do you still address a bad Pope as Holy Father (ex. Leo X, Sixtus V, Boniface VIII)?
Must be an Anglophone thing. Has anyone heard him being called "Pater Sanctus"?
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