A non-Catholic ask why we call the Pope Holy Father


#1

A non-Catholic at work ask why we call the Pope Holy Father and thinks that we worship the Pope. She uses Scripture stating to call no man your father. I froze and could not rebuke her.

When I got back from work, it dawned on me that priests are called fathers cause they are like our spiritual fathers. HELP, I need more to back me up on this. Any info would be great.

Joey


#2

[quote=JPhoenix75]A non-Catholic at work ask why we call the Pope Holy Father and thinks that we worship the Pope. She uses Scripture stating to call no man your father. I froze and could not rebuke her.

When I got back from work, it dawned on me that priests are called fathers cause they are like our spiritual fathers. HELP, I need more to back me up on this. Any info would be great.

Joey
[/quote]

Well obviously, we don’t worship the Pope. Try this tract.

catholic.com/library/Call_No_Man_Father.asp

And Holy refers to the Divinely Instituted Office of the Pope as the sucessor of Peter, and it does not necessarily mean that the man holding the Office is Holy. Hope this helps. Thanks and God Bless.


#3

Thanks


#4

There has also been a thread going on on this topic for some time now. There is some good material there.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=51001

You can also ask her why Protestant denominations here in the U.S. used the title “Father” for their leaders up until the mid-19th century.


#5

In 1 Cor 4:15 Paul calls himself the father of the corinthians through the Gospel.

15: For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

In Romans 4he calls Abraham the father of all. So ask her if he was violating Jesus command or if his statement must be understood differently. More likely the meaning is that we are to see God as the ultimate source of our blessings in life. It would be wrong for my children to see me as their provider and for me to build myself up as such without also teaching them that the ultimate source who gives me my talents to work and earn a living is God the father.

Also ask her is she calls her birth father father. Another point I like to bring up is that of calling the Pope HOLY father. Holy means dedicated to the Lord which the office of the papacy is. She might object at calling someone holy one. Yet in the Old Testament Aaron was called Holy One. It was a name given to Christ as well.

Blessings


#6

Excellent point thessalonian. As most protestants believe in the infallibility of the bible this would be a direct contradiction if what Jesus said were to be taken literally, and since contradiction would show fallibility it would follow that Jesus must NOT be speaking literally.

I would also hope most protestants would agree there is a big difference between a David Koresh type person and the holy father our Pope, and the David Koresh types is what Jesus was trying to warn about.


#7

**“There has also been a thread going on on this topic for some time now. There is some good material there.”
**
[size=2]Yes, Deus Solus and a couple others have provided some great material. There is also a this right now on the Ask an Apolgist board:[/size]
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=55167

[size=2]But back to that helpful but ridiculously long thread Deus refers to… JPhoe, answer your friend’s question, provide additional details as requested, maybe entertain another question, then move on. Because as you can see from the other thread on this subject, some Prots are just plain heretics who simply want to harrass you. I sense from an earlier post that this may be the situation you are facing.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Be charitable, but don’t take ****.[/size]
[size=2][/size]
[size=2]Jim[/size]
[size=2]aka LtTony
[/size]


#8

Thanks, this is a big help.

Joey


#9

Holy Father is a name given in the Bible to God alone. Also Peter, and other apostles/prophets never accepted anyone bowing down to them. I saw on EWTN right before John Paul II passed on footage of people from many countries coming, bowing down to him, kissing his ring/feet, and paying homage to him. I’ve seen the same behavior by buddist monks worshiping their gods. I really don’t see this behavior as appropriate for men either in title or practice.

God bless


#10

[quote=mikeabele]Holy Father is a name given in the Bible to God alone. Also Peter, and other apostles/prophets never accepted anyone bowing down to them. I saw on EWTN right before John Paul II passed on footage of people from many countries coming, bowing down to him, kissing his ring/feet, and paying homage to him. I’ve seen the same behavior by buddist monks worshiping their gods. I really don’t see this behavior as appropriate for men either in title or practice.

God bless
[/quote]

\

That the term “Holy Father” is only given to God in the Bible does not mean that it is inappropriate to use it for anyone else. It has been shown above that using the term father for a man is not wrong even though many Protestants use this lame arguement against us. It can also be shown that the term holy can be used for men. Aaron is call the holy one in Exodus. There are many cases of men and objects being called holy in the OT. Thus the term holy can be applied to men. Therefore there is no grounds for which one can exclude the term holy from men nor father from men. Therefore there is no grounds to forbid the use of holy father as a title for men. That the Bible applies it to God proves nothing especially since there are titles for Christ that are used for men, such as light of the world, foundation, etc. etc.

As for bowing down, it is not always worship. I suspect that Paul in Acts 10 new that culturally when Cornelius bowed down it was an act of worship. But in the Old Testament God actually prophecies that men will bow down to Jacob (gen 27). Joseph’s 12 brothers bow down before him as was prophesied in a dreem. Solomon bows down before Bethsheeba. Bowing down can be worship but it is not always. Only in America where we have such an honorless culture would it be said to be exclusively worship. It can be but it is not always. Worship is in the heart. Would you have judged the Israelites as worshipping the Ark of the Covenant in Joshua 7 when they bowed down before it?

Sorry your arguements do not hold.


#11

[quote=JPhoenix75]A non-Catholic at work ask why we call the Pope Holy Father and thinks that we worship the Pope. …
[/quote]

Tell her it’s an honorific and to get over it for crying out loud!

We call a judge or mayor “your honor” or a president “Your Excellency” and that doesn’t mean we worship them now does it?

After all “mister” is just a corruption of the Norman French for “My Lord” that doesn’t mean Mr. Smith is our “lord” now does it?

Do people seriously ask these questions? :eek:

I try to be understanding …but it is so hard sometimes. :banghead:
give me strength :gopray2:


#12

[quote=thessalonian]\

That the term “Holy Father” is only given to God in the Bible does not mean that it is inappropriate to use it for anyone else.

With this kind of logic on your side, you’ll fall for anything.

It has been shown above that using the term father for a man is not wrong even though many Protestants use this lame arguement against us.

So I’m guessing being obedient to the WORD OF GOD is considered lame by you:

the disciples of Jesus Christ know only one Father, God. “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Nor do we call anyone by the title “holy” except our God, for the Scriptures say: “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy” (Revelations 15:4).

Therefore there is no grounds for which one can exclude the term holy from men nor father from men.

But you combine them…see…

Therefore there is no grounds to forbid the use of holy father as a title for men.

That the Bible applies it to God proves nothing especially since there are titles for Christ that are used for men, such as light of the world, foundation, etc. etc.

The bible says there is only one foundation…the Lord Jesus Christ. Still a massive stretch to get to call the pope “holy father”.

As for bowing down, it is not always worship.

Where is the line between respect and worship, is it in the bowing, the kissing of the feet or the ring, I remember a woman worshiping Jesus by kissing His feet. The pope invites and even expects such worship. To argue to the contrary is against common sense and not in harmony with how we are to treat our fellow man. Peter called himself only a “fellow elder”. Peter never allowed one person to bow to him, but the pope gets people from all over the world to worship him. Obviously Peter thought it was worship he said “get up I am just a man!”.

God bless
[/quote]


#13

[quote=thessalonian]In 1 Cor 4:15 Paul calls himself the father of the corinthians through the Gospel.

15: For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

In Romans 4he calls Abraham the father of all. So ask her if he was violating Jesus command or if his statement must be understood differently. More likely the meaning is that we are to see God as the ultimate source of our blessings in life. It would be wrong for my children to see me as their provider and for me to build myself up as such without also teaching them that the ultimate source who gives me my talents to work and earn a living is God the father.

Also ask her is she calls her birth father father. Another point I like to bring up is that of calling the Pope HOLY father. Holy means dedicated to the Lord which the office of the papacy is. She might object at calling someone holy one. Yet in the Old Testament Aaron was called Holy One. It was a name given to Christ as well.

Blessings
[/quote]

Yes, we are all called to a life of Holiness, Our beloved Pope happened to be a super example of what it means for an ordinary man lead a life according to the Gospels.

We call Christians who live a Holy life, Holy. We are called to be a priestly people and should all be striving for holiness.


#14

I hope she doesn’t celebrate Father’s Day… if she believes that to call a man “father” is to go against a teaching of Jesus and if she believes that to call a man “father” is placing him on the same level as God the Father.


#15

Where is the line between respect and worship, is it in the bowing, the kissing of the feet or the ring, I remember a woman worshiping Jesus by kissing His feet. The pope invites and even expects such worship. To argue to the contrary is against common sense and not in harmony with how we are to treat our fellow man. Peter called himself only a “fellow elder”. Peter never allowed one person to bow to him, but the pope gets people from all over the world to worship him. Obviously Peter thought it was worship he said “get up I am just a man!”.

God bless

If you knew anything about the Pope you wouldn’t be accusing him ow wanting people to worship him. You will know them by their fruits.

Matthew 23:9 says “do not call anyone on earth father.” That verse means not to honor a man like you honor God. Jesus didn’t mean you couldn’t call your dad or a priest or the pope “father.”

Peter called himself “fellow elder.”

Did you forget this verse:

"I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel."
1 Corinthians 4:15

The Church has always considered her priests to be like St. Paul-- “spiritual fathers” under the Authority of our Heavenly Father. Pope John Paul II was a spiritual father and the vicor of Christ. He NEVER wanted anything but to point the way to Jesus and live his life as a prayer, serving God and His people. If you ever read anything he wrote you would not say this and not slander the man, or falsely accuse your Catholic neighbors of worshiping men or idols or anyone but God. You have been corrected and if you read a little you would find the Truth, so why falsely accuse us to bolster your own doctrine?

Where is the line? God knows our hearts. Sorry if it appears inappropriate to you, but what matters is what God thinks and I have no doubt he was very pleased with his Son, Karol. He was a holy man… I strive to life a holy life as well, as should all followers of Christ.

Each of us follows Christ in our own way, according to God’s plan, our vocations and gifts. St. Francis lived a life of extreme poverty, living out the Gospels in the extreme literal sense, ( I woudl recommend reading about his life, if you are inspired by extreme humility) and then you have saints like Elizabeth of Hungary who used her position of royalty to help the poor and sick. Take some time to look at the life of John Paul II, read some of his writings and you will see that he *was *a holy man and that you are looking at traditions of respect and taking them out of context. If you insist on wrongly accusing people, you are hurting yourself more than anyone. Maybe God put you on this website for a reason, to learn the truth so you will discontinue false accusations.


#16

It seems to me that anti-Catholics take verses out of context when they need to look at the whole passage and vice versa.

If they tell you to “Call to man father” tell them that “There is no God” (Psalms 14:1)

Don’t get drawn in to taking things out of context all of the time.


#17

[quote=mikeabele]Holy Father is a name given in the Bible to God alone. Also Peter, and other apostles/prophets never accepted anyone bowing down to them. I saw on EWTN right before John Paul II passed on footage of people from many countries coming, bowing down to him, kissing his ring/feet, and paying homage to him. I’ve seen the same behavior by buddist monks worshiping their gods. I really don’t see this behavior as appropriate for men either in title or practice.

God bless
[/quote]

Some people do bow when worshipping their gods. But that doesn’t mean that bowing to someone necessarily implies worship of them. In the UK we are expected to (in theory) bow before royalty. In the far east everyone bows to everyone else to varying degrees to show respect. When we came back from Korea it took ages to get out of the bowing habit. But I can promise you, I did not worship anyone I bowed to.

Regarding the title “holy father” - the term “father” is a biblical term for the church leader (see other posts here) as our father in the faith. There’s a good tract at catholic answers on the use of “father” that contains a lot of quotations and references to scripture. Someone has already linked to it, so I guess you have studied it. Though I fear by your quotation of Mt23:9 that you have not. Once you get past that single verse, put it into the Matthean context and study it in conjunction with other verses about spiritual fatherhood you gain a richer understanding of what it means. That’s enough about the term “father”. If you have any questions arising from the tract, please post them.


As for the term “holy”, well, why not? You quote a verse that states that only God is holy. Allow me to consider a few other verses that mention “holy” and then look at the verse you quote. (all quotations in this post are from the King James Version)

The pope is called, biblically, a saint (small ‘s’), a hagios, a holy one. He is part of what is called, biblically, a holy priesthood, a holy nation (1Peter2:9-10)? We are called in Colossians 3:12 “holy and beloved”, Hebrews 3:1 calls the believers “holy brethren”, Acts 3:21 speaks of the “holy prophets”, Acts 10:22 mentions a “holy angel”, Romans 12 calls us to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable unto God”, 1Cor3 calls our bodies a living temple, the next verse explains how the temple is holy, 1Cor7:14 talks about a family being made holy, sanctified through one member. 1Peter calls us to be holy in our conversation and then says “Be ye holy; for I am holy”. 1Pet3 mentions “holy women”. 2Pet1 mentions “holy men of God”

In addition, the ground, kisses, laws, commandments, the scriptures, the temple, the church, hands, our calling, are all called holy. And I’ve only been looking at the scriptures from Acts onwards and have missed out lots of references to holy people/things that aren’t God.

In fact Titus 1:7-9 states explicitly that a bishop MUST be holy. The Pope is a bishop. If we refuse, on principle, to call this bishop holy then we are explicitly at odds with scripture.

So, he is holy and father, and thus, combining the two truths, is holy father. But neither his holiness or his fatherhood are entirely the same we correctly ascribe to God.

All of that is fine - we are biblically called holy. But it potentially leaves me with a problem. You’ve quoted Rev15:4 and that says that only God is holy. Am I saying that Scripture contradicts Scripture. Not at all. We just need to understand it correctly. Here’s three protestant comments on the verse:

Robertson’s Word Pictures points out that “God alone is perfectly holy”.

Barnes Notes state “[size=3]When it is said that he “only” is holy, the expression is used, of course, in a comparative sense. He is so pure that it may be said that, in comparison with him, no one else is holy.” [/size]
[size=3][/size]
[size=3]Gill’s Exposition states “[size=3]for thou only art holy[/size]; not only perfectly holy, as man, but infinitely and essentially holy, as God, and the fountain of holiness to his people, as Mediator: this character seems to be given in opposition to antichrist, who arrogantly assumes the title of holiness to himself, when it only belongs to Christ.”[/size]
[size=3][size=3][/size][/size]
[size=3][size=3]That should be enough explanation of how we can be called “holy” when only God is “holy”. If I’ve not been clear please let me know and I’ll do my best to say more.[/size][/size]

Blessings

Asteroid


#18

Wow, Asteroid,

I am impressed! You rocked the “holy” issue.


#19

Thank you - I am blushing.

It’s amazing what you can do with a quick verse search on free Bible software! Here’s a product plug - E-Sword.

Blessings


#20

Great post Asteroid.

BTW…I’ve heard of e-sword, I’ll have do dl it.


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