[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.
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]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]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]