Calling the pope holy father, scriptural support?


First of all i’d like to thank anyone whose been kind enough to answer my threads, they’ve been really informative. I have another question. where is the scriptural support to call the pope holy father, would this not be in contradiction of :

“Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9).

now i understand this would mean you wouldnt be able to call your own father, father. but to call someone HOLY father?


Mark 11:10 David is called “father” because he is the Spiritual father of God’s people.
In Matthew Abraham is called “father Abraham” because he is the leader of God’s People.
Paul refers to the people in his letter as his children. We know St. Paul was not married, he was their spiritual father.
The Pope is our spiritual father.
He is called the Holy Father because in Scripture like Mark 6:20 John is called “holy” and the Angels are called “holy” in 8:38. because anything set apart for the use of God is anointed and called “holy”. The Pope is by his consecration as the successor of Peter set apart for God’s use as the leader of his Church on earth.
Does that make sense. That is the short answer because I have to go.


What do you think “holy” means? I does not mean Divine.


Call No Man Father?


St. Paul (i.e., Holy Paul) routinely addresses or refers to Christians as saints, i.e., holy ones. (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1) St. Peter refers to Sarah and other virtuous women as holy women. (1 Peter 3:5)

In the Bible, the Apostles are referred to as the* holy Apostles (Ephesians 3:5);* the Prophets as the holy Prophets (Luke 1:70).

St. Stephen (Acts 7:2) and St. Paul (Acts 22:1) address Jewish elders as Fathers.

It doesn’t take much imagination to see that Christian elders might be addressed or referred to as Holy Fathers and the chief Christian elder (the pope) as Holy Father.


How about this verse, where St. Paul didn’t hesitate to call himself the Corinthian’s father:

1 Corinthians 4:15
For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.


BTW–I’ve met lots of people who quote, “Call no man father,” but they never seem to know the next verse.


Why does it have to have scriptural support??



My advice is to read the entire passage. It contains a strong dialog where Jesus explained how he viewed authority. I’ll leave it to you to make up your own mind, but just consider that the statements in that dialog are not specific “do this” and “don’t do that” statements, but rather are simply indications as to Jesus’ overall message – that one individual was not to consider himself at all greater than any other (especially among his apostles).

Compare the things Jesus spoke against to the Roman Catholic Church of today, and see what God leads you to believe about it.


What is the scriptural support for calling your pastor “Pastor” or “Revererend” or “Doctor”?


Care to start a thread on this? :rolleyes:


No, because I don’t wish to make specific claims on this count here. My general point was that the original poster should read and consider if the hierarchal model employed by the Roman Catholic Church is truly in accord with what Jesus had to say on the subject.


Ok…This was the model Jesus left…

Matthew 16:18-19
"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

So as Catholic’s we truly believe St. Peter is the Rock the Catholic Church (The only Church) was built apon…The rest is history…


You guys really need to learn not to always fall back on that one passage. In this case it’s way off-topic. By “model”, I was speaking of his “methodology” – how did Jesus see authority? What did he say about it? Did he ever say (aside from one argued interpretation of Matthew 16) that one of the apostles should be above the other? What did he say about kings…about hierarchal systems here on earth?

Is exalting a religious leader with the title “Holy Father” in accord with Jesus words on the subject of authority and leadership?


Here are examples of religious leaders given the title “Father” by Jesus.

Matt. 3:9; Luke 3:8 - Jesus refers to Abraham as our “father.”

Luke 16:24,30 - Jesus, in His parable about the rich man, says our “father” Abraham.

John 8:56 - Jesus tells the Jews your “Father” Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day.

Luke 1:32 - God’s angel says Jesus will be great and be given the throne of his “father” David.

John 7:22 - Jesus refers to the “fathers” who gave the Jews the practice of circumcision.

There are probably 10 times as many other examples of calling religious leaders father in the Bible. (but not by Jesus)


In Matthew 16:19, Jesus says that he will entrust the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter. This is an obvious back-reference to Isaiah 22:22 where is says Eliakim will be made the master of King Hezekiah’s palace, in place of Shebna, and entrusted with the key of the house of David, a symbol of office and authority. Elsewhere in verse 21, it says that Elikakim shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. This ties together the office of keyholder and the role and title of father.

The pope is Peter’s successor as keyholder and so successor to his role and title as father in the Church of Christ as well.


Abraham was indeed the father (or rather, great great great great etc grandfather of the Jews). This speaks of lineage, not of religious stature, though indeed Abraham also served as a religious leader.

David was the father (that is, ancestor) of Jesus. This speaks of an earthly kingdom, not a religious organization. David was a king, not a high priest.

The “fathers” of the Jews were their ancestors, starting with Abraham, to whom the command of circumcision was given.

Replace the use of “father” with “ancestor”. It works in every case and is quite plausible. On the other hand, what about Moses, Aaron, and various other religious leaders throughout the history of Judaism. Where is the reference of them being called “father”?

Nice analogy, but as I mentioned the last time we discussed this parallel – the analogy just isn’t enough. Elikakim could bind and loose in anything, not just matters of faith and morality. Who were the equivalents of the apostles in this story, who also had the same authority?

Jesus spoke against calling a religious leader “father” except for our father in heaven. He wasn’t speaking of familial relationships, which is what the verses brought up speak of.


Is exalting a religious leader with the title “Holy Father” in accord with Jesus words on the subject of authority and leadership?

Your premise that the Pope is exaulted with a title is erroneous. The Pope is NOT exaulted for him as a person, but for the title in which he holds, and he deserves to be called “holy” for the Chair in which he sits. You call a judge “your honor” in a court room, even though he may be a wife-beater and a drunkard. The wife of the president of the United States is called “The First Lady”. According to your premise, that means the president’s wife is above all American ladies.

The holiness of the Pope does not come from the Pope, it comes from the Holy Spirit, expressed in the charism of infallibility that prevents, even the most corrupt of popes, from formally teaching error, which has nothing to do with the sinfulness of the person holding the title of “Holy Father”.


I wouldn’t disagree with you on this point because Jesus is talking to Jews. BUT, in Rom. 4:16-17 Paul says that Abraham is the “father” of us all and the “father” of many nations. He was talking to all believers, not just Jews. I’m not am not a descendant of Abraham but he is my “Spiritual Father”

Heb. 12:7-9 - emphasizes our earthly “fathers”, but also our spiritual fathers. (the priests of the Church).

1 Cor. 4:15 - Paul writes, “I became your father in Christ Jesus.”

There is so much scripture I could give but I’ll just post this for now. The point I’m trying to make is “father” doesn’t exclusively refer to an ancestor.

Ryan :slight_smile:


What, then, does “call no man on earth father” mean?

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