Why do Catholics call their priests
Father'' despite the fact that Christ said:Call no man on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven’’! (Matt. 23:9).
Catholics call their priests
Father'' because in all matters pertaining to Christ's holy faith they perform the duties of a father, representing God. The priest is the agent of the Christian's supernatural birth and sustenance in the world.Father’’ is a title which does not conflict in the slightest with Matthew 23:9. Christ forbids the Christian to acknowledge any fatherhood which conflicts with the Fatherhood of God–just as He commands the Christian to
hate'' his father, mother, wife, and his own life, insofar as these conflict with the following of Christ. (Luke 14:26). But Christ does not forbid Christians to call His own representatives by the name ofFather.’’ Catholic priests share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ (not a human priesthood), and their sacred ministry partakes of the Fatherhood of God. Like St. Paul (himself a Catholic priest), every Catholic priest can refer to the souls he has spiritually begotten as his children in Christ. (1 Cor. 4:14). St. Paul considered himself to be the spiritual father, in Christ, of the Corinthians:
For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.'' (I Cor. 4:15). The title ofFather’’ is entirely proper for an ordained priest of Jesus Christ. Why do Catholics practice fasting and abstinence from meat on certain days? Does not St. Paul call abstaining from meats a ``doctrine of devils’’? (1 Tim. 4:1-3).