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Dear catholic.com visitors: This website from Catholic Answers, with all its many resources, is the world's largest source of explanations for Catholic beliefs and practices. A fully independent, lay-run, 501(c)(3) ministry that receives no funding from the institutional Church, we rely entirely on the generosity of everyday people like you to keep this website going with trustworthy , fresh, and relevant content. If everyone visiting this month gave just $1, catholic.com would be fully funded for an entire year. Do you find catholic.com helpful? Please make a gift today. SPECIAL PROMOTION FOR NEW MONTHLY DONATIONS! Thank you and God bless.

How Can We Explain Calling Priests “Father” When Jesus Said Not To?

Question:

Matthew's Gospel includes a verse in which Jesus says to call no man father. Yet we Catholics use the title "Father" to refer to the priests. What is our explanation?

Answer:

Jesus said, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matt. 23:9). Several sentences later he said, “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers” (Matt. 23:32). So clearly verse 9 was not meant to be a prohibition against the use of the word “father” for anyone other than the first person of the trinity. Rather, it was a prohibition against the misuse of the title. For more details, see our tract Call No Man Father.

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