Why Do Catholics ...?

Why do Catholics call priests ‘Father?’ Jesus clearly said, ‘Call no man father,’ so why has the Church ignored this teaching?

Apparently St. Paul didn’t understand it that way, as he wrote, in 1 Corinthians 4:15: “Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”

The Church understands it that way, as well. Unlike the Pharisees, where the rabbis, masters or fathers had defining schools of interpretation, and so each their own disciples, the Church cannot have parties or factions, since its teacher is Christ, and its ultimate source is the Father (Matthew 16:13-18). So, just as we may call the man who gave us life in the natural order “father,” so we may call those who do so in the supernatural order and know that he is not its source, only its guardian and instrument. The ones who violate this injunction of Christ are those who presume to take the office of teacher to themselves, creating parties or factions in the Church, each with its own truths.

Have you always wondered about some aspect of the faith or Church teaching? Or maybe you’d like to know some trivia about Pope Francis or the saints. If so, email us your question at [email protected] and look for the answer in an upcoming issue.

Editor’s note: We received a question about the cartoon saint holding flowers in the Nov. 1 issue cartoon for All Saints’ Day. According to cartoonist Michael Thimons, it was intended to be St. Thérèse, who promised to send a shower of roses while in heaven.

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito says of discerning one’s college choice, ‘There has to be something that tugs at you and makes you want to investigate it further. And then the personal encounter comes in the form of a visit or a chat with a student or alumnus who communicates with the same enthusiasm or energy about the place. And then that love of a place can be a seed which germinates in your own heart through prayer.’

Choose a College With a Discerning Mind and Heart

Cistercian Father Thomas Esposito, assistant professor of theology at the University of Dallas (UD) and subprior (and former vocations director) of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas, drew from his experience as both a student and now monastic religious to help those discerning understand the parallels between religious and college discernment.