Catholic Convos Pt. II
As you may have guessed, I’ve been talking with some of my Catholic friends about their beliefs. My intention has not been to crush their faith, but test it. I care about my Catholic coworkers and friends very much. What Rome teaches greatly concerns me. It drives me to have conversations about it.
First, if you haven’t read through the first Catholic Convos post, I would encourage you to view it and get caught up.
Another recent topic of discussion with my Catholic friends at work has been about the priesthood. Everyone knows that Catholics go pretty crazy calling their priests, “father.” It’s one of the many practices that sets Catholics apart from Protestant Christians. Being Protestant, myself, I want to protest this like every time I hear it.
What does the Bible say about this?
It’s tremendously clear to me that Jesus doesn’t approve of this type of reverence to human priests. Jesus says, “But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ,” (Matt. 23:8-10).
Taking my Catholic friends to this text of Scripture is uncomfortable, but important. Showing them blatant instructions from the mouth of Jesus has the power to change things. This Scripture does not completely prohibit titles, such as instructor, teacher, and father. It does, however, rebuke false leadership of the Pharisees.
In Matthew 23, Jesus is giving the Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus says, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice,” (v. 2-3). Here, Jesus is teaching that though you have teachers, instructors, and fathers, do not exalt yourself and others to God’s place. Rather, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted,” (v. 12). This is not a denouncing of religious titles and terms forever; it’s a heart check. He prohibits disciples from using terms the way the Pharisees did.
This subject closely relates to doctrines about the Pope. But we know that we have one Mediator between God and man, the man, Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5). Not only is there an unhealthy exaltation of priests, but certainly the Pope. Many are confused, thinking they do not have direct access to God the way the Pope supposedly does. The truth is, Christ is powerful enough to give you just as much access to himself as the Pope.
What do you think?
Lots of thoughts spring up around this topic. The responses I’ve received haven’t been consistent or persuasive regarding Catholic titles, like father. It’s clear. The way Jesus talks about forbidding the term father is exactly the way Rome teaches to revere their priests. That’s what I see happening.
Sharing this information with you hopefully does something. I want it to encourage you in the truth, stirring you on to love and good works (and good theology). I also hope this gets my Catholic friends thinking. I love talking about this. I love hearing their side, even though it’s typically a different answer from person to person. And finally, I hope YOU give your input. I know you have some thoughts regarding this stuff, so please share.