Friday, July 5, 2013

Spiritual Fatherhood

Back in May, I spent two weeks discussing why only men can become priests.  I still have a lot of comments to go through from that time period, so I might as well restart the series.

Another reason that only men can become priests is the fact that all priests are fathers.  Indeed, the idea of priest as spiritual father is so ingrained in Catholic practice that we literally use "father" as a synonym for "priest".  Also, when a man becomes a priest, the word "father" becomes part of his name.  For example, if a man named Peter is made a priest, he is called "Father Peter".  If he prefers to be called by his last name, he goes by "Father [Last Name]".

Of course, the word "father" implies the existence of a mother.  Where the priest is a father, the mother is the Church.  The priest is, in effect, married to the Church.  In every language, the Church is always identified as female.  Souls are always female, too, whether you're discussing a man's soul or a woman's soul.

The analogy of marrying the Church comes directly from Jesus.  He applied this analogy to himself a few times, calling himself the Bridegroom (of the Church).  If you're interested in this topic, you can find many resources on it, including an address by Pope John Paul II and a Wikipedia page about this.  Personally speaking, I haven't studied this topic, so there's not much I can say on it.

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Now, objectors would say that "priests are fathers" is merely an analogy, rather than a spiritual reality.  They'll probably have a hard time proving that.

On a personal note, when I entered the seminary to become a priest, people started calling me "Brother".  It took a while for me to get used to it.

12 comments:

Suzanne Klare said...

Hmm...
I actually never thought of that.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Michael. Justify it however you want, perform whatever mental gymnastic, this is still a sexist system, and it's one of the many reasons I don't support religion. It's designed to put men in physical positions of power and then ensures that they are kept that way.

Anonymous said...

^ Welcome to tradition.

Anonymous said...

Well it's the official roman-catholic church way of thinking, which I (try to) tolerate but certainly do not support.

James said...

I kind of agree with anon 10:48, and I am a guy. This is a system meant to give men power, and a system that squashes womens' voices if the try to challenge that power. I think of this way, replace men and women with black and white. If the church had the thinking that only whites could be priests, and used the Bible to justify that blacks, or any other race, couldn't, nobody would be okay with that. So why is it okay to do that with men and women? Any system that judges how you on a job performance simply because of the randomn lottery of the sex you happen to be, is not one I support.

Anonymous said...

To James: Or even better, as the center of Christianity is situated in the current state(s) of Israel and Palestine, what if only those (male) people could become priests? The story of success for the Christian church would be: GAME OVER! Would they get a second chance like in Nancy Drew games? I doubt it! ;)

Anonymous said...

To be fair, people who try to prove that this system is a spiritual reality will have a hard time proving it too.

Jesus used these particular words because he was referring to himself, a male, when he said it.

That said, explaining how the different gender terms are used within the priesthood referring to the church and those who work in it does shed some light on a few thingss.

Breanna(; said...

I support you completely Michael and I like hearing about your religion and what you stand for, don't let anyone discourage you, i'm behind you 100%(:

Sammy said...

Although I'm not Catholic, I do think I agree with you. I think that God made men to be spiritual fathers. I think that if God wanted a woman to be a leader, that she could do the job as well as a man. (There are several Christian evangelists that are women, and do an excellent job sharing the word of God.) But, I do agree that a woman pastor, or priest would be so nontraditional, and ultimately, weird, that I would not feel comfortable in that kind of church environment. So, I agree with you here.

~Samantha

Anonymous said...

Keep up the awesome work!!!!!! God Bless and keep you, Michael!!!!!:):):):):):):):):):):)
Thanks be to GOD!!!!:)

Anonymous said...

Cool comment to Sammy. God Bless you and everyone else!!:):):)

William D said...

*applause* Finally, Michael, some one who understands morals and spirituality! Also the Latin word for Father is Pater which derives our word priest.
As Breanna;) said, I back you up the whole way!
Also, uh oh, another moral argument is starting, I respect all your opinions, and I appreciate that (most of) you respect Michael's and mine.