Quodlibet 9: Call no one on earth your father
The passage from Matthew about calling no one on earth your father, as with all scripture, needs to be carefully interpreted. Surely Jesus did not mean that we now have to start calling our parents by their first names. Rather, Jesus is reminding us that there is only one source of our being, our Father in heaven. Titles can be dangerous because they can make us forget this, and they can foster a spirit of superiority and pride. Given this warning, why do we address priests as father? Well, the priest acts in the person of Christ. This means the priest has the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself. Therefore, by calling a priest father, we are really showing reverence to Christ.