Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why do Catholics call the pope Holy Father?

There’s plenty of discussion around why Catholics call priests father but doesn’t the Bible say that no one but God is holy? Why do Catholics call the pope holy?

The answer is simple once we know what “holy” means. Some believe that it means to be sinless like God is sinless, and if that were true the pope certainly would not be holy.

In Exodus, Moses is told to remove his sandals because he is on “holy ground”. The Ark of the Covenant (the box that held Aaron’s staff, the stone tablets, and manna) was called the “Holy of Holies” Israel was a “holy nation, a people set apart” and this explains what holiness is.

Ground, boxes, and nations cannot be sinless, but they can be set apart or reserved for a sacred purpose. That’s what holiness is; being reserved for service to God. In that sense, only God is holy, just like only God is our father. All holiness comes from him and all creation comes from him. He gives us ways to participate in his creative spirit, and he gives us ways to participate in his holiness.

Whenever the purpose of people, objects, or places are consecrated for God, they become holy in their purpose. The Holy Father is holy because he is the Vicar of Christ, he is set apart for the divine purpose of leading the Church on earth. A chalice is holy because it is set apart to hold the blood of Christ. We are holy in that we were created with the purpose to know, love, and serve God. All things are holy to the extent that their existence is to serve the Lord.


Anonymous said...

When was the last time you heard of a catholic officer tell you that were just as holy as say, the pope ? By your correct definition we are ALL holy, if we are born again,set apart unto his service. The fact is, the pope is called holy more often than laity because it is taught to be holier than thou. Granted, it is his office that does that, according to the teaching, as it was in the old testament with the high priest. He alone could go into the holy of holies. Today, the catholic priest alone does the same with consecrating and baptizting and confirming and forgiving etc.. He is holier than thou. But is all this biblical ? Is this how the apostles operated ? As a catholic protetsant, with a whole new understanding of scriptures, I would say it is not. The new testament says WE ARE ALL PRIESTS(even high priests), and can boldly go into his holy presence,and do His works .There is a new priesthood: us. There are NOT TWO CLASSES OF PRIESTS, as the catechism dictates, out of necesity to get around these scriptures. Why do you think the old testament says "priests" a thousand times ,but the new only a few, and to say we are priests. There are still church officers(elders, bishops) for organization,and giftings given by the Spirit to whom he will.WE ARE ALL VICARS IN CHRIST . Look, give honor to whom it is due,but catholics go to far at the expense of what Christ has done for us all.

Grace 77x7 said...

Too bad the OP is so old. I would have pointed him or her to Korah's rebellion in Scripture (Numbers 16) as the words "we are all priests" disturbingly echo those of Korah. Which might tempt one to respond 'that was OT times; this is NT times and things are different now'. Yet the Apostle Jude in Jude 1:11 specifically warns against those who would 'perish in Korah's rebellion'. Clearly, the sinful desire for power and self determination was not left behind in OT times.