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Logan F. wrote:

Hi, guys —

  1. Why do Catholics call their priests father, when it says you only have one Father in Heaven?
  2. Why do you pray to Mary, when there is only one way to Heaven: through Jesus Christ?


  { Why do Catholics call priests father and why do they pray to Mary, when Jesus is the only way? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi Logan!,

You said:

  1. Why do Catholics call their priests father, when it says you only have one Father in Heaven?

All fatherhood is from God, and God is the original and true Father — this is what Jesus means and St. Paul says. (Ephesians 3:14-15) No one but God is the source of our being and our faith — though others cooperate and are analogously called father after God, the True Father of all.
To name something in Hebrew is to claim the identity — Jesus meant that they shouldn't attribute their Jewish identity to Moses or to anyone else, but to God. Also, He was using a Semitic way of speaking, seen more clearly in Jesus' words about not calling Him good.

Why do you call someone good, when only God is good? (Mark 10:18)

As to your question about Mary:

Jesus is the one way to Heaven, of course but Mary is the way Jesus came to earth, and she leads the way to Jesus. "They found Him with Mary, His mother." (Matthew 2:11) This Scripture is true in a way that is far beyond mere factual utterance of a minor circumstance of where Jesus was. Of course, a baby would be with its mother — so Scripture, pointing out that the Gentile Magi found Jesus with His mother, is a way to show how all peoples can find Jesus. The Jews, of course, have the benefit of the Law and the Prophets pointing to Jesus. Paul and the rest did not preach the Old Testament to the Gentiles. After they were converted, they saw Christ in the
Old Testament, but before they were converted, they saw only the life of the Church and the teaching of the Apostles. The life of the Church is love ("See how they love one another!"), which Mary also practiced, and the teaching of the Apostles comes from Christ by the sending of the Holy Spirit, who came upon the Apostles and disciples as they gathered around Mary, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, which is also scriptural. Read Luke 1.

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann

Eric replied:

Hi, Logan —

You said:

  1. Why do Catholics call the priest father, when it says you only have one father in Heaven?

There are many places in the New Testament where the Apostles and disciples call others "father"; for example, Acts 7:2 and Acts 22:1.

Paul even tells someone that he is his father in faith. (1 Corinthians 4:15)

These examples would not be in the inspired Scripture if Jesus' intent was simply to forbid people from calling others "Father". Rather, His intent is to prohibit us from attributing to men what only belongs to God; i.e., God created us, not man, and so we should not treat men as if they were
Our Creator.

A good web page on this is at the Catholic Answers web site:

You said:

  1. Why do you pray to Mary, when there is only one way to Heaven through Jesus Christ?

As Mary Ann pointed out, Jesus is the only way to Heaven nut to get to Heaven, we have to get to Jesus. Mary helps us get to Jesus so Jesus can get us to Heaven. Just as you work to bring people to Jesus so that they may be reconciled to Jesus, and hence saved — an act called mediation — we believe that Mary works to bring people to Jesus so that they may be saved. We even ask Mary to help us get to Jesus so that we might be saved.

None of this is in competition with Jesus. Mary is not mediatrix between God and man.

Eric Ewanco

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