Should Catholics Call Priests Father?

One of the most common Bible verses people use to try and debunk Catholic teaching is Matthew 23:9, where Jesus says, “Call no man on earth father.” In this video, Fr. Mike Schmitz guides us through the New Testament to give us the context and significance of this teaching. By the end of this video, you will see that Christ’s words here have much deeper meaning than what many people would believe.

Fr. Mike is also a presenter in these faith formation programs from Ascension:

Belonging: Baptism in the Family of God
Chosen: This is Your Catholic Faith
Altaration: The Mystery of the Mass Revealed
YOU: Life, Love, and the Theology of the Body

Get 18 of Fr. Mike’s best Ascension Presents videos in this exclusive DVD from Ascension: Ascension Presents … Fr. Mike Schmitz

Fr. Mike spoke at the Ascension Cafe during the World Meeting of Families. Watch him and other speakers get fired up about the gospel in the Ascension Cafe DVD.


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  • VariegatedSeeker

    “The heart of the priesthood is fatherhood…”, and that is how I look at it, plus I find calling a priest “Father” is a loving sign of respect and support. When I pray, I almost always begin with “Dear Heavenly Father”. My dad passed in March of 1990, so I look to God as my Father – he loves me, he listens to me, and he guides me – the same as a parish priest who loves his flock, listens to us, and helps to guide us as we walk our Catholic Life. I am very grateful for the religious in the Catholic Church. God Bless Them All!

  • Meg

    I thank you, Father Mike. I always believed that, “call no man father” meant to not call man ‘Father God’. Your explanation was spot on and I thank you for setting my thoughts straight!

  • Monica

    So beautiful ! I grew up with a elderly father , he was 55 years old when I was born , when I was 2 years old he had a accident at work and became partly disabled, he was a good father to me and my siblings, but because of age and pain from his accident seemed ( particularly to me as I was only 2 ) a distant father and often cranky, as I grew older , and I prayed to God the Father, I really didn’t fully understand what a loving father was, ( though my dad did love me, ) so the concept of a Loving Father God was hard to grasp, but because of loving Father figures as in priests who ministered in our parish , who you could tell genuinely cared for those God placed in their care, I became to know how God loves us as Father, over time , through prayer and encounters with God through loving caring people , I have a beautiful understanding of my Father God , my Abba, Daddy , Papa , in prayer , in spirit I know his Love , that is in a way pure and unadulterated , precisely because my dad was a bit distant, He is my darling Papa as I love to call Him in prayer, my love for him grows , every day , in every prayer

  • Mona

    I think the problem is not knowing your own father but Monica’s comment was also beautiful. Your parents bring you home and no one can replace them as the parents God gave you. On the other hand, knowing Jesus will be our way to the Father as well as your family and church life can teach you.

    So earth and heaven have to meet somewhere in the two for a happy hearth where heaven begins right here on earth, giving us alternate parents of our choice as well.
    A psychologist once said : BEWARE how you pick them.

  • Christopher Coyne

    Thx Father – always enlightening AND entertaining. Joyful – which our faith is, right? Keep up the great work AP.