Jesus says in Matiyu 23:9, “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”
Some have misused this verse to denounce the Catholic practice of calling priests “Father.” Jesus’ words here are not meant to be taken literally, ko da yake. They are an hyperbole designed to emphasize our heavenly Father’s sovereignty: that He is the true source of life and wisdom (ganin Bulus Wasika zuwa ga Afisawa 3:14-15).
We know the Apostles did not take Jesus’ words in Matiyu 23:9 literally, domin they called themselves Father!
Saint Paul, misali, wrote in his Na farko Wasika ga Korantiyawa, "Ko da yake kana da m, Yanã shiryar da a cikin Almasihu, ba ka da yawa ubanninsu. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (4:15).
Paul considered himself the “father” of the Corinthians because he had spiritually begotten them through the Gospel. This is the same sense in which the title is used by Catholic priests today. We call priests “Uba,” not because they somehow take the place of God the Father, but because they are meant to serve as witnesses, living reminders, of His love, guidance and authority in our lives.
Gaskiyar ita, the interpretation of Matiyu 23:9 goes against the overwhelming evidence of Scripture.
Littafin Mahukunta 18:19, Alal misali, ya ce, “Come with us, and be to us a father and a priest.” In First Thessalonians 2:11, Paul writes, “You know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you.” (See also Matt. 1:2 JJu.; 15:4-5; Luka 14:26; Ayyukan Manzanni 7:2; 21:40-22:1; Rom. 4:11 JJu.; 1 Kor. 4:14-16; Afis. 6:2; Phil. 2:22; 1 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philem. 1:10; Da. 12:9; Su. 2:21; 1 Pet. 5:13; 1 John 2:1, et al.).
The practice of calling priests Father continued in the early centuries of the Church. A game da 107 A.D., misali, Saint Ignatius, the Bishop of Antioch implored the faithful to “respect the bishop as a type of the Father” (Letter to the Trallians 3:1).
A 177, the leaders of the Church of Lyons wrote to Pope Saint Eleutherus, yana cewa, “We pray, Father Eleutherus, that you may rejoice in God in all things and always” (Letter of the Holy Martyrs of Lyons; Eusebius Pamphilus, Tarihin Ikilisiyar 5:4:2).
Haka kawai, the title “Pope” (Girka, Papa), which means Father, was for a time commonly used for all bishops, but eventually came to refer exclusively to the Bishop of Rome.
Given the biblical and historical evidence, Catholics might rightly ask why others do not call their spiritual leaders “Father.”