Spiritual Fatherhood, Part 3. Calling the Pope “Holy Father”


The Protestant Church of Christ objects to the address of “holy father” for a pope.

As already proved, it is perfectly biblical for Christians to call their priests “father”. However, the address “Holy” is a word the Protestant Church of Christ reserves for God alone, but is its reservation biblically substantiated?

We know Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man (Mark 6:20). The prophet Zechariah’s prophecy referred to holy prophets (Luke 1:70), and St. Luke’s narrative also referred to holy prophets (Acts 3:21). Did St. Peter mistakenly call the writers of Scripture the holy men of God (2 Peter 1:21 Douay-Rheims)? Was St. Peter not referring to men when he wrote about a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5 Revised Standard Version)? Was Sarah not one of the holy women who hoped in God (1 Peter 3:5)? And did St. Peter not encourage the Church to remember the predictions of the holy prophets (2 Peter 3:2)? (All emphases added.)

Clearly, the “Bible alone” does not reserve the address “holy” for God alone, but rather, suggests that there are indeed holy men and women. And therefore, since “father” is a biblical address for priests, the two words, added together, form an address that does not violate the Scriptures.


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