New Zealand cardinal asks laity to stop calling priests ‘Father’ to fight ‘clericalism’

LifeSiteNews | 4/12/2019 | Staff
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AUCKLAND, New Zealand, April 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal John Dew of New Zealand wrote a missive to Catholics of the Pacific archipelago urging them to not address priests as “Father.”

In providing a synopsis of an article by Fr. Jean-Pierre Roche that appeared in La Croix, Cardinal Dew said he joined the French priest in wondering why priests are called “Father.”

August - Year - Pope - Francis - Letter

He continued, “In August last year Pope Francis wrote a Letter to the People of God, to all of us. The Holy Father appealed to all of God’s people to take action against ‘clericalism’ which he sees as the source of abuse perpetrated by priest and bishops.” Thereafter, he summarizes Fr. Roche’s epistle.

Roche wrote that he and other Catholics are “overwhelmed, shocked and appalled” and “traumatized” by the sex abuse crisis that has afflicted the Catholic Church. Roche called for transforming the Church by returning to the Gospels and adhering to Pope Francis’s call to action against the “clericalism” that is ostensibly responsible for abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy. Thus, he gives three reasons why Catholics should not call priests “Father.”

Reason - Roche - Christians - Share - Traditions

The first reason Roche cites is also often used by Christians who do not share the traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. “The first reason should be sufficient in itself, as it is found in the Gospels,” Roche wrote. Quoting the Gospel of Matthew, Roche wrote, “Priests wish to be disciples of Jesus, who said, ‘You are not to be called “Master,” for you have but one Master, and you are all brothers and sisters. And do not call anyone on earth “Father,” for you have but one Father, who is in Heaven’" (Mt. 23: 8–9). Saying Jesus’s words are clear, Roche wrote, “To be called ‘Father’ is, quite frankly, to usurp the place of God,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: LifeSiteNews
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