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New Zealand Cardinal John Dew has said it is time to stop calling priests “father.” In an April newsletter, Dew said that ending the use of the title “father” could be “the beginning of the reform in the Church” in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal.
Since then, Dew told New Zealand media outlet Stuff that he would no longer like to be referred to by his title and encouraged priests to do the same.
Dew - Way - Pope - Francis - Call
Dew suggested that this could be one way to respond to Pope Francis’ call to combat clericalism in the Church. He said his effort “is part of a package of changing the whole clerical attitude.”
In his letter, Dew summarized three main points from an article written for La Croix International by French priest Jean-Pierre Roche titled “Stop calling me Father.”
Roche - Gospel - Jesus - Anyone - Earth
Roche first pointed to the Gospel, in which Jesus says “And do not call anyone on earth ‘Father,’ for you have but one Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9). Although Dew admits that the passage is “difficult to interpret and understand, “ he said “the meaning is clear. Jean-Pierre Roche says that to be called “Father” is to usurp the place of God.”
Second, Dew drew attention to the power dynamics of referring to priests as “father.” Dew said “It is not possible to have equal relationships between adults who are brothers and sisters if we call one of them “Father.”
Lastly, he claimed that...
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