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Ten Catholic Answers to “Why Do You Call Your Priests ‘Father’?”

6. This indicates a problem with understanding the Bible – The Bible is not an infallible source book for rules and regulations. We don’t go through the Bible looking for particular prohibitions which we then take literally. The non-Catholic who uses this verse to challenge Catholics should be challenged in return. Does he take every prohibition in the Bible literally in his life?

7. Ask the Bible Christian if he eats bacon, likes pork barbecue and plays football Quote this verse from Leviticus 11: “And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.” If every verse in the Bible is to be taken literally he can’t eat pork products or play football because a football is made from pigskin…

8.When the Bible Christian says “That is the Old Testament and doesn’t apply” ask him if he prohibits women and girls from wearing gold jewelry, pearls or braiding their hair Quote 1 Timothy 2:9 –  “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.

9, Ask if he makes women keep silent in church – Does his church have women ministers, teachers or readers? I Corinthians 14.34 says, “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says.” If he allows the eating of pork, the playing of football, and allows women to wear gold, pearls, braid their hair and speak in church isn’t that much worse than Catholics calling their priests “Father”?

10. All Christians pick and choose which parts of the Bible they will obey literally – This leads naturally to the question of authority–which should be the main discussion in all apologetics with non Catholic Christians. Who says which verses in the Bible you take literally and which ones you don’t? For that matter, who says which beliefs in the Bible you need to follow and which you can explain away? Who says which moral teachings are in the Bible and which are not? How do they decide? Are they following a particular religious teacher? Isn’t that what Jesus warned against?

Catholics have the answer because the church–not one individual–is the right and proper interpreter of the Sacred Scripture. The whole church alive in the world today and down through the ages offers the interpretative authority by which we decide which parts of the Bible we take literally and which we do not.