The original comment:
Hello, Im not going to insult you but I will speak the truth. Jesus said in the Bible "Call no man on earth father for you have only ONE Father who is in heaven.." Matthew 23:9 First of all catholics call this mere fragile old man Holy Father and also bow down to worship him, like Revelation speaks about. Everything about this leader is in fact antichrist and paganism. He is not the substitue for Christ and it is very sad that people believe that their salvation is through this man. Jesus is the ONLY mediator between man and God.. to believe anyone else is (especially a man) is against Christ. Where in the bible does it say that you are supposed to pray to Mary? Nowhere. If so, please show me. And on top of that... Catholics pray to statues of dead saints and a dead Jesus on a cross and Mary... Clearly (that is if you read your bibles), God wiped out whole nations because of idolatry!God Himself spake against the worshipping of graven images and statues in His 10 commandments! So if God commanded you not to do so, then who is the mere man to tell you that it is ok? I hope you people wake up before it is too late because everything about this "leader" is not for God, but completely against Him and he is leading you all astray.. Read your bibles and receive the truth from that source and not this human being. This message is truly out of love...Dear anonymous friend. I would like to thank you for taking the trouble to speak the truth to us, whom you perceive as being in error. That’s a great and charitable thing to do. In the Catholic Church, admonishing the sinner and instructing the ignorant are among the spiritual works of mercy.’
I have to admit that in my younger and more combative days, my manner of answering might not have been as irenic, but perhaps I have mellowed over time. LOL!
So, if you would permit me to respond to you point by point because I too, as a Catholic, have a duty to instruct the ignorant (no offence intended). Forgive me for the brevity but I do hope you will get the point.
But know several things first. We most certainly do not "bow down to worship him, like Revelation speaks". That's just silly. Please do show where Catholics bow down and intend to worship the Pope like Revelation speaks, if you can. If you can't, then please retract that statement and do not further propagate such errors and calumny. That's a sin, if you read the Bible.
Perhaps in certain cultures, like the American culture where everything is so informal even the President is addressed as Mr. President, the act of bowing may appear alien and might even conjure up images of worship being offered. Brrrr....
In Malay Muslim culture, the custom is for the young to kiss the hand of the elders during weddings and during the festival to mark the end of the fasting month.
But in many more ancient cultures, such as the Middle Eastern culture of Jesus and the Jews as well as the Asian culture of the Chinese, Indian, Thai and Malay Christians, bowing is a polite way of showing deference to our elders. It most certainly does not entail worship! Jeepers!
Moving on to the point at hand, about calling priests Father.
Firstly, the context of Matthew 23 is Jesus’ admonishment of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees who ‘do not do what they preach’. They love to accumulate earthly honours and titles (v7). In a hyperbolic counterpoint, Jesus instructs his disciples to do the opposite of the Pharisees because those who humble themselves will be exalted. That’s the context of the verse.
Now, can it be applied literally? As DonAaron had commented, what do you call the person who’s married to your mother? Dad/Father right? I do hope that you don't call him My Mother's Husband or by his first name. In Asian cultures, calling an elder or even worse, your parents by their first name indicates poor upbringing and boorish, uncouth and uncultured behaviour.
And what about the nice lady who taught you in school or even Sunday School (unless you’re an Adventist, the it’s Saturday school)? Teacher, perchance? But remember, dear friend, what the first part of Jesus’ prohibition was:
"But do not be called Teacher; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for (K)One is your Father, He who is in heaven. "–Matt 23:8-9
But the office of Teacher is one of the offices in the Church, along with Apostle and is one of the Spiritual Gifts. Some are called to be teachers. We must not be selective in our interpretation. If you want to be literal, aply it to your mother and father and your teacher as well.
Does my understanding bear out in the Scriptures? Let’s look at the opening of the proto-martyr St. Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin.
And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! –Acts 7:2a
Wow. St. Stephen not only appears to violate Jesus’ apparent command, but uses the title Father on the very people who had Jesus put to death, the same people whom he calls stiff-necked (v51) and who would later stone him to death. And his reward? He sees the Heavens open up and sees Jesus in Glory. Doesn’t quite fit your theory, no? And not to mention the many times the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are named Father.
Anyway, for the Catholic Church, building on the spiritual heritage of Israel, priesthood has always been tied to Fatherhood. For example, in Judges 17, Micah, an older man, says to a young Levite, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me” and later on the whole tribe of Dan says to the priest “be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” Thus, you can see that priesthood has always been associated with spiritual fatherhood in the tradition of Israel, a tradition the Church, as the new Israel adopts as her own.
In New Testament times, the Christians are often referred to as spiritual children of the Apostles. St. Paul often refers to Timothy as his spiritual son (1Cor 4:17; 1Tim 1:2; 1Tim 1:18; 2Tim 2:1; Phil. 2:22). He also refers to Titus (Titus 1:4) and Philemon (Philem 10) in the same way. One would imagine that they would have returned his affection and spiritual fatherhood by naming him Father as he had named them sons.
This is not peculiar to St. Paul. St. Peter too names St. Mark the Evangelist as his spiritual son (1 Pet. 5:13). And St. John names the Christians under his charge children too (1John 2:1; 3John 4)
And so, dear friend, you can see that we Catholics are not so ignorant of Scripture as you would suspect. Let me end this by sharing this Scripture which captures the basis of us Catholics calling priests Father.
I do not write these things to shame you, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. -1Cor. 4:14–15
We will continue with the other points you have raised shortly. I but suspect that you will see that in these too, the Catholic Church is right. And, as many before you have done over the course of the Church's 2000 year history since it's foundation by Christ Jesus her Head, you too might feel called to enter her embrace =)