The Priest: Image of God the Father

Authored by Dr. Caroline Farey in Issue #32.1 of The Sower

In the Lord’s Prayer we address God as ‘Father’. Catechesis on God the Father is central to our transmission of the faith. Catechists are often asked about the analogy between earthly fathers and our heavenly Father – is God our Father like an earthly father? Less often do catechists think of the priest, this other earthly ‘father’ that Catholics have, and ask: Can the priest, whom we also call ‘father’, help us appreciate and understand God’s fatherhood more fully? Yet I believe this is a valuable key.

Many say that the father of a family is a ‘real’ father and the fatherhood of the priest is only ‘something similar’. It is also common to think that the word ‘father’ really applies to the father of a family and only by analogy do we apply the term to God, that God is also ‘something similar’.

The view is frequently heard, too, that married Catholic priests are, at last, able to be fathers in the true sense of the word and that rather than this be an exception, it should be an open possibility for all priests of the Catholic Church. Celibacy is understood here in negative terms as renunciation of ‘real fatherhood’.

I, however, would argue that not only the fatherhood of the Catholic priest but celibate fatherhood is the fullest form of fatherhood possible for man because this is closest to the Fatherhood of God. Let me explain.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Editor's Reflections: Adult Faith Formation and Culture Change
By Dr. James Pauley
Free This year marks the twentieth anniversary of one of the most important publications the U.S. Bishops have ever written: Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us . The ideals and principles expressed in this document are deeply convicting and can be summed up with these stirring words: “adult faith formation is essential to who we are and what we do as... Read more
From the Shepherds: Catechesis in the Light of the Papal Magisterium of Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium - An Access to the Church’s Mission
By Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst
Free Looking back on the past and on the development of the church since the Second Vatican Council, there are two well-known and profound documents, which have brought the biblical call for evangelization into our pastoral consciousness: Evangelii nuntiandi in 1974 and Evangelii gaudium in 2013. Both apostolic letters have reflected on the manner in... Read more
Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Reflection on Discipleship
By Peter J. Murphy
Do you feel the Holy Spirit working? Do you sense that deeper calling, that desire for renewal, that burning within your heart? Yes, it is the same burning that the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt as their Lord and Savior journeyed with them. Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us was written twenty years ago as a prophetic and challenging... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now