Washington D.C., Jun 13, 2019 / 14:09 pm
Faculty at US seminaries have emphasized that spiritual fatherhood is an essential component of priestly identity, amid calls in some corners for priests not to be referred to as "Father".
"Priests [are] like the father of a family – the spiritual family of the Church. It [is] a reminder to priests that they [are] to be like a father to a family," said Fr. Pius Pietrzyk, O.P., chair of the pastoral studies department at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif.
The priest "exercises authority in a paternal that is a loving way and does so in a way in which God the Father himself exercises his authority over creation, that is, out of love," he told CNA.
Cardinal John Dew of Wellington has said he no longer wants to be called "Father", but "John", suggesting that dropping the title Father could combat clericalism: "All I am trying to do is get guys to look at what clericalism might look like and what attitudes might need to change."