Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's time for your Cavechism lesson

Sister Mary of the Cave explains it all.

Knowing that the vast majority of Bloglodytes know their catechism inside-out, we still would like to throw a few lessons in here and there to possibly help out those who have a question or two as to why the Catholic Church does and believes certain things.

It's incumbent on each of us to know our cavechism. After all, no one wants to get excavemmunicated.

Call No Man "Father"?
Many Protestants claim that when Catholics address priests as "father," they are engaging in an unbiblical practice that Jesus forbade: "Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven" (Matt. 23:9).

To understand why the charge does not work, one must first understand the use of the word "father" in reference to our earthly fathers. No one would deny a little girl the opportunity to tell someone that she loves her father. Common sense tells us that Jesus wasn’t forbidding this type of use of the word "father."

In fact, to forbid it would rob the address "Father" of its meaning when applied to God, for there would no longer be any earthly counterpart for the analogy of divine Fatherhood. The concept of God’s role as Father would be meaningless if we obliterated the concept of earthly fatherhood.

But in the Bible the concept of fatherhood is not restricted to just our earthly fathers and God. It is used to refer to people other than biological or legal fathers, and is used as a sign of respect to those with whom we have a special relationship.

For example, Joseph tells his brothers of a special fatherly relationship God had given him with the king of Egypt: "So it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt" (Gen. 45:8).

Job indicates he played a fatherly role with the less fortunate: "I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know" (Job 29:16). And God himself declares that he will give a fatherly role to Eliakim, the steward of the house of David: "In that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah . . . and I will clothe him with [a] robe, and will bind [a] girdle on him, and will commit . . . authority to his hand; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah" (Is. 22:20–21).

This type of fatherhood not only applies to those who are wise counselors (like Joseph) or benefactors (like Job) or both (like Eliakim), it also applies to those who have a fatherly spiritual relationship with one. For example, Elisha cries, "My father, my father!" to Elijah as the latter is carried up to heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kgs. 2:12). Later, Elisha himself is called a father by the king of Israel (2 Kgs. 6:21).

A Change with the New Testament?

Some Fundamentalists argue that this usage changed with the New Testament—that while it may have been permissible to call certain men "father" in the Old Testament, since the time of Christ, it’s no longer allowed. This argument fails for several reasons.

First, as we’ve seen, the imperative "call no man father" does not apply to one’s biological father. It also doesn’t exclude calling one’s ancestors "father," as is shown in Acts 7:2, where Stephen refers to "our father Abraham," or in Romans 9:10, where Paul speaks of "our father Isaac."

Second, there are numerous examples in the New Testament of the term "father" being used as a form of address and reference, even for men who are not biologically related to the speaker. There are, in fact, so many uses of "father" in the New Testament, that the Fundamentalist interpretation of Matthew 23 (and the objection to Catholics calling priests "father") must be wrong, as we shall see.

Third, a careful examination of the context of Matthew 23 shows that Jesus didn’t intend for his words here to be understood literally. The whole passage reads, "But you are not to be called ‘rabbi,’ for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called ‘masters,’ for you have one master, the Christ" (Matt. 23:8–10).

The first problem is that although Jesus seems to prohibit the use of the term "teacher," in Matthew 28:19–20, Christ himself appointed certain men to be teachers in his Church: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." Paul speaks of his commission as a teacher: "For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle . . . a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth" (1 Tim. 2:7); "For this gospel I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher" (2 Tim. 1:11). He also reminds us that the Church has an office of teacher: "God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers" (1 Cor. 12:28); and "his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers" (Eph. 4:11). There is no doubt that Paul was not violating Christ’s teaching in Matthew 23 by referring so often to others as "teachers."

Fundamentalists themselves slip up on this point by calling all sorts of people "doctor," for example, medical doctors, as well as professors and scientists who have Ph.D. degrees (i.e., doctorates). What they fail to realize is that "doctor" is simply the Latin word for "teacher." Even "Mister" and "Mistress" ("Mrs.") are forms of the word "master," also mentioned by Jesus. So if his words in Matthew 23 were meant to be taken literally, Fundamentalists would be just as guilty for using the word "teacher" and "doctor" and "mister" as Catholics for saying "father." But clearly, that would be a misunderstanding of Christ’s words.

( has a great resource page here.)
Why do Catholics call Mary "The Queen of Heaven"? It doesn't say that in the Bible!
In the Davidic monarchy, the queen-mother, or gevirah ("lady"; feminine form of gevir, "lord") played a very important role. King Solomon instituted this position when he enthroned his mother, Bathsheba, at his right hand (I Kings 2:19), and all his successors followed his example with their own mothers. This was the kings' way of fulfilling the Commandment to honor their mothers (Exodus 20:12)

Each time the Bible records a king of Judah, it mentions his mother (see I Kings 14:21; II Kings 14:2; 21:19; 23:36; 2 Ch 22:2) because she was the gevirah, and so had a special place in his court. The prophet Jeremiah sends a warning to both the king and his mother (Jer 13:18), and the Babylonians took both King Jeconiah and his mother away into captivity (2 Kings 24:15; Jer 29:2).

Jesus is the final Son of David, the rightful heir to King David's throne. He has exalted the Davidic dynasty into heaven itself, thus making it a truly everlasting kingdom (Ps 89:35-37). And, like His earthly forefathers, He has enthroned His Mother, Mary, at His right hand as the Gevirah of the Kingdom of heaven.

(The Mystical Rose Catholic website has a great reference page on this subject.)

And the ULTIMATE Catholic Apologist's Scriptural Cheat Sheet can be found here, courtesy of our friends at

Here's just one example of the many sections; (one of my personal favorites, "the 'brothers' of Jesus" -
"Brothers" of Jesus

Mary wife of Cleophas and "sister" of the Virgin Mary (Jn 19:25) is the mother of James and Joset (Mk 15:47; Mt 27:56) who are called the "brothers of Jesus" (Mk 6:3).

Acts 1:12-15 ... apostles, Mary, "some women" and Jesus' "brothers" number about 120. That is a lot of "brothers."

Gen 14:14 ... Lot, Abraham's nephew (Gen 11:26-28), described as Abraham's brother (KJV).

Gen 29:15 ... Laban, Jacob's uncle, calls Jacob his "brother" (KJV).

John 19:26-27 ... Jesus gives care of Mary to John, not one of his "brothers."

2 Sam 6:23, Gen 8:7, Dt 34:6 ... "until."


Blogger Adeodatus49 said...

Oh, that picture, Cavey! I don't want to, but I just can't help but look!

The problem with Biblical Fundamentalism is that we have a situation where laymen claim to interpret Holy Scripture with an authority they don't have.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Aramaic only has words for three kinds of male relatives.

Ancestors are "fathers." Descendants are "sons." All others are "brothers." There are no words for uncles (father's brothers), nephews (brother's sons), or cousins (father's brother's sons), not to mention in-laws, step-relatives, and so forth.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Simplex Vir said...

Adeo, You are so correct. Which is why I am fond of saying that all protestants have done is say we are all Popes unto ourselves.

Or they traded 1 Pope three thousand miles away for 3000 Popes one mile away!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Anita Moore said...

My guess is Sister Mary of the Cave doesn't moonlight as an abortion escort.

I hope Sister Mary of the Cave plans on using that yardstick on the moonbat moonlighting Dominican.

5:02 PM  
Blogger TH2 said...

Thanks for the lesson, Sister. I like the cheat sheet too. Good reference. It's funny, but really deplorable, that a lot of those Protestant arguments come from my "Catholic" family and friends when engaged in debate. Perhaps, Sister, if I give you their addresses, you might pay them some visits, and thus proceed to slap them upside the head with that handy ruler of yours.... That'll learn 'em...

8:55 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Anita gave me a great idea. Do you think Sr. Mary of the Cave would like to stage a coup & take over the Dominican Motherhouse at Sinsinawa?

11:42 PM  
Blogger Al said...

Cavey, 1 other thought. Do you realize that when you get cannonized this will probably be the picture that ends up on the Holy Cards for St. Cavey?

10:55 PM  

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