Why do Catholics call the priest "Father" when Jesus commanded us not to call anyone Father, except God in heaven?
The implied objection in question refers to what Christ said in Matthew 23:9:
"And call no man father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven."
Christ tells us in Matthew to call no man father, yet God gives us the fourth commandment:
Either there exists a contradiction between God the Father and God the Son, which is impossible, or those who say Catholics are wrong to call priests Father wrongly interpret what Jesus said in Matthew.
"Honor your father and your mother." (Exodus 20:12)
Jesus was not finding fault with either the word rabbi (teacher) or father, but rather was teaching us that God alone is the source of all authority. The rebuke Jesus gave was not of the use of the word father, but of the pride of the Pharisees (cf. Matthew 23:2-10). If the rebuke was of the words father and teacher, no one would be right to call his male parent father, nor would he be right to call his old high school instructor teacher. No, it's absurd to believe Jesus was condemning the use of these words.
The early Christians never interpreted these words literally. St. Paul refers to himself as Timothy's father in Philippians 2:22 and I Timothy 1:2. He also refers to himself as the spiritual father of his converts:
In writing to other Christian leaders, the apostle John called them fathers:
"For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel" (I Corinthians 4:15).
Are we to believe these two great apostles, who were promised to remember all Christ had taught them with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, would directly and blatantly disobey Christ? The objection made against Catholics from Matthew 23:9 is without foundation.
"I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning." (I John 2:13)