Hey Pat, how have you been? I’ve got a question for you. Could you please address this scripture which has been pointed out to me before by a Protestant friend regarding calling a priest, father.
Matthew 23:9 Also, perhaps you could help me with explaining the sacrament of reconciliation to a priest in simple, understandable terms. This one seems to be very hard for one who is Protestant to grasp when they feel all you have to do it “go straight to God”.
“Why, when you can go straight to God”, I hear this a lot.
Hi **** really GREAT questions.
To put us in the right frame of mind we need to understand that God does nor conform to “OUR way of thinking”; so man therefore MUST conform to God’s [often incomprehensible] way of thinking.
Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord”
Perhaps you have heard me ask: Who’s in charge? Me or God.
Jer.7: 23“But this command I gave them, `Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.”
Next we must understand the purpose and function of the Old Testament as it relates to the New Testament. The OT introduces the Messiah [Redeemer and Savior] and the New, now perfected Covenant. The NT completes; fulfills and PERFECTS the OT.
Matthew 5:16-18 “So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. [and make perfect] For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Matthew 23:9 From the Douay Bible: “But be not you called Rabbi. [means teacher] For one is your master; and all you are brethren” [FYI: This is the Older and correct translation]
From the RSV Catholic Bible: “ And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.”
From the King James “Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.”
I point this our as a precautionary note for you. In this case however, even though the term “rabbi” has been changed to “Father“; the teaching, when rightly understood is the same.
Matthew 13: 10-15 “And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables? And his disciples came and said to him: Why speakest thou to them in parables?
Who answered and said to them: Because to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven: but to them it is not given. For he that hath, to him shall be given, and he shall abound: but he that hath not, from him shall be taken away that also which he hath. Therefore do I speak to them in parables: because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And the prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them, who saith: By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive. For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.”
Despite prostrations to the contrary [and unknown or unrecognized by most of them]; No protestant has the “True [singular faith of Jesus Christ”
Eph.3: 9 to 12 “And to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church [SINGULAR: meaning THE CATHOLIC Church] the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him
John.10: 16 “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd”
John 12: 48-49 “He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.”
Acts.20: 28“Take heed to yourselves [the Apostles and by Succession today’s CC] and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, [SEE: Jn. 20:21-22] to care for the church of God [SINGULAR] which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.”
2 John 8-9 “Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son”
Eph. 2:19-20 “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Here then is the reason for this teaching: ALL lack of right understanding is imposed by God’s absolute need for Justice and is a penalty imposed for hardened hearts. God’s Divine Nature and sense of “Perfect Justice” demands that He grant to everyone Sufficient grace to actually truly Know Him through constant teaching of ONLY; His One God; One Faith and One Church true Faith. Keep in mind that any tome a passage is culled and separated from its body of teaching; we put right understanding at GREAT risk.
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one“.
When placed back into the context of the complete TEACHING; it’s a warning from the First Commandment:
Exo. 20: “And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before me.” Its message is that nothing should, or can, or may be placed in competition to God himself. The term “father is used” because in that generation; time and place, the “father” held absolute sway and total authority.
From the RSV Catholic Bible: parts of Mt. 23:1-31 “Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; [the seat of authority and in theory God’s guidance and protection.. Today represented by the CC] … so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice. …  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. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”… ] whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, `If any one swears by the temple, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, `If any one swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if any one swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and he who swears by the temple, swears by it and by him who dwells in it; and he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. … “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. … Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.” [MEANS KILLED or tried to: The Singular Faith of God].
Now on to your second question
Priest and Confession … Let me be clear from the get-go. ONLY God can and ONLY God DOES forgive sins. On that we agree. Where we disagree is HOW our SOVERIGN-GOD chooses to accomplish this. I’d like further to point out that God’s WAY is the ONLY way; sins WILL BE forgiven; because its is the Mind, Devine Will and Heart of God that Mandates that it be done this way.
First I will simply explain  how it is accomplished  then, why it is accomplished in this very precise manner  and conclude providing some history and evidence to support points One and Two.
What I shared above about God being “in-charge” Because he IS “God” absolutely must be “perfect.” One necessary condition of this perfection is that God neither can, or does change. The Old Testament God and the New Testament Christ; are the One same God.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, and I change not”
We will provide evidence of this necessary fact below. Dating back as far as Moses; with the Commanded priesthood of Aaron and his sons being chosen by God, who God gave a necessary Role for the forgiveness of sins; about 4,000 years ago; to the Institution of the New testament priesthood; therefore one ought NOT expect God to change the base structure that he had long ago set in place and established as a mandate. As GODS WAY of forgiving mans sins.
1st. Tim. 4:14-16 “Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood. Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shall both save thyself and them that hear thee.”
The Priesthood and Sacrament of Ordination was Instituted by Christ at the Last Supper [the first Mass]; with the Words: “DO THIS IN COMMERATION Of Me .” Luke 19:21 and Paul 1st. Cor. 11: 24-25]
HOW? …  While it is through God’s Grace; and His Sacramental call to Holy-Orders, and His actual and Real- Powers being utilized; it nevertheless IS his Catholic priest who are GRANTED From God; His very own Authority and Powers to Forgive mans sins.
John 20:19-23 “Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
WHY? …  1John.1 Verses 8 to 10 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
1John.5 Verses 16 to 17 “If any one sees his brother committing what is not a mortal sin, he will ask, and God will give him life for those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin which is mortal; [meaning literally: Unto SPIRTUAL-DEATH] I do not say that one is to pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not mortal. [And yes the K J Bible says the same things.]
We will provide evidence of the OT use of priest to “hide/ cover” sins; which ONLY now in the perfected New Covenant are actually FORGIVEN. And because God cannot and does not change; one ought to expect some perfected form of these practices in and under His New Covenant.
The Evidence and History  There is abundant biblical evidence that God could; would and did by absolute necessity pass on to Peter; the Apostles and by Succession when He expanded His mandate from Only the Jewish people to the “entire world” in Mark 16;14-15 “At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he [Jesus] said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And again in Matthew 28: 16-20“And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. [I NOW pass it on to YOU!“] Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”
To insure that we all could [and there should ]understand, God Sovereign right to pass on His very Powers and Authority; He makes a point of of doing exactly that very early in His Ministry.
Mt. 10:1-8 “And having called his twelve disciples together , he gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases, and all manner of infirmities. And the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the publican, and James the son of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent: commanding them, saying: Go ye not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go ye rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And going, preach, saying: The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils”
Mt. 16;18-19 “And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I [Jesus] will build my church, [singular] and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven”
Mt. 18: 16-18 “And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. [singular] And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, [now expanded to ALL of the Apostles] whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven.
John 17:17-20 “Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. And not for them only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me”
Old Testament Evidence of priest and a direct ROLE in the “covering of sins.”
Lev.5: 13 “Thus the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in any one of these things, and he shall be forgiven. And the remainder shall be for the priest, as in the cereal offering.” … Lev.6:7 “and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any of the things which one may do and thereby become guilty.”
Lev.4: 20,26, 31 “Thus shall he do with the bull; as he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. … And all its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings; so the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin, and he shall be forgiven. …And all its fat he shall remove, as the fat is removed from the peace offerings, and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a pleasing odor to the LORD; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven.
Lev.16: 8-9, 21 “and Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for Aza’zel. .. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the LORD, and offer it as a sin offering; …and Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat, and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is in readiness.” [FYI: this is the origin of the “Escape – Goat” …
Numbers 15: 25 -28 “And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven; because it was an error, and they have brought their
Offering an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.
And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the error…And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who commits an error, when he sins unwittingly, to make atonement for him; and he shall be forgiven”
Hebrews 4:14 “Having therefore a great high priest that hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God: let us hold fast our confession.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not a high priest, who can not have compassion on our infirmities: but one tempted in all things like as we are, without sin”
Hebrews 5:1 “For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins”
John.15: 16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you”
2 Thess. 1:8 “inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,”
Mt.7: 21“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
****, Hope this does the trick for you. If not, just let me know.
God Bless you;