Skip to main content

Too Young To Be a Father?

Catholics  have a habit of addressing their priests as 'father'.  The habit is so ingrained that I never think about it.  I certainly don't think of priests as being anything like my father.  I never called my father 'father' anyway.  That would have made me think he was like a priest.  Which would have been quite weird.

My father didn't live beyond my childhood.  I always called him 'daddy', like most kids do in Ireland, becoming 'dad' as one gets older (or 'da', a Dublin variant, just 'dad' with the last 'd' missing).  I called my late father-in-law 'Papaji'.  Just the English word 'papa' with the respectful term 'ji' attached.  The English word 'father' doesn't mean a real father to me.

What is a priest?   A spiritual guide or leader?    According to the Bible, a priest is a holy person set apart from the community whose role is to offer sacrifices to God to expiate the sins of the community.  Before Christ came on earth, the role of the Jewish priests was to offer animal sacrifices.  After Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the Father in Heaven (God the father) the priest's role in offering the symbolic sacrifice of the Eucharist (body of Christ) which was a one-time sacrifice for the sins of mankind is a continuance of that. 

But why call the priest father? Tradition. The trouble with traditions is that they begin for a valid reason and often end up looking ridiculous.  People end up not knowing why they do things.

In India, we don't only address the priest as father.  We call him a 'father'.  So this led to a difficult situation in my life over here in India.

My husband and in-laws are Hindus.  I continue to be a practising Catholic.  I attend my local Church for spiritual matters and contribute financially to it.  Obviously, the priests call in and visit me from time to time.  At Christmas, Easter and odd times.   They are always welcome to my home.  I would usually introduce the priest to my in-laws as 'the father from the Church'.

A few years back, a newly ordained  priest, Fr. Andrew, was posted to my Church.  Andrew was very young looking.  He entered the seminary straight from school.  When he came out, he looked like he was still in school.  I had a lot of chats with him and found him very deeply knowledgeable about Biblical scripture, and very mature for his age.  He was sincere about wanting to bring God to people and the people to God.  In my experience, many Catholic priests don't succeed in their mission to help people find God because they don't read the Bible very much.  I always reminded him to keep the Bible nearby and teach from that.

Andrew visited my house one day for a cup of tea and a chat.  Obviously, when a handsome young man is visiting you (Andrew is gorgeous looking!) you have to tell your father in law who he is.

"This is the father from the Church" I said.  Andrew does not wear clerical garb outside the Church, which added to Papaji's confusion.  He was polite and welcoming, but full of questions afterwards.

"Why do you call him father?" he asked.

"Tradition," I replied.

"How can he be a father?  He is only a young boy!" said Papaji."How can I call him father?  He's years younger than I am!"

I had to admit that Papaji had a point. In fact at seventeen years younger than me, Andrew is young enough to be my son.

So from that day on, I've stopped calling priests father unless they are over sixty or so.  It doesn't feel right.  Not anymore.  Brother would be more appropriate in my opinion.

I've just had a new comment system installed.  If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title of this post and allow a little time for the comment system to load - thanks!


Popular posts from this blog

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.

Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?

As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.

The Curse of Poverty - Short Story

As the dawn light spread its fingers across the early morning, Rajji stirred uneasily.  She tended to sleep like a street dog - ever alert, with one ear open.  But she'd been tired the previous night and as a consequence had slept rather heavily. Her life was a constant struggle, filled with tasks and responsibilities. If she hadn't been careful, she might have been robbed!  She sprang into alert mode and clutched about her person.  No, everything was in place, the precious money was undisturbed.  Thanks to her employment with the bank, cleaning for one hour every morning, six days a week, she even had a bank account which one of the bank employees had helped her to set up.  What little money she had saved up was safe.....

She looked over her children.  Babu, her son lay sleeping still.  Muniya, her daughter, stirred, close to waking up.  But where was Gudiya, her youngest child?  Might have woken up early and gone to wander around.  Gudiya knew everyone around here and every…