I’m reading Father Solanus Benfatti’s (CFR) interesting thesis on the Stigmata of Saint Francis (Rome, 2009). There is an incidental note on page 156 that states that Saint Francis sought to follow the words of Christ so literally, that he would not call any man “good,” “father,” “teacher, or “master” in strict obedience to the teaching of Christ in Mt 23:9 ff.
Carlo Paolazzi has done an advanced study and shown that Francis never did use these words to describe humans – only God. We even have record that he addressed Doctor Bongiovanni as “Brother John.” In fact, Saint Francis even refers to friars in leadership roles as “mothers,” but not as “fathers.”
I find this practice of “Holy Father” Francis fascinating.
Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
Before criticizing, please see my defense of calling priests “Father” – Calling Priests “Father”