Why Do We Call the Pope Our “Holy Father”? (Father Simon Says)

If you’ve ever wondered why the pope is known as our “Holy Father,” check out this answer! Don’t worry – it doesn’t go against Scripture!

In this podcast from Father Simon Says, a listener named Mary asks Fr. Simon about the use of this term. Mary wonders why the pope is called “Holy Father,” considering the Bible’s instruction not to call anyone father. Father Simon explains that the term is rooted in custom and expresses the hope for any pope to be holy.

He mentions St. Paul’s reference to himself as a father in his letters and explains how the term “father” gained prominence in the monastic movement and later extended to priests and bishops. Father Simon clarifies that the term signifies the office’s holiness, representing the pope’s role as a father to the Diocese of Rome and as a universal father figure in the church. In other words, the use of “Holy Father” honors the office.

Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.