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Catholic Dictionary




Theologically, a father is the principal one who produces of his own substance another person like himself. There is, consequently, a Father within the Trinity, who begets God the Son. But the triune God is himself spoken of as Father, with respect to the rational beings whom he made to share in his own possession of knowledge and love. Among human beings a father is the male parent of his own children and, ultimately, the ancestor of all his progeny. In Church usage the term is applied to the early spokesmen and defenders of Christianity, bishops who attend regional and especially ecumenical councils, and priests in general or specific priests in their role as confessors or spiritual counselors of the faithful.