When newly elected Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) was being introduced to the Romanist church, thousands in the Roman crowd cheered “Habemus Papam” – “we have a pope”. Pope is the Latin word for Papa, i.e. ‘Daddy’ or ‘Father’. In essence, the crowds cheered “we have a father”. In point of fact, “Holy Father” is one of the most common honorific titles given to the reigning Bishop of Rome. See, for instance, the Vatican Webpage “Holy Father” which lists the activities of recent Roman Pontiffs.
Protestant Christians, on the other hand, who have their consciences bound by the Word of God, find themselves under no obligation to give honorific titles to men which have been expressly forbidden the one and only true head of the Church.
The scribes and the Pharisees …bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [them] on men’s shoulders; …all their works they do for to be seen of men …And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets
…And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. …But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
– Matthew 23:2-12
Consider also, in John 17:11 when Christ prays to God the Father using the very title “Holy Father” as an address to very God Himself. In light of this blasphemy, let us heed Paul’s warning about the ‘man of sin’ who will exalt himself above God and would dare to sit, being worshiped, in the temple of God (2 Thes 2:2-9).