I leaned into the microphone and said to the young man in front of 2,000 people, “You should really read your Bible more carefully and do your homework before you stand up and embarrass yourself in front of 2,000 people.” I then explained why we call the Pope our Holy Father.
There are several meanings for the word “holy” and that is what the young man did not understand. If holy simply means without sin, it is hard to see why “things” are called holy. For example, the HOLY OF HOLIES is a place. Is it called holy because it has not sinned?
The word HOLY in Hebrew is kodesh and means apartness, holiness, sacredness, consecration, separateness. Holiness can mean without sin. It can also means dedicated or set apart for God.
So, is the Pope holy in the sense of being completely sinless? Of course not. But the Pope is set apart for God in a special way as the HOLY Father, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter.
Bottom line, he is the HOLY FATHER and this fits perfectly with the Bible.
So much for a dumb challenge at a conference.
PS Remember that even WE are called holy. Paul considered all of us saints (literally “holy ones” with a small “s”). He writes,
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints (literally: “holy ones”) who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:1-2).