This Catholic article explains and defends the usage of the word, "Father," in reference to priests. Now, in the Chinese language, people have a tendency to use the same familial words for society at large. A child may call an unrelated man, "uncle," or an unrelated younger girl, "little sister". Will this be in conflict with the Catholic concept of "Father" of the church? Or do the Chinese Catholics use a distinct honorific term just for the priest?

  • 1
    I'm sure this page has the answer you seek. :P
    – Flimzy
    Mar 3 '14 at 20:17

Catholic priests are called 神父 "Shenfu" (Mandarin) or "Sunfu" (Cantonese), literally "God- father". For reference please go to http://zh-yue.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%A5%9E%E7%88%B6; then click on English (on the left hand side) to see a (rough, not very precise) translation of the page. Another source is myself: Chinese is my native language and this is the word I use when addressing people who are Catholic priests.


mook see (pronunciation) is a distinct term used specifically for the pastor of a church.

Familial terms can be used for people like uncles and aunties but these terms do not extend to all.

Source: Chinese family friend.


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