Film / Priest (1994)

A 1994 British drama film directed by Antonia Bird, with a screenplay by Jimmy McGovern.

As Father Greg Pilkington (Linus Roache) arrives in his new parish in Liverpool, he is shocked to discovers that Father Matthew Thomas has a (sexual) relationship with the rectory housekeeper. Father Greg struggles with his homosexual feelings and embarks on a relationship-of-sorts with Graham (Robert Carlyle).

During confession, a young girl tells Father Greg that she is being abused by her father, who later confirms it. Since he believes the confidentiality of the confession covers everything he hears in the confession booth, Father Greg feels he cannot tell the authorities about the abuse.

The combination of issues lead Father Greg to question the faith he has based his life on.

No relation to the 2011 film of the same name.

This film provides examples of:

  • Altum Videtur: The priest who heads the rural parish that Greg flees to has a bad case of this. Greg gets his own back, though.
    Greg: Abi et futue te ipsum, sordide senex.
  • Artistic License – Religion: The seal of the confessional only applies if you are genuinely remorseful and contriteful. The girl's father? He's bragging about it and declares his intent to do it again. Father Greg should have had the cops on him as soon as he stepped out of the booth.
  • Auto Erotica: Greg and Graham engage in this and promptly get arrested.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Greg gets one from the abused girl's mother after she figures it all out.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Greg Pilkington. The conflict is pretty natural since he's a gay Catholic priest, but the way he treats his sex partner is still pretty appalling, and father Matthew calls him out on it.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Father Greg starts to question his faith after embarking on a sexual relationship despite his vows. (He's also gay, which makes it even more forbidden.)