A romance trope where a character is sexually attracted to or even in love with a member of the clergy (who will almost always be a Sexy Priest
or a Naughty Nun
to justify the character's affections in the eyes of the audience). May also occur when both
partners are members of the clergy (i.e., a priest and a nun, for instance).
Truth in Television
, and justifiably common when you consider that not all religions demand vows of celibacy
. Anglican and Protestant clergy, for example, are free to marry, which was one of the controversial changes in the Reformation. Moreover, married men have always been allowed to become priests (but not bishops) in the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, although priests are not permitted go get married after ordination (although there are enough loopholes in certain branches of these churches that this prohibition has less weight).
Despite the common misconception, a Vow of Celibacy
was not always
required in the Roman Catholic Church, either. For its first thousand years it was legal under church law for anyone from a local priest to the pope himself to marry and have children, though how acceptable
it was considered to be varied. It was particularly common for a man seeking to join the priesthood to delay ordination until he got married, since it was usually seen as acceptable for a married man to become a parish priest (as in the Orthodox churches to this day). The practice came to an end when the Church began discovering that priests were bequeathing land to their children that belonged to the Church, not the priest—and, more annoying to the Church hierarchy, trying to bequeath their position as priest (interfering with the authority of the Pope and the bishops to make hiring decisions). Even today, most priests are not required to take a vow of chastity (that is, to not have sex) but are required by their order or diocese to be celibate (to not marry). Extramarital sex is still a sin, certainly, but like any other sin, it can be forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession), and it's not considered to be as severe as breaking a vow before God.
In the Victorian era a clergyman was actually considered top-notch husband material because he had a guaranteed income, social status, and probably wasn't going to spend his time fooling around with the housemaid (hopefully). On the other hand, a curate was at the very bottom of the ecclesiastical ladder, and was generally not nearly as well paid as his superiors.
In fiction, however, this trope will typically be played for drama with Catholic priests or nuns, for an added element of Forbidden Fruit
to it. When a work is simply about desire for, say, a Protestant minister, the conflict around this trope tends to be lessened, though there's still plenty of dramatic potential if either or both parties are tempted to carry on a premarital or extramarital affair.
Cases where a celibate clergy member eventually reciprocates the feeling may or may not follow, though whether or not they will abandon their chastity vows, or entire vocation, to be with their beloved varies a lot.
Not related to Get Thee to a Nunnery
, though the above trope may have played a part in the latter's origins. People who feel this way will often say "I'm Going to Hell for This
Compare Nun Too Holy
. Disturbingly inverted in the figure of the Pedophile Priest
. May violate a Vow of Celibacy
Anime and Manga
- Eventually happens in One Pound Gospel, with Kosaku falling for Sister Angela.
- Maria†Holic plays with this trope when Father Kanae thinks this with Kanako but he himself is after Mariya.
- The basis of Chrono Crusade: this is the story of a Battle Couple made of a nun named Rosette and a demon named Chrono. Cranked Up to Eleven in the anime, where Rosette is also harrassed by Big Bad Aion who even plants two Forceful Kisses on the poor girl.
- In Record of Lodoss War, the Lodoss cults have no objections to their priests/priestesses marrying and raising families. Therefore, you have some examples of this:
- Princess Fianna of Valis falls for Etoh, a cute young priest of Falis and Parn's best friend. They get married, and become King and Queen of Valis.
- Neese, a high-ranked priestess of Marpha, is a Widow Woman with a daughter named Laylea who is also a priestess, meaning that her husband swore by the trope in the past.
- After being released of Karla the Grey Witch's Grand Theft Me, Laylea herself falls for Parn's Big Brother Mentor Slayn, who returns her feelings; they get Happily Married and then have Little Neese, who becomes a main character in the second half of the TV series because she's also the Apocalypse Maiden.
- Little Neese herself seems to have kind-of a crush on Spark, The Hero.
- In Trigun, Huge Schoolgirl Milly is attracted to Wolfwood, the resident Badass Preacher. In the anime they even spend a night together and do it... right before he's killed.
- In Trinity Blood, two different nuns show clear romantic feelings for the lead character, who's a Catholic priest. And a frighteningly powerful super-vampire, but that's not important to this trope. It's never treated as any kind of "forbidden fruit" situation, though, because it takes place in a distant future where the Catholic Church no longer requires clerical celibacy.
- Spoofed in Sailor Moon Super S alongside Interspecies Romance, when Artemis the cat seems to have a crush on a beautiful nun named Sister Maria. He was mostly fantasizing about cat marriage in a Catolic church... in front of one where Sister Maria volunteers. And then she's captured by a member of the Quirky Miniboss Squad...
- Very... creepily used with Father Garai and Michio Yuki from MW.
- Even though they were never together while he headed a church, Tulip's attraction to Jesse Custer in Preacher would definitely qualify.
- Simon Birch: Reverend Russell slept with Joe's mother, which resulted in Joe.
- The Sound of Music, where the Captain falls for the nun postulant whom he's hired as his nanny.
- One of the fake trailers at the beginning of Tropic Thunder was a parody of Oscar Bait films that involved two monks being sexually attracted to each other.
- Blood on Satan's Claw (aka The Devil's Skin) has a horror example. The Satan worshipping school girl tries to seduce the town preacher, going so far as to strip for him. He does not give in.
- The Crime of Father Amaro, inspired by a Portuguese novel of the same name. With Gael Garcia Bernal as the Sexy Priest who has a relationship with the local Naïve Everygirl.
- Quills has some UST between Madeleine and the Abbé du Coulmier.
- In Love Exposure, a woman falls for a Catholic priest.
- In Priest, Robert Carlyle (playing Graham) has the hots for Linus Roache (Father Greg). It's reciprocal
- Pavilion of Women, an adaptation of the Pearl S. Buck novel of the same name. Though there's a romantic attraction between Madame Wu and Father Andre in the book, the film makes it much more explicit and unlike the novel, has the couple act on their feelings for each other.
- The early '70s film Pieces of Dreams involves an affair between a priest and a divorced social worker.
- Chilean movie Bienvenida Casandra ("Welcome here, Casandra!") is about the aforementioned Casandra, the local Naïve Newcomer, falling for the young priest of the village she's just arrived.
- Keeping The Faith involves a Love Triangle between a Rabbi, a Catholic priest and their childhood friend.
- A Prayer for Owen Meany: Tabitha slept with Rev. Merrill, which resulted in Johnny.
- In The God of Small Things, Baby Kochamma fell in love with an Irish missionary when she was younger.
- Pretty much the plot of The Thorn Birds.
- It used to be very common in the Victorian era (generally in the form of falling in love with the poor but virtuous and handsome young curate), so much so that it was a convention of novels and plays mocked by W. S. Gilbert in two separate works: "The Rival Curates" (which eventually got turned into Patience and featured rival poets instead) and The Sorceror (in which the much older vicar, Dr. Daly, is adored by young Constance).
- This is the premise of the 19th century Portuguese novel O Crime do Padre Amaro ("The Crime of Father Amaro"), where it ends in tragedy.
- Sissy from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn once tried to seduce her priest, since she didn't believe in celibacy.
- In the first Spaceforce book, compulsive womaniser Jay is first seduced as a teenage boy by the priestess of his local temple.
- In The Three Musketeers, Milady is a nun who has seduced a monk and left the convent, only to abandon the monk to marry Athos, only to abandon him to marry Lord de Winter, whom she poisons. She is not a nice Milady.
- A medieval cantiga (monophonic song) from Portugal tells the story of a man who went after an Abbess... to ask her to prepare him for his wedding night.
- An example of Hot for Preacher where the attraction for a Puritan minister is frowned upon for leading not to marriage but to adultery (complete with a bastard child) can be found in The Scarlet Letter.
- Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth is in love with Jack, who becomes a monk largely because he thinks she isn't.
- In The Sparrow, we have Father Emilio Sandoz who is chaste, charming, funny, intelligent, Roman Catholic priest, and apparently not bad to look at. The Catholic schoolgirls call him Father What-a-waste, and a main character grows to love him.
- Father Amadi from Purple Hibiscus is the main character's first crush. She's fifteen, and he's at least in his twenties, but he never leads her on romantically.
- In Gabriel García Márquez's Del Amor Y Otros Demonios (Of love and other demons), a priest named Father Cayetano Delaura is tasked with taking care of a Lonely Rich Kid named Sierva Maria who's suspected of being under Demonic Possession. Delaura is also the first person ever to treat the badly neglected girl as a human being, and they end up attracted to each other. But not only Sierva Marìa is regarded as possessed and Delaura is a very promising member of his order, but she is as much 12 years old and he's in his 30's (Values Dissonance, but yeah). It's played for both squick and drama and ends in massive tragedy..
- In Angels & Demons, Dan Brown has in its backstory a priest and nun who fall in love, but refuse to cast aside their vows of celibacy, but also refuse to let that stop them from reproducing. She artificially inseminates herself with his seed (which is against Church doctrine at time of writing (2014) but isn't a breaking of a vow), becomes pregnant, and is, of course, forced out of the nunhood. He becomes The Pope.
- In In This House of Brede, Larry Bannerman and Sister Cecily. They're in love, but she loves God more. He eventually marries her cousin Jean.
- In The Exorcist, Father Karras is concerned that Chris MacNeil may view him as forbidden fruit and develop (or have already developed) an attraction for him. Whether this is accurate, baseless speculation, or even projection on his part is not clearly established, since before long they have far worse things to worry about.
- Dr. Maura Isles of the Rizzoli & Isles novels becomes attracted to a local priest in one of the books as the Boston PD are investigating a murder that occurred at his church. The feeling is mutual and in the following book, they begin an affair that carries on indeterminate amount of time (but occurs across several books) before finally ending when she's forced to admit that as much as he loves her, he isn't willing to leave the priesthood for her.
- On M*A*S*H, Father Mulcahy had this happen when he helped one of the nurses study to become a doctor.
- This would often be a running gag on The Benny Hill Show.
- In The Sopranos, the sexual tension between Carmela Soprano and Father Intintola is a plot point.
- Early episodes of Soap had Corinne in love with Father Tim. He eventually left the priesthood to marry her. Then they had a demon baby; after it was exorcised it was Put On A Perambulator.
- Brazilian Soap Opera Mulheres Apaixonadas ('Passionate Women') had a subplot where a woman fell in love with a Catholic priest. Eventually she got him to abandon clergy life and marry her.
- Assumpta and Father Peter in Ballykissangel. Parodied in the Father Ted Christmas Episode in a Cold Open daydream sequence, with Ted in Peter's place.
- On Kung Fu Caine was the object of this a time or two.
- Frequently in The Vicar of Dibley, and in both directions. Naturally though, the guys who are interested in Geraldine are nothing like the guys she's interested in herself.
- Angel's twisted obsession with Drusilla stems from the fact that she is a "saint", as he calls it. She wants nothing more than to become a nun. Guess how that one turned out...
- Samantha in Sex and the City found herself a Sexy Priest to lust over.
- Sister Paul's POV episode in Brides of Christ deals with her falling for Father Jack, a priest she meets at a cousin's wedding. They both decide to abandon their vocations and attempt a romantic relationship, but it ultimately doesn't work out, and she decides to return to the convent.
- Subverted in an episode of Father Ted, where Ted believes an attractive female novelist visiting Craggy Island has developed feelings for him. Ted all but rushes through a mass and blows off a visiting group of nuns when she invites him over to her place, only for her to reveal that she's thinking about becoming a nun, and wants to get his advice on vocations.
- A case of Truth in Television in The Borgias- both Rodrigo and Cesare experience this, though Cesare's lover in series one leaves him for the convent after he murders her husband.
- Call the Midwife: Dr Turner, the widowed doctor who works with Nonnatus House, falls head over heels for the kindest, sweetest, most good-hearted character in the entire cast, and she falls just as desperately in love with him. Unfortunately for them both, that character is devoted nun Sister Bernadette. Her struggle to choose between her vows and the man she loves is a major subplot of the second series. After months of struggle and heartache, she leaves the convent to be with him. The series ends with them engaged to be married — and finally on a First Name Basis, to boot!
- Happens, sort of, in an episode of Little House on the Prairie. The old vicar, Rev Alden, is hit on by an equally old congregant. One wouldn't exactly call this "Hot" for preacher, but it counts. They decide to marry, prompting Harriet to object, saying the old preacher should not marry. We find she was once engaged to a man who left her for the ministry.
- In The Last Don II, Mafia Princess Rose Marie has a love affair with her parish priest (played by Jason Isaacs). It does not end well for him.
- One Life to Live: Shortly after being introduced, promiscuous troublemaker Marty Saybrooke repeatedly tried to seduce Andrew Carpenter, the local minister. When he rebuffed her advances, she sought revenge by falsely accused him of molesting a young boy. A few years later, after Marty's Redemption By Rape, her feelings resurfaced. This time, Andrew reciprocated and the two had to legitimately struggle to keep their feelings in check, as Andrew was Happily Married.
- 'Dont Mess With The Missionary Man', a song by Eurythmics.
- "Goin' Down" by The Pretty Reckless is a song about a 16 year old girl seducing a priest in a confessional, in attempt to get into heaven after killing her boyfriend.
- 'Body and Soul' by Tori Amos, where the POV is of the singer seducing a priest.
- The Dutch song "De Nozem en de Non" (The Punk and the Nun) by Cornelis Vreeswijk is the (humorous) story of how the punk and the nun fell in love and are eventually separated by the police for walking on the grass.
- There is also an old Flemish folk song where the singer meets a (poor) postulante. When her parents die she becomes one of the richest people in the land, but when he comes for her she has already taken her vows and will not go with him. Different versions of this song have different endings - in one eventually she does go with him, in another he kills himself and she has a house built on top of his grave to become a recluse.
- There was a storyline in the newspaper comic 9 Chickweed Lane about a priest and a nun who fell for one another. They did not pursue the romance at the time, but both left the church soon afterwards, and they eventually got married.
- In accordance with The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples, the Duke in Measure for Measure falls in love with Isabel, a postulant for the Poor Clares. (This has quite unnecessarily scandalized some commentators.)
- In Euripides' Hippolytus, the eponymous hero is a devotee of Artemis and has dedicated his virginity to her, when his mother-in-law Phaedra falls in love with him. All ends in tears.
- In Fallout 3 there is a minor sidequest in Rivet City where a woman has eyes for the local preist's apprentice and asks for your help. Solutions include convincing him yourself, telling his boss that he's already done the nasty and get him thrown out anyway and gettng the woman some royal ant jelly (which temporerily gives a large boost to charisma at the cost of intelligence) so he actually will break his vows. If you're successful you can attend their ceremony.
- Happens more than once in Fire Emblem (sometimes when certain characters support to A level) with a Monk, a Cleric or a Priest. Some cases include:
- Fire Emblem Akaneia: Lena and Julian are love interests. Not to mention she was supposed to marry Prince Michalis, but decided to run away... Also, Marth's older sister Elice is a Priest and is implied to marry her childhood friend Merric.
- Genealogy of the Holy War: anyone who marries either the Cleric/High Priest Adean or the Bishop Claude in Gen 1, and later whoever falls for the Cleric/High Priest Lana (Adean's daughter) or the Priest/Bishop Corple (Sylvia's son);
- Blazing Sword: the Cleric Serra and either Oswin, Matthew or Erk; for some, the Monk Lucius and Raven. If Serra will end up lampshading the trope if she marries Oswin.
- Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones: the monk Artur and Lute, the cleric Natasha and either Seth or Joshua.
- Fire Emblem Awakening: Lissa (Cleric), Libra (War Monk aka a promoted Priest), and any character reclassed into Priest or Cleric. Subverted with the Priest Brady, who leaves the clergy in his endings to become a musician instead.
- One of the possible romance options in Dragon Age II is with Sebastian, a celibate Sexy Priest.
- In Bravely Default, Tiz Arrior develops a crush on Agnés Oblige, who, as the Wind Vestal, is a major religious figure in the faith of the Crystals.
- Telma appears to feel this way towards Renado in Twilight Princess, though it's Played for Laughs (Telma owns a bar, after all).
- A notable case (and an inversion) is that of Renaissance painter Fra Filippo Lippi, who was a friar but apparently had little inclination for chastity. He allegedly seduced a novice from the convent of S. Margherita of Prato and employed her as a model for his Madonnas.
- There was a brothel in medieval England that catered to customers with a Naughty Nuns fetish. None of the employees were actually nuns, but they wore the full costume.
- This trope led to the fall of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart during the late 1980s. That, and Your Cheating Heart.
- In Chile, high-ranked lawyer Clara Szczaranski fell in love with a well-known Jesuit priest and uni professor named Renato Hevia. After quite the media circus due to the objections raised by the local Cath church, he left clergy and they got married.
- Father Cutie. Yes, that is his name. To elaborate, Cutie (a popular TV personality and up-and-coming Catholic priest in his diocese) fell in love with one of his parishioners, a single mother. Eventually, because of Cutie's visibility in the media, photos of them kissing on a beach were published in a tabloid. After some reflection, Cutie chose his girlfriend over the Catholic Church, and converted to the Episcopalian faith so he could marry her and continue working as a priest. They're still Happily Married and have two children together.
- Martin Luther and his wife Catherine were once a Monk and Nun until that whole Protestant business.