[[quoteright:247:[[VideoGame/CrusaderKings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tvtropes-turbulent_priest_33.jpg]]]]

-> ''"Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?"''
->--[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_England Henry II of England]]

An [[TheEmpire Evil Empire]], GovernmentConspiracy or even a CorruptCorporateExecutive has sinister plans. Where will the hero find an ally? In TheChurch.

A Turbulent Priest is a member of the clergy who will resist the plans of somebody with power. Usually their fight is with a secular authority who threatens the Church or general morality, but struggles against other clergy attempting to subvert what the Church stands for is just as viable a cause.

This trope can be depicted in either a positive or a negative light. If the Turbulent Priest is portrayed as in the right, his opponent is usually interested in money or power, and will quite gladly engage in [[KickTheDog animal cruelty]] and other immoral behavior to get it. If he's in the wrong, the Secular Authority is generally trying to improve society, and the Priest is afraid of change. The TropeNamer (see below) is actually quite neutral by most understandings.

How the Turbulent Priest conducts himself depends on his rank and standing. If he is the equivalent of a Monk or Parish priest, he may offer sympathies to the hero. If the work is set in TheEvilEmpire or similar, expect him to be part of LaResistance and usually given more freedom than the average citizen, because the Church retains some power and would not like to see its clergy picked on. If the Turbulent Priest is a bishop or other high-ranking member of the Church, expect him to publicly decry the plans, and encourage resistance. If his beef is with one person, sometimes questioning whether his soul is as safe as he thinks is an effective deterrent. Both styles may overlap with a BadassPreacher or a ChurchMilitant.

Named for [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Becket Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury]], who spent most of his tenure arguing with King Henry II over his plans to exercise increased royal control over the Church in England, leading Henry II to utter the quote at the top of the page. There was no real right or wrong side from a modern perspective, as Henry saw clergy abuse the Ecclesiastical Legal system to escape secular punishment, and Becket saw the sovereignty of the Church as being threatened. Interestingly, [[BeamMeUpScotty what Henry actually said about Becket is not exactly known]], though several of his knights apparently [[RhetoricalRequestBlunder took the quote as a royal execution order]], and murdered the Archbishop at the altar of his own cathedral, getting their king in trouble with the Pope.


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* In ''TwentiethCenturyBoys'', two {{Badass Preacher}}s aide Kanna and Kenji's friends in the fight against the Friend cult, both of which are reformed criminals: Father Nitani, [[JapaneseChristian a Japanese priest]], and Father Luciano, an Italian cardinal.
* In ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'', [[TheStoic Claire]] and her team of [[PhlebotinumRebel rebel warriors]] have human allies in the [[HolyCity holy city of Rabona]], including some priests.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* The Archdeacon of the Cathedral in Disney's ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' interferes with Judge Frollo's more morally questionable acts, such as drowning babies and violating the sanctuary law. Amusingly, the original Frollo from [[Literature/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame the book]] was both a more moral person... and archdeacon of Notre Dame. It's like Disney split him in half and made him fight himself.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Subverted in the movie ''Film/BlackDeath''. The young monk is [[OnlySaneMan the only man]] who recognizes that most witch-burnings are the result of hysterical superstition, and initially sides with the villagers against the knights. Then he finds out it's a [[TownWithADarkSecret Village With A Dark Secret]]...
* The Tower Guardian Dumont in ''Film/{{Tron}}'' is a CoolOldGuy who maintains the only free [=I/O=] Tower on the system, despite Master Control's persecution of User-Believers. He's on the verge of the DespairEventHorizon, but Tron and Yori convince him to help. After he's captured and facing certain de-rez for his actions, he is remarkably sarcastic and defiant, declaring that Master Control "started small, and will end small!"

* Having at the core of its plot a schism between a [[CorruptChurch Corrupt]] PathOfInspiration and the nation it tried ([[CurbStompBattle and]] [[EpicFail failed]]) to destroy, there is a number of such characters in the ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' series, such as Charis Archbishop Maikel Staynair and members of the reformist movement within the Church of God Awaiting known as the Circle.
* Friar Tuck in the RobinHood legendarium.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' features the "Sparrows", pious knights and peasants who become increasingly angered at the unmitigated atrocities (and general immorality and corruption) occurring across Westeros, eventually leading them to force the installation of one of their number as the new High Septon, who starts out as rather openly condemnatory of the leadership of the realm. [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Cersei Lannister]] attempts to placate them by [[TooDumbToLive authorizing the restoration of]] the ChurchMilitant.
** King Baelor the Blessed from the backstory proves an interesting case. He was an utter pacifist who walked barefoot across the continent to make peace with his elder brother's enemies, and constantly gave away the kingdom's treasury to the poor, but it was only through the political savvy of his machiavellian uncle Viserys that the nobility were kept from rebelling. In ''Literature/TheWorldOfIceAndFire'', it is suggested Baelor might have been assassinated because he got in his head that all infidels must be converted, which would have led to a humongous civil war against the Northmen and Ironborn, who practise different faiths from the rest of Westeros.
* Several examples in Mercedes Lackey's ''Bardic Voices'' and ''Valdemar'' novels.
* Creator/RosemarySutcliff got a lot of mileage out of religious conflicts. Fanatical druids stir up anti-Roman revolts in ''Literature/TheEagleOfTheNinth'' and ''Literature/FrontierWolf''; monks bicker with KingArthur in ''Literature/SwordAtSunset''; Augustine of Canterbury rocks up to convert the dubious Anglo-Saxon kings in ''[[Literature/TheDolphinRing Dawn Wind]]''; zealous Puritans ally with Parliament against King Charles in ''The Rider of the White Horse'' and ''Simon''; and Presbyterian Scottish Covenanter priests reject the rule of English kings in ''We Lived in Drumfyvie'' and ''Bonnie Dundee''.
* Philip in ''Literature/ThePillarsOfTheEarth'' is one. One of his great life goals is to prove that faith and virtue is a more powerful force than violence and wickedness. [[spoiler: In the end, he does.]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Jake in ''Series/AllTheSmallThings'' introduces sweeping reforms in his church in order to make it relevant to the local community. Needless to say, the [[ObstructiveZealot traditionalists]] in the choir and on the parish council aren't happy.
* One episode of ''{{Blackadder}} I'' has the title character, the younger son of the king, made Archbishop of Canterbury after his father had the previous one assassinated for being turbulent. Blackadder spends the whole episode trying not to be this trope, even trying to talk a dying nobleman ''out of'' leaving all his money to the church. The king celebrates the fact that, unlike Henry II, he will never have to ask "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Unfortunately, a pair of drunken knights overhear part of the conversation and think it means they should go kill the new archbishop.

* ''TabletopGame/{{Necromunda}}'' has the Arch Zealot of the Redemption, a ''completely'' batshit insane Imperial priest who goes around with his band of fanatics setting fire to heretics. He's so extreme higher-ups in the Redemptionists have put a bounty on his head.
** The ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40K'' short story ''The Last Church'', set before the Great Crusade, features Uriah, the priest who looks after the last church on Terra. He spends the story debating the need for religion with a mysterious stranger who turns out to be the GodEmperor of Mankind in disguise. Then he proceeds to flip off the Emperor in front of a crowd of Thunder Warriors (prototype SpaceMarines) and walks back into his burning church to die in the flames.

* Turbulent Priests tend to pop up a lot in {{Random Event}}s in Creator/ParadoxInteractive games, such as ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings'' and ''VideoGame/EuropaUniversalis''. Revolts and / or stability drops tend to follow in their wake, leading to much frustrating head-clutching.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* One of the Fire Temple's Fire Sages in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' helps the Gaang gain access to the inner chamber in "The Summer Solstice".

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Thomas Becket, as described above.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II Pope John Paul II]] actively encouraged the Solidarity movement in Poland, which resisted Communism. Some people credit the man with being a major part in Communism's non-violent downfall.
** And he was far from being the only one. Father Jerzy Popieluszko was an activist preacher involved in the Solidarity movement, and murdered by the secret police.
*** A fairly large number of Catholic religious officials in Catholic parts of the Soviet bloc (as well as the Russian Empire) were actively involved in activities against the regime. One, Cardinal Slipyj of Ukraine, provided the model for the fictitious Cardinal Lakota in the novel ''Shoes of the Fishermen''.
* Jaime Cardinal [[UnfortunateNames Sin]], the Archbishop of Manila, was one of the main figures in the revolution that brought Philippine dictator Marcos down.
* Two examples from the Catholic Church: One, Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns helped save the torture records in the Brazilian dictatorship and store them abroad for later use (as evidence against the torturers, hopefully, but, at the very least, as a registry of that dark period), besides providing aid and abode for those that resisted said dictatorship. He actually managed to copy all or most of the records in a measly 24 hours as well by using the structure of the Church (and against the wishes of its conservative side, which meant he had to do it subtly), making it a CrowningMomentOfAwesome. Two, some bishops of the "Sul-1" branch of the Church tried to interfere in the Brazilian presidential elections in 2010, using abortion (changes to abortion laws weren't really being discussed) as an excuse to attack a candidate, ignoring the rules the Church itself set regarding interference in politics in the process. It got bad enough that the Pope became known to some people as the losing candidate's most effective campaign volunteer. Needless to say, this got some Brazilians quite irked at the Church.
* Marco Arana in Peru interacting on the behalf of natives against mining companies and other such forces. He even founded a political party! However, this involvement in politics got him expelled from the church. Other priests have also gotten involved but not to the same extent.
* A number of priests, Catholic and Protestant, were this to the Nazis. Many preached against the party's actions from the pulpit, while others hid those bound for the camps in their orphanages and abbeys. Unfortunately, just as many willingly cooperated.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girolamo_Savonarola Girolamo Savonarola]], the 15th-century Florentine preacher, political reformer, and self-proclaimed prophet.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Romero Oscar Romero]], a Catholic archbishop in UsefulNotes/ElSalvador during the Salvadoran Civil War. He spoke out against the persecution of priests and human rights abuses carried out by the Salvadoran government and was consequently assassinated by a member of a state-sponsored death squad. Currently being considered for sainthood in the Catholic Church, though his cause for canonization has [[DevelopmentHell been taking a while]].
* Cardinal [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicente_Enrique_y_Taranc%C3%B3n Vicente Enrique y Tarancón]] was despised by the most immovilist elements of the Franco dictatorship to the point of being greeted with the cry ''¡Tarancón al Paredón!'' ("Gun down Tarancón!") at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrero_Blanco Carrero Blanco]]'s funeral. It should be noted that after Vatican II the Franco dictatorship was a bigger Catholic hardliner than the Vatican itself.
* In medieval China, a wandering monk named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongwu_Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang]] put an end to 100 years of Mongol rule in China by himself and seized the throne as the Hongwu Emperor, first of the Ming Dynasty. Since he had been born in a dirt-poor farming family, his is also one of the most epic RagsToRiches stories ever.
* The {{TropeMaker}}s were probably the Biblical prophets, who prophesied against the corruption of the people, the priests, and above all, the kings of Israel and Judah. For example; Moses' opposition of the Pharaoh in the Book of Exodus.
* Many leaders of the CivilRightsMovement in the U.S. starting in the 1950s were religious leaders, with the most famous examples being Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Many leaders in the continuing effort to correct racial injustices in American society today are also religious leaders.
* Priests following the Liberation Theology loudly protested against Central and South American dictatures, and some paid for this with their life.