I kneel upon the floor
Temptations of a Catholic priest
Aren't easy to ignore
But I cannot control myself
He rips my soul apart
For one small sheep among my flock
Has stolen the shepherd's heart"
Very simply, this is when a priest, preacher or other member of the clergy is depicted as or accused of being a pedophile or child molester — in short, a holy individual with an entirely unholy interest in children.
Given the implicit trust associated with the profession, this is typically portrayed as the ultimate betrayal of innocence and a Moral Event Horizon for everyone involved. Due to the cultural impact of the late-twentieth to early 21st-century child molestation scandals in the Catholic Church, Catholic priests are by far the most likely to be involved in a molestation accusation in modern media, although neither Protestant ministers nor the clergy of other religions are by any means immune, and, of course, in real life a pedophile also can be a parent or other relative, a teacher or caregiver, a babysitter, a neighbor, a family friend, or even a random person online, simply because — as with murderers, rapists, or any other type of violent criminal — pedophiles exist in every society. Some studies have argued that Catholic priests are no more likely to be pedophiles than any other person. The main reason why abuse cases in the Catholic Churches drew far more media attention than, for example, cases in schools was because the Catholic Church cases were systematically covered up. This cover-up was exacerbated because, when clergy abuse accusations started to become more common in the mid-to-late 20th Century, it was believed pederasty could be cured with therapy, which is where offending priests were sent (instead of informing the authorities).
Depending on the tone of the work and whether it regards the church as inherently good or evil, the initial accusation may be treated as the aberration of a single sick individual, or may lead to the uncovering of a corrupt or actively malevolent church hierarchy. Taken to the extreme, the church is nothing more than a Wretched Hive of child abusers using their religion as a shield. By contrast, in a comedic work, the trope may be Played for Laughs as a stock joke without exploring the Unfortunate Implications.
The accused need not even be guilty; the simple accusation of pedophilia/molestation is usually enough to set off a Pædo Hunt, which a villain may take full advantage of as a Red Herring to cover up or distract from their crimes (or to justify a crusade against the priest's entire religion). Another way this trope can be used on a non-villainous character is that he has joined the church not only to get an excuse to remain a bachelor but also as a way to fight against his urges and remain chaste.note
- In the Black Butler anime, the leader of the Pure Church is implied to be one, which is why they were getting Ciel cleaned up. Oddly enough, it may have been an Invoked Trope. The "leader" was actually assembled from the reanimated corpses of Ciel's parents acting as a puppet leader at Angela's behest. While it's unlikely to have had any independent sex drives, this is Angela we're talking about...
- Invoked in The Five Star Stories with Bishop Iller, whose Fatima partner, Ananda, is made to look like a young boy.
- Somewhat inverted in Osamu Tezuka's MW. As a teenager, Garai sexually abuses the 9-year-old Yuuki Michio & later becomes a priest to atone for his sinful past.
- Adam Blade in NEEDLESS. A Comedic Lolicon who never actually does anything with/to little girls and is played very much for laughs.
- Played for laughs with Garterbelt of Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, although he seems to be more pederast than pedophile. He's awfully fond of Brief and organizes a naked marathon for high schoolers for the sake of getting his jollies on. The Season Finale suggests that he was actually trying to keep an eye on Brief, whose dick happens to be the key to hell. We can even see him singing a song about his big and black sausage in the ninth episode, selling sausage on the beach.
- Subverted in the Fairy Tail omake about the punishment game. Cana has Wendy try on a lot of skimpy and/or furtive clothing (like a wedding dress), and when Wendy worriedly asks why, Cana says that she'll take Wendy to an old priest who likes that sort of "stuff". Wendy understandably becomes terrified, but when they actually meet the priest, there is nothing pedophile about him. The only reason Cana wanted Wendy to wear those clothes was that she wanted Wendy to make a good first impression by wearing fashionable clothing, but since Cana has no idea what fashionable clothing is, she just chose the skimpiest clothes as she always wears a skimpy outfit herself.
- Nicchi of Otaku no Musume-san is an unapologetic lolicon and becomes a priest in the ending. Characters still have to violently keep him away from young girls.
- On Monty Python's Matching Tie & Handkerchief album, a presenter interviewing a noted surgeon, Reg LeCrisp, queries him about a controversy raised when he grafted a pederast onto an Anglican bishop.
Reg: Well, that's ignorance of the press, if I may say so. We've thousands of similar operations except this time there was a bishop involved.
- Parodied in one of Mike Birbiglia's routines. He mentions that he was once an altar boy and, in the same breath, adds, "And before you ask, the answer is 'No'. I guess I looked like a talker."
- In one issue of Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem investigates one of the president's consultants and learns he is associated with a church that is being used as a meeting for predatory child molesters. He arrives at the said place just in time to save a girl from becoming another victim of the priest who runs it. The Church of Mary Vestal Slut, specifically. Which adds another disturbing layer to the whole shebang, considering the child molesters considered kids "pre-sexual human beings" and wanted to legalize pedophilia.
- The corrupt bishop from V for Vendetta. As part of the government's attempt to hush him up, he is sent a different little girl every Sunday afternoon after the service. V intercepts his usual source and sends Evey, a 16-year-old, dressed as a preteen. When she first arrives, the priest expresses concern that she might be too old for him.
- One of the 15 Portraits of Despair in The Sandman: Endless Nights is about a priest (not explicitly a Catholic priest) who gets booted out of the church, forcing him to start his life over, because he's accused of being one. He isn't, but it makes no difference to the outcome.
- If Garth Ennis happens to write in a priest in one of his stories, chances are that priest is gonna be one, as seen in The Boys, The Punisher Presents Barracuda, and Red Team.
- In Requiem Chevalier Vampire, pure holy water is said to be extremely hard to procure because the Vatican's holy water is extremely contaminated by the sins of its priests, especially their pedophilia.
- Viz had a Jack Black strip where Jack teams up with the local priest to frame someone as a pedophile by planting the priest's supply of child porn on him.
- In Wacky Raceland, Peter Perfect at one point mentions that he used to be an altar boy. Dick Dastardly proceeds to make fun of Peter by making a tasteless joke about him missing the touch of his pastor's hand as well as those hot, sweaty confessional sessions.
- Defied in Sailor Moon Abridged, both in and out of universe. Molly considers taking a shot at the oneshot Catholic priest character but decides it would be too easy.
- Subverted in Anderson Quest: Killing Vampires and Werewolves and Leprechauns, which uses the Hellsing Abridged interpretation. As Anderson lies dying, Alucard actually apologizes for the pedophile jokes, admitting they were uncalled for and got old fast.
- The Harvest Moon oneshot Satan's Bedroom revolves around Carter's attraction towards a younger incarnation of Popuri. He has a less-than-chaste interest in her, but Popuri is oblivious to his lustful feelings.
- Discussed Trope A parish priest implies to it when Vernon went to pick up Harry from the church that he believes this is what he believes Vernon would "make allegations" when he was delving into Harry's abusive home life.
- A deleted scene of In Bruges would have subverted this. Ray assumes that the priest he killed was a pedophile because his boss is protective of children. However, Ken says that he was just opposing their boss' land grab.
- The second X-Files movie, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, has a character like this who was made into a psychic visionary, implied to be done by God to make him atone for his actions.
- In the sequel to Blood Feast, John Waters plays one. As he puts it, "So in other words, typecasting."
- Le souffle au cœur (Murmur of the Heart). Laurent, 14 and a half, is in confession when his priest and teacher make a pass at him. Laurent asks to go back to class. The priest, annoyed, gives him an excessive penance: thirty Hail Marys. The priest seems to have a reputation for making passes at the boys. However, during the private lessons, he later gives a convalescent Laurent nothing much, if anything, happens.
- In Lindsay Anderson's If, a middle-aged chaplain and mathematics teacher at a boys' boarding school seems to take an interest in Jute, a pretty new boy in his class, probably 13 years old. The chaplain is skewered by Anderson's satire, as are most of the adults in the film.
- The Least of These features Father Andre James (Isaiah Washington) being transferred to a small, out-of-the-way boarding school after the disappearance of a former priest. As the movie proceeds, much darker things are revealed in both the cases of the disappeared priest and his own past.*
- In the Spike Lee film Red Hook Summer, a young boy is sent to spend the summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, a local minister. After several weeks of friction, he begins to respect his grandfather and enjoy his church services — until one day, a young man walks into the church and angrily confronts him over having molested him 20-something years ago. That said, there is never a single improper scene between the boy and the man, who insists that he deeply regrets his actions and has spent the past 20 years trying to redeem himself.
- In Airplane II: The Sequel, a priest is seen reading "Altar Boy" magazine. Which has to be read sideways. Later in the movie, the stewardess has to say, "Between your own knees, Father," when instructing passengers to assume crash positions with heads between their knees.
- Nine Dead is about nine people with apparently no connection to each other who are kidnapped, and told that one of them will die every 10 minutes unless they can tell their captor why they are all there. They all come to the conclusion that they all must have directly or indirectly screwed over their captor. One of the kidnapped people is a priest and is questioned over whether or not he molested the captor, which he vehemently denies. The priest is telling the truth and is one of the more sympathetic captives in the film.
- In Storm of the Century, Andre Linoge hints that the local village priest likes children a bit too much.
- Robert DeNiro's character in Sleepers is an inversion. He is a friend and father figure to the four main characters as boys. When they tell him 16 years later about the sexual abuse they suffered in a juvenile correctional facility, he helps them punish the guards responsible.
- Manos: The Hands of Fate: The Master is a cult leader who takes a six-year-old as one of his many brides.
- Spotlight is all about how the Boston Globe went public with the story of how the local Catholic diocese had systematically covered up abuse, to the point of enabling further abuse by priests. Ronald Paquin blithely rationalizes his abuse of children, claiming he didn't get any personal gratification from it. The look on reporter Sacha Pfeiffer's face when he says that has to be seen to be believed. A bit of Artistic License was taken with this scene and the chronology, but Paquin's lines were almost word for word accurate.
- The German film, The Colony (2016), revolves around a young West German woman trying to rescue her boyfriend from Colonia Dignidad, a cult compound set up in a remote part of Chile, run by a German expatriate priest who routinely molests young boys, and preaches that the compound must be sexually segregated because love between a man and woman is wicked and sinful.
- Twist of Faith is a documentary about a Toledo, Ohio firefighter who came out as a victim and pressed charges against the priest who abused him.
- In The Con is On, Peter describes Sidney as a 'pederast priest', although from what is seen, his taste seems to run to (probably) legal teenage boys.
- In The Departed, while discussing Billy Costigan's family background Sgt. Dignam notes that all of the men aside from Billy's father were criminals. Billy points out one of his uncles is a priest, but Dignam replies that he's currently "married to a 12-year-old boy, living on a beach in Thailand."
- V for Vendetta: Bishop Lilliman apparently gets underage girls sent to him regularly. V has Evey pretend to be one so she can distract Lilliman while he kills him. She tries to warn Lilliman of this, but he thinks it's a game and Evey fends him off until V arrives to kill the guy once she's run away.
- The Black Brother in Shrooms is heavily implied to be this. However, the Unreliable Narrator leaves some room for doubt.
- Miss Meadows: One of Miss Meadows' victims is the town's Catholic priest, who sexually abuses one boy on-camera and, according to investigators after his death, has previously accumulated dozens of victims.
- Not an exact example, but in Primal Fear the archbishop, who everyone in the neighborhood trusts and respects, turns out to have preyed on teenagers whom he had taken in off the streets and forced them to have sex with each other on camera. The question of whether or not this could be considered an example comes from the fact he waits until they are of age for them to perform the acts. However, it's treated the same way even if he's not a pedophile.
- In John Doe: Vigilante, John Doe's first victim is a pedophile priest.
- In Juncture, one of vigilante Anna's targets is a pedophile priest whom she attacks in the confessional.
- In Scary Movie 2, a pedophile priest is asked to help exorcist a demonically possessed teen named Megan and he is all too eager to help take advantage of her in her situation. In Scary Movie 3, Cindy Campbell's nephew Cody is heavily implied to being molested by a pedophile priest Cindy hires as a babysitter, as he immediately hides when the priest arrives and the priest says in a creepy tone (once Cindy is out of the house) "Cody...".
- Sleepers: Father Bobby is an inversion. He and the church serve as a heaven for the kids of Hell's Kitchen. Initially in the sense as a reprieve and a career alternative to crime, but later on, as a place to get (illegal) help and solace from sexual abuse.
- In Short Cuts, Lois Kaiser tells her friend Honey Bush that she got a call on her phone sex line from the bishop of her church asking for an incest scenario involving a four-year-old girl. She tells Honey she was disgusted by the idea but went through with it anyway, reasoning that acting out the scenario over the phone made it less likely he would try the real thing.
- A janitor is mopping the church when the priest grabs him. The priest exclaims that he has an important meeting he has to attend and cannot miss, but was scheduled to take confessions instead. The priest shoves a list of sins into the janitor's hands and tells him just listen to the confessions, look up the penance, and tell the confessor how many "Hail Mary"s to say. The janitor doesn't mind helping, and goes into the confessional while the priest grabs his golf clubs and leaves. The people come in, the janitor looks up the sin and says the penance. This goes on just fine for a bit until a man confesses he got a blow job. The janitor checks every page of his instructions — it's not listed. Panicking, the janitor peeks outside of the confessional and sees an altar boy walking past. "Psst! Hey, kid: how much does the priest give for a blow job?" the janitor whispers to the altar boy. The altar boy replies "20 bucks and a candy bar."
- A Baptist pastor, a Catholic priest, a rabbi, and a group of children are on board the Titanic. When the iceberg hits, the pastor yells "save the children!". The Rabbi says "fuck the children!". The priest says "do we have time for that?"
- When the Church of England first admitted women into the priesthood, the inevitable joke was that this allowed choirboys the chance to be molested by a vicar of the opposite sex and was indeed a progressive step forward for the Anglican Church.
- A priest and a rabbi are sitting on a park bench when the priest turns and says "Hey, I have an idea. Let's go out and screw some little boys!" Puzzled, the rabbi replies "...Out of what?"
- This limerick (related by, among others, Stephen Fry on the Series J "Jolly" episode of QI):
There was a young chaplain from King's
Who talked about God and such things
But his real desire
Was a boy in the choir
With a bottom like jelly on springs.
- How NOT to Write a Novel has a notice that characters should be careful not to touch young children in case they come off looking dodgy — "Priests shouldn't even touch a boy to rescue him from a burning building."
- Septon Utt from A Song of Ice and Fire. The fact that he is the only member of the Brave Companions who is even close to sympathetic really says a lot — at least Utt feels guilt over what he does (even if it doesn't stop him) while the rest of the Brave Companions revel in their vileness.
- Padre Pederastia from the Illuminatus! trilogy, at least by name. Not explicitly stated to be interested in young boys. The dialogue indicates that his main interests lie in late teens.
- Jewish example: Carol Matas, best known for her young-adult novels about the Holocaust, wrote The Primrose Path, about a teenage girl sexually abused by her rabbi.
- Padre Damaso from Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tangere can be considered as someone along this line. He is Maria Clara's biological father.
- Father Ralph de Bricassart in The Thorn Birds is a vague example of this. Although nothing happens between him and Meggie until she is in her mid-20s, it is strongly implied that he has had feelings for her since he met her, when he was 28, and she was 10.
- Michael Cordy's novel The Miracle Strain has a priest who rapes teenage girls. They're young enough that it counts as a sex crime all its own in the US, though maybe not in other countries.
- Subverted with Brother Nhumrod from Discworld's Small Gods. Though it's implied that by the strictly literal definition of pedophile he qualifies, after Om accuses him of being a pederast, it's mentioned that while he might occasionally have "disquieting thoughts" in his head, he makes sure they stay in his head rather than him acting on them "and he did not in any literal sense deserve to be called what the tortoise called him, which, had he heard it, he would have thought was something to do with feet". His name, after all, is on one level a reference to impotence...
- Henry de Montherlant's Les Garçons has a priest in his 30s deep in unrequited love with a 14-year-old pupil at the boys' school where he works. The priest's attractions and emotions are directed at boys of around 12-15.
- Roger Peyrefitte's Les amitiés particulières (Special Friendships) is also set in a Jesuit school. One of the teacher-priests seems to fancy 14-year-olds Georges and Lucien, suggesting that they switch pyjamas and the like. Eventually he is caught entertaining one of the boys in his study at night and kicked out of the school. Another of the priest-teachers loves 12-year-old Alexandre and has him sit on his lap.
- The Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Free Fall has the Vigilantes take on a group of pedophiles, and one of them is a deacon, which is not exactly a priest, but pretty darn close. Under the Radar has the Vigilantes take on a polygamist (considered synonymous to "pedophile" in this story) sect in Utah, run by a Prophet named Harold Evanrod. While Harold is probably not supposed to be a priest, he might as well be.
- Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel, The Conformist has Lino, a defrocked priest who attempts to molest 13-year-old Marcello near the beginning of the book.
- The Dresden Files makes mention of modern media's fascination with this trope in Ghost Story when Father Forthill, a dependably and godly priest, asks a young man to crack any jokes relating to this trope so they can move on.
- Father Tom Novak in Rayona's story in A Yellow Raft in Blue Water, who tries to molest her while on a camping trip at Bearpaw Lake State Park. There's some Foreshadowing that this was going to happen given how the Native Americans on the reservation talk about Father Tom and the girls he hangs around with. In Christine's story, he is apparently doing penance for this misdeed by providing Christine with a supply of Percocet pills for her terminal illness.
- In the furry erotic novel A Fox Tail, it's stated that one of Vulpie's foster guardians when he was twelve was an assistant pastor named Vander Clishaw who had a side business as a drug dealer and liked to drug him up and invite some friends over to gang-bang him. Eventually one of Clishaw's rivals alerted Child Services and got him arrested, and after he got out of prison five years later his corpse was found with fourteen different stab wounds. Vulpie is suspected but it's never confirmed.
- Played around with in Skippy Dies. The students assume that Father Green is this, and the fact that he teaches French which makes him "Père Vert" doesn't help. In the end, after his death, everyone agrees to blame him for Skippy's abuse, rather than the swimming coach who's actually responsible. Double Subverted in that Father Green actually does fantasize about molesting children but never acts on it. However, some of his inner monologue implies that he did molest children in Africa when he was there as a missionary.
- Primate Annias from The Elenium was posthumously revealed to be this. It was already known that he'd slept with Princess Arissa and had a child with her, but a mind-reading of one of his associates some time after his death reveals that they first got together when she was only twelve.
- This is the secret of Father Mick Honan in Benjamin Black's Holy Orders, who is attracted to both boys and girls.
- In Jodi Picoult's novel Perfect Match, the main character's five-year-old son is molested by a Catholic priest.
- In The Kid, the protagonist is molested by two of these at the catholic orphanage he lives in. It's implied the only reason he even ended up there is that one of them took a liking to him.
- Implied in Arrested Development. George Michael's Fundamentalist girlfriend Ann holds a music burning party where the only adult is her pastor, who's shown encouraging two boys to feel his biceps.
- The Atheist Experience (and The Non-Prophets podcast) regularly criticizes Catholic priests and Protestant ministers for this behavior.
- Blue Bloods
- Referenced in an episode dealing with abuse of designer drugs by students at a Catholic school. After the headmaster stonewalls Danny and Jackie's request to search the school with drug-sniffing dogs, Frank goes to the bishop to get the headmaster overruled. Among Frank's lines in that scene is one that goes something like, "The Catholic Church cannot be seen covering up another scandal."
- Another episode has Danny trying to locate a priest who he suspects of this. When the parish finally decides to let him talk to the priest, he turns out to be an exorcist instead; the runaround is explained by the church not wanting to publicize the fact that they still do exorcisms. Danny apologizes.
- While not pedophilia, one episode features a similar scenario where a priest is accused by a woman of raping her. Though she has paranoid delusions and thus lacks credibility, they move him anyway to avoid more scandal along these lines.
- The subject of several Blue Heelers episodes, to the point where if a newly introduced member of the church appears (outside regular characters like Brian Heggity and Grace Curtis), odds are they are either abused or abusers.
- One episode of Bones features a priest who was killed because he was suspected of being one of these (he wasn't). The murderer was caught in the process of poisoning his successor at the pulpit (he's innocent too).
- A suspected one was the victim of a vigilante in the Criminal Minds episode "A Real Rain".
- Subverted in an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. When a girl goes missing after her parents' murder, suspicion falls on a criminal-turned-pastor with a video tape with the girl's name on it. The video turns out to be that of the pastor attempting to exorcise the delinquent girl. The girl was also responsible for her parents' deaths, and the pastor eventually kills her as a last resort to save her soul.
- Dateline's most popular show back in the day, "To Catch a Predator", has had a number of pedophile priests and preachers among the predators that Chris Hansen has taken down.
- Dexter kills one of these guys in the very first episode of the series, a pastor and choir conductor who raped and murdered three young boys.
- Father Ted:
- Surprisingly, mostly averted in in this series. Still mentioned a few times, though. Father Jack once made a class of teenage girls in Catholic School do P.E. without their tracksuit tops, however. His horrific molester-face whilst this goes on is clearly meant to invoke this trope. He does shout "GIRLS!!", among other things, in his alcoholic fugues...
- Ted does address the issue at one point, to hilarious effect; "This whole pedophile priests thing is all out of proportion. If there are 200 million priests in the world and 5% are pedophiles......" *cue look of hilarious horror*
- Frontline has had a few episodes about pedophiles in the clergy, among them the 1994 episode "Judge And Jury", which revolves around a young woman who accuses her parish priest of raping her. Frontline runs the story with a rebuttal from the priest, but edits it in such a way that it makes him look unreliable. The priest ends up killing himself offscreen, and when Frontline interviews the woman again, she quickly destroys her own credibility by claiming to have been abducted by aliens.
- Subverted on an episode of House. The priest has been moved around frequently after a boy accused him of molesting him (causing the priest to lose his faith), but later the boy apologizes for falsely accusing him.
- One appears in Season 15 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He's portrayed oddly sympathetically, in that he knows that acting on his urges is wrong, and specifically joined the church both to strengthen his will and to understand why God would make him this way. However, it's also implied that he keeps a rather illicit Porn Stash in a box in his room.
- Gotham: The third person to be killed by "The Balloonman" was a man called Cardinal Quinn who was also known on the street as the "Diddling Priest" because of multiple accusations of sexual abuse.
- Interview with the Vampire (2022): Lampshaded by Lestat in "...After the Phantoms of Your Former Self" when he says the two priests he had killed won't be missed because people will just assume they molested children.
Lestat: A couple of parish priests go missing, people say, "Fine, most likely kid-fiddlers."
- Surprisingly few episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but enough. Although, when it happens, it's usually of the "Church is lousy with pedophiles" variety. One episode features a priest who murdered a transgender hooker; it is quickly determined that he was molested by a priest. They find two pedophile priests in his church, and another victim molested by a different priest.
- The Law & Order episode where Logan inspected rumors about his old priest after a fellow former parishioner killed himself. It's heavily implied that Logan himself was a victim of that priest; at the very least, according to what he tells Cragen, the priest made an attempt (the phrasing is a bit ambiguous). In the Law & Order: UK episode based on that episode, DS Matt Devlin (Logan's Expy) admits to several incidents that clearly made him uncomfortable—"He was always lurking around, watching me", but appears genuinely unsure if the guy ever touched him.
- Misfits references this, and actually has one of the characters announce: "When I was growing up in Ireland, if the priests weren't fiddling with you, you were one of the ugly kids." Although said character is notoriously prone to making ridiculous, insensitive, and untrue statements, so it's probably best to take his words with a large grain of salt.
- A few months after the 2006 documentary film Deliver Us From Evil was released, a reporter and camera crew from BBC documentary series Panorama caught up with the pedophile priest profiled in the movie. Following his deportation from the United States, he was shown trying to get close to children yet again, all without the knowledge of the locals of his previous conviction for child molestation. According to The Other Wiki, a few weeks after the episode ran, he slipped out of Ireland. He turned up in The Netherlands in 2010 volunteering at a local parish under a pseudonym. A few months after that, he was found in Ireland to have kiddie porn on his laptop and several storage devices. In 2012 he was sentenced to just three years in prison for it.
- Rampant pedophilia in the Catholic Church made Bobby Donnell of The Practice turn his back on the Catholic faith.
- Grace's backstory in Saving Grace features one of these.
- Father Ralph de Bricassart in The Thorn Birds is a vague example of this, as mentioned in the Literature example above.
- Ultraviolet (1998). In the episode "Mea Culpa", a 12-year-old boy kills a priest and the team is sent to investigate if the killing is vampire-related. The priest in charge of the team, Pearse Harman, gets annoyed when ex-cop Michael Colefield thinks it's child abuse-related, Lampshading the pedophile Catholic priest cliché. Subverted at the end when it turns out the priest was innocent and vampires were involved, yet Harman cynically allows the public to believe the priest was a pedophile to maintain the Masquerade.
- An episode of the sitcom The War at Home had the youngest son convinced that the local priest was a pedophile, so he attempts to seduce him so he can report him to the cops.
- Played straight in an early episode when a priest convicted for pedophilia is unable to find anyone who will put him up while on parole, so he has to return to prison. Father Ray Mukada at first doesn't want anything to do with him, but he ends up trying to get his church to help — they refuse for PR reasons. The ex-priest ends up being nailed to the floor by the Aryan Brotherhood. This priest also turned himself in to the police and confessed.
- Subverted when Ryan O'Reilly tells his Catholic priest cellmate that he was molested by a priest as a child. "There are some bad priests...", the priest starts, but O'Reilly interrupts him and tells him he was just messing with him.
- Long before the scandal broke, Irish comedian Dave Allen (a lifelong critic of the Church in Ireland) performed a sketch where he played a priest exorcising a young girl. Allen commands the demon to begone and to depart to a place more suited to it. The girl blinks and says "Father, it's gone! I'm free!" Then she looks up in horror as she realizes from the priest's satanic laughter and contorted facial expression that the demon indeed has gone to a more suitable occupant — the priest. Who then reaches for the girl with this look on his face that tells us exactly what he wants to do to her. The sketch ends with him chasing the girl down the nave of the church...
- The Fall (2013): Spector spent time in a children's home run by one, but claims to have avoided being molested. The (now former) priest is completely unrepentant of his crimes when questioned.
- True Blood: One mini-episode sees a creepy old pastor try to hit on Jessica Hamby. Of course, he constantly denigrates her by calling her a "whore". Jessica bares her fangs, makes him admit he's married, then tells him to go back to his wife and have sex with her like it's his first time. Finally, Jessica makes him leave the bar, but not before she makes him shout "I'M A BIG FUCKING PERVERT WITH A BIG BONER FOR JESUS!"
- On Supernatural, Sam and Dean investigate a Demonic Possession report and encounter Crowley disguised as a Catholic priest investigating the same report (to see if it's one of the demons that serve him). When the Muggle who owns the house asks how they know each other, "Father" Crowley says that Dean used to be a "delicious" choir boy. He later implies that paedophilia is actually pretty tame compared to what some actual priests are into.
- Cold Case:
- The Protestant variety shows up on the episode "That Woman". When a high school student confesses to her youth minister (the leader of her chastity club, ironically) that she's having sexual fantasies about him, he encourages her to sit and tell them to him, with her back turned to spare her embarrassment. His tone of voice as he listens to her makes it obvious that he's enjoying himself.
- The trope was both subverted and exploited in "Glued", when the team was investigating the death of an 8-year-old boy in a Catholic neighborhood and realized that the killer had confessed the murder to a priest. They brought the main suspect and the priest to headquarters and told the suspect that the priest had left the Church in protest of the pedophile cases and was no longer under the vow to keep silent. This made the suspect panic and confess himself.
- Inverted in Fleabag. The Priest is not a paedophile, but his (non-Catholic) brother is.
"I'm aware of the irony."
- This is one of several red herrings in the Without a Trace episode "Revelations" as the team searches for a missing priest. They learn that a parishioner had angrily told him to "stay away from my son!", but it turns out that she was having an affair with a fellow priest and that her distraught son had confided in him.
- Nip/Tuck features one in a memorable role. Sean and Christian operate to remove a large birthmark from a patient's penis, with his excuse being that it made his fiancee uncomfortable. Later they see a news report, which shows a local Catholic priest (the patient, who'd been using a fake name and accent with the doctors) has been exonerated of molesting multiple boys at the church after an examination from the court showed no birthmark, which had been a key part of the boys' testimony. Horrified, the doctors attempt to report their work to the police, but cannot do so directly because of their own skeletons in the closet, and their anonymous tip falls through. Christian, who was sexually abused as a child, takes the revelation particularly hard and ends up cornering the priest in the confessional with a scalpel and threatening to murder him if he doesn't confess to the police. He does.
- In 30 Rock Reverend Gary, the leader of the Cult that Kenneth is part of, is obviously attracted to teenage boys.
- Peaky Blinders: Michael Gray (son of the Shelby Brothers' Aunt Polly) was taken from his mother and put in a Catholic boys' home at the age of six. He was later taken in by an apparently loving or at least caring family in the countryside, but while that was pending one of the priests, Father Hughes, raped him. Nearly 20 years later, Father Hughes reappears in various dealings with the Shelby Company, leading to his death at Michael’s hands in a company-approved hit (Tommy Shelby having business reasons to be rid of the creep).
- In the Son of a Critch episode "Father Critch", Mark declares his intention to enter the priesthood, blissfully unaware that the local priests have all been caught up in the Mount Cashel Orphanage scandal, up until his intended mentor suddenly resigns.
- "Priest", by Stephen Lynch, is a song of a priest barely trying to resist his urges toward one of the altar boys.
- "Halleluja" in contrast to "Priest" above, is about a priest not trying to resist his urges.
- "Rosenrot" may count too, at least the video. Well technically will be a hebephile as the girl is in her middle to late teens, but is still invoking the trope. The girl's actress, Cătălina Lavric, was 14 at the time which caused certain controversy then (as Rammstein videos normally do).
- Tim Minchin:
- In the very cuss-laden "Pope Song", Minchin takes aim at then-Pope Benedict XVI, who allegedly covered for priests that molested kids back when he was still a cardinal, and calls him no better than the priests in question because of this.
- "Come Home (Cardinal Pell)" is a direct appeal/accusation to one of the priests alleged to have covered up abuse to face a court in Australia. It references Gerald Risdale, Pell's former flatmate and one of the most prolific abusers. The money from the sale of that song was used to fly victims to Rome so they could be physically present when Pell gave his evidence via video link.
- Sinéad O'Connor has campaigned for years about exposing pedophilia in the Catholic Church and often incorporates the fight into her music and performances.
- Apocalyptica's I'm Not Jesus is an angry song from the perspective of an ex-victim of one of these.
I thought you were a good man
I thought you talked to God
You hypocritic, messianic, child-abusing turned satanic!
Do you remember me?
Do you remember me?
The kid I used to be?
- "God Has a Plan for Us All" by Angtoria.
- Crying For The Moon by Epica.
- "Devil in a Midnight Mass" by Canadian band Billy Talent was inspired by Fr. John Geoghan, a particularly infamous example. According to writer and frontman Ben Kowalewicz in a MuchMusic interview:
[The song] came from a story I read about Boston priest John Geoghan who had been arrested for child abuse and the church kept moving him from parish to parish. The Supreme Court tried and convicted him of molesting 150 kids over a 30-year span and while he was serving his sentence another inmate broke into his cell and murdered him. I stumble upon these stories, they don't necessarily have to be directly personal but it's things like this that move me. I'm a big advocate for children's rights and this song looks at sexual abuse. It's not against the church or anything, it's more about that individual betrayal between adult and child. I don't have the answers but hopefully, if I sing about a certain issue it will get people talking about it.
- Preacher Man by Inkubus Sukkubus.
- Pope on a Rope by The Meatmen (though only one verse refers to it).
- Bad Religion:
- "Sinister Rogue" contains a mention of this, among other attacks on the Catholic church.
- The first verse of "Victory": "The velveteen and oaken fixtures soothed the lonely child/The parents watched the escort take him while they stood outside/The priest was kind and gentle as he positioned his head/The pain was like brimstone but the kid hardly bled"
- In the Insane Clown Posse song "C.P.K's" (Crooked Preacha Killas), this is stated as one of many evil acts that the titular "Crooked Preachas" commit (including drug use, corruption of faith, and even Demonic Possession). This being the Hell's Pit album, however, it is up to debate whether or not the preachers actually did anything they were accused of, or if it's just The Witch deceiving the Clowns into killing holy men in order to further damn them.
- Pope Rap by Trevor Moore (of The Whitest Kids U' Know) mentions this among many, many of the alleged atrocities the Catholic Church has committed.
- Briefly referred to in The Pixies' "Bone Machine":
I was talking to preachy-preach about kissy-kiss,
He bought me a soda
He bought me a soda
He bought me a soda and he tried to molest me in the parking lot. Yup-yup-yup!
- Another Irish Drinking Song by Da Vinci's Notebook:
And dear old Father Flanagan, who left the Lord's employ
Drunk on sacramental wine, beneath the altar boy.
- The Slash & Myles Kennedy song The Unholy likewise deals with pedophile priests in its lyrics.
How they cry
They only gave you heart and mind
How can you justify?
They loved you
You took them like a sacrifice
We finally know the truth about you
- Nekroi Theoi's "Simony of Hollow Christs" is about sexually predatory youth pastors using their positions to groom young churchgoers.
- In the music video for Eminem's "Role Model", Eminem plays a corrupt priest who invites a little boy into his bedroom.
- GWAR gives us Father Bohab: a big-headed, bible-thumping priest who chases after the band as much as he chases after kids.
- Les Guignols de l'Info:
- In this French satiric puppet show, Cardinal Sylvestre and just about any Catholic priest shown (except the Pope) are portrayed as this. Comedic variant, of course. There is one skit were the Popemobile is used to isolate the choirboys from a flock of such priests, forcing the Pope and his cardinals to walk beside.
Cardinal Sylvestre: We should speed up, the reinforced glass isn't going to last much longer.
- There's also a skit where Frank Martin has to escort a bunch of altar boys back home after the Sunday mass in his car, with various lecherous clergymen charging to get them and getting the crap beaten out of them by Frank as a result. The Final Boss happens to be Pope Benedict XVI's brother, and he's treated as The Brute.
- In this French satiric puppet show, Cardinal Sylvestre and just about any Catholic priest shown (except the Pope) are portrayed as this. Comedic variant, of course. There is one skit were the Popemobile is used to isolate the choirboys from a flock of such priests, forcing the Pope and his cardinals to walk beside.
- Given how Darker and Edgier White Wolf tends to be, this is surprisingly averted in Hunter: The Vigil with the head of the Inquisition. He's outrageously corrupt in other ways, such as being addicted to vampire blood, and having a platonic relationship with Satan's daughter, and is in fact homosexual, but while he does like them young (being Really 700 Years Old, they have to be), he instead likes them legal, consenting, and... pitching.
- It was played straight in the Werewolf: The Apocalypse supplements that mentioned the Seventh Generation, a conspiracy of child molesters and serial killers, and which explicitly included priests (as well as politicians and business leaders) among its members.
- The parody game HoL has one as one of the game's pre-generated characters as part of its whole Vulgar Humor atmosphere.
- The Bishop of Basingstoke in Jekyll & Hyde (who is Anglican rather than Catholic).
- The play Doubt (and the movie adapted from it) centers on the efforts of an old-school nun to remove a progressive priest from the Catholic school she runs, on the grounds that he is (she believes) a pedophile. Although the final scenes imply that she was correct, she is now plagued with doubts about her own less-than-pure motives and methodology.
- Implied in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. One of the town criers' announcements is a citywide ban of the song about "The Little Boy of Prussia" since minstrels singing it have caused "embarrassing physical juttings" for priests wandering through town who hear it.
- Father Paul Rawlings in Clive Barker's Jericho is called this by SS-Commander Fräulein Hanne Lichthammer. This is never elaborated upon, but as a powerful psychic, Lichthammer has access to a person's darkest secrets (like Church's Rape as Backstory).
- Lampshaded in The Darkness II, where Jackie begins to recount a story about a priest he knew as a kid and adding "I know what you're thinkin' and it ain't that kinda story."
- In Drakengard, party member Leonard is a priest who survived the massacre of his "brothers" when he was off having some alone time in the woods to deal with his urges. This was heavily Bowdlerised for the English release, though Leonard still gulps nervously when the six-year-old Seere hugs him, and the sequel mentions the priest's "certain antisocial tendency." Despite this, Leonard remains one of the most heroic characters in the party... which isn't difficult when he's competing with the likes of Caim or Arioch, but still.
- In Outlast II, exposure to the Morphogenic Engine slowly causes Blake's Repressed Memories of his dead childhood friend Jessica to bubble to the surface; he's spent his adult life believing that she killed herself due to living in a broken home, and relied on memories of her suicide note and hung body to back it up, but he eventually remembers that he witnessed her be pushed down a flight of stairs and unintentionally killed by their Catholic school's priest, who was sexually abusing her, and he forced Blake to keep quiet about it and go along with her staged suicide.
- One of the villains in Maken X is a thinly-veiled reference to the historical Gilles de Rais, a companion of Joan of Arc's who eventually descended into madness, complete with raping young boys and then sacrificing them to a demon he believed in. He's fought in the Vatican, which he had infiltrated and joined the upper echelons of the church. He's now immortal and looks positively angelic, complete with wings.
- Implied in Medieval II: Total War when a Priest picks up the Choir Boy follower ("This boy's beautiful voice is a gift from God! One I must keep close by at all times..."). Such a character will gain a bonus to Piety, but a penalty to Purity.
- Operation: Pedopriest by Molleindustria, a political Web Game inspired by Sex Crimes and the Vatican, that has the Villain Protagonist try to protect pedophile priests from the police and media.
- In the Reincarnation (2008) game, The Clergy of Unholy, the demon protagonist, whose job it is to track down Reincarnies (those that have Escaped from Hell and reincarnated on earth) and send them back to Hell, takes on a Reincarny who turns out to be one of these. When the demon discovers a drugged-up altar boy in Saul's bedroom while searching through his church, it provides all the proof that the demon needs to send Saul back to Hell.
- Father Donald from Rides With Strangers will freely admit that he rapes, tortures, and kills little boys if you ask him what the worst thing he ever did was. That doesn't stop him from presumably killing the protagonist if you lose, though.
- In South Park: The Fractured but Whole, the protagonist is attacked by two of these while he enters a storage room at the church to meditate. They serve mostly as a tutorial for telegraphed attacks, as they have moves that cause heavy damage (and Grossed Out status) but take a turn to charge and are easy to dodge. Oh, and one of them uses a rosary that doubles as anal beads as a whip.
- In Varicella, Pierre Bonflèche, the Christ Minister of Piedmont and one of Varicella's rivals for the position as Regent, turns out to regularly sexually abuse the five-year-old Prince Charles. In order to get rid of him, you need to present evidence of his deeds to someone willing and able to put a stop to him.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, mentioned in a strip.
- Exploitation Now: When picking up Bimbo's sister Bush from the nunnery, Ralph wandered off for a bit and came back looking disheveled. One of the girls' theories as to how that happened was that a near-sighted priest lost his glasses and mistook for a choir boy.
- Unsounded: Murkoph makes a joke about kids not being safe with holy men, as he tries to grab Sette from Duane so he can eat her.
- Louis CK goes all-out with this trope.
- The website Apocalypse Cartoons features a NSFW animated web series titled Father Tucker, which is about a priest who constantly molests children and hardly ever faces any punishment for it. He takes this to the extreme, raping not only children but also infants. One episode reveals that he is the most prolific pedophile in the history of mankind, with 6,473,210 counts of pedophilia.
- Shane Dawson: Shanaynay's interview with Lucas Cruikshank gives us this:
Lucas: I never masturbate because I'm Catholic.
Shanaynay: Oh so you only do it with... a priest, I gotchya'.
- In the Counter Monkey episode "Shadowrun: The Code", Spoony describes a game of Vampire: The Masquerade he ran where he banned the Malkavians, the Chaotic Stupid vampire clan. One player who had wanted to play a Malkavian responded by making a vampire who was effectively thisnote ; Spoony told him to get the fuck out of his game, especially when the guy insisted that he really did want to play the character and wasn't just trying to be edgy.
- Hellsing Abridged:
- The show makes jokes about the Catholic Church pedophile scandals, usually in the form of Alucard mockingly accusing members of Iscariot (primarily either Father Anderson or Bishop Maxwell) of pedophilia.
- When cornered by Anderson, Seras considers trying to seduce him but fears it won't work because she isn't a little boy.
- The episode 4 preview has Maxwell interrogating a member of the Vatican who has been selling information to Millennium. Maxwell assumes the priest was motivated by promises of immortality, as Millennium's other agents were, but it turns out that in addition to that, he was bribed with little boys to have his way with. The priest does not survive, having his brains blown out by Heinkel soon after the interrogation is over.
Priest: Oh, but I had no choice! They made it impossible to say no!Maxwell: Oh, who could resist the temptation of immortality?Priest: ...amongst other things...Maxwell: Oh, they didn't. What, did they just drive a truck of them up to your house?!Priest: [stammering wordlessly]Maxwell: Wow.
- During the episode of Berserk Abridged where it looked like they switched to doing Hellsing, Alucard makes a zing about this to the vampire holding Seras hostage. The two then debate if it was too much before Zodd showed up and began asking what happened to his usual show.
- Che Guevara uses this as a diss against Guy Fawkes in Epic Rap Battles of History:
[What I'm fighting for] sucks? Guy, you died for the Catholics
A group with a bad touching little boys habit!
- In American Dad!, Stan admits to being molested by a priest in summer camp, but then amends it to him seducing the priest, before confessing outright that he just molested the poor man, with the flashback showing a fearful pastor falling towards Stan's eager arms. Although he also mentions he didn't actually have sex with him.
- Daria has a non-Catholic example with the minister at Erin's wedding, who spends most of the reception talking with teenage Quinn about how important "love" is. She doesn't seem to understand what he means; her escort does and tries to kick the minister's ass.
- Parodied in Drawn Together when all characters were making an inscenization of what can happen if Xandir tells his parents about being gay. Wooldoor was playing a pedo priest.
Wooldoor: So, you want to be an altar boy?Boy: No I don't! You took me from the playground!Wooldoor: GOD took you from the playground!!
- Family Guy:
- Peter at one point comments that they're going to keep drinking until they've brought up repressed memories of being molested by a priest. Only Cleveland is shown to have recovered.
- In a Cutaway Gag, in which Peter says that he will be "as quiet as a church mouse", we see a mouse priest asking a member of his choir to attend a "party" with him at the rectory.
- Implied in one episode, where Lois is shunned by the church for having done porn in the past. When a priest publicly denounces her over having "made a porn", Lois stops her pleading to correct his grammar, saying it's supposed to be "made porn" or "made a porno". When the priest exclaims "Oh God! Have I been saying it wrong this whole time?", two altar boys nod in affirmation.
- Implied once more in the episode "Pawtucket Pat", when Peter objects to the statue of Pawtucket Pat being taken down in light of the revelation that he was a racist who killed the Native Americans who actually created Pawtucket Patriot Ale while taking the credit for brewing it.
Peter: Pat's an icon. That statue belongs right here in the park, next to the statue of Quahog's greatest missionary, Father Touchboys.
Girl: That statue was removed a year ago.
Peter: For what?!
- South Park:
- The episode "Red Hot Catholic Love" shows local priest Father Maxi as just about the only non-pedophile priest in the entire Catholic Church. (He has been shown makin' it with at least one adult female parishioner though as well as Cartman's mom.) Then again, Father Maxi is in a different place on the corruption spectrum in pretty much every episode in which he appears.
- In "Hell on Earth 2006," all the Catholic priests are shown leading around naked boys on leashes. No one appears to notice or care even when they are in public.
- And then there's "A Boy And A Priest" wherein Father Maxi considers leaving the priesthood because of the residents' constant mockery, despite having never done such things. He eventually decides to stay because if he leaves, another actual pedophile priest might take his place, since the church only moves the abusers around, as opposed to removing them entirely.
- Subverted for Black Comedy in the Xavier: Renegade Angel episode "Vibracaust", where Xavier sees a priest walking with a boy and assumes that the priest has molested the boy. As soon as Xavier is beaten and chased away by the priest, it turns out that the boy is actually the one molesting the priest.
- One of the Paedofinder General segments in Monkey Dust ends with a priest walking away while expressing relief that the Pedofinder General did not suspect him of being a paedophile.