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Not everyone actually practices what He preaches.

"By killing her I took her physical life, but saved her life eternal. You see how all things serve the will and the mind of God? You see, you meddling little shit?!"
Reverend Lester Lowe, Silver Bullet (1985)
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Men of the cloth serve a plethora of roles in all branches of media, both modern and ancient. They may be wise counselors, corrupt bureaucrats or confused and bumbling but generally well-intentioned old duffers. But every once in a while, a preacher crops up who is intimidating, charismatic and completely devoid of morality. These archetypal villains typically serve as the Big Bad in their respective worlds, controlling vast hordes of starry-eyed True Believers or manipulating the inner workings of their Church. He is often a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant clergyman, but there's nothing saying he can't not be a white Anglo-Saxon and there's definitely nothing saying he can't be a Catholic (especially if the setting is in the Middle Ages), and is clean-cut and perpetually smiling while delivering sermons that alternate between gentle reminders of the importance of virtue and scalding fire-and-brimstone rants commanding their followers to rise and smite heathens in the name of the Lord, amen.

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The Sinister Minister is a one-man Corrupt Church (and it's usually a man in this role, though female examples are not unheard of) in that all power typically ends up resting firmly in his hands and his hands alone as opposed to being shared out within an organization. He seldom employs Sidekicks or advisors, preferring to rely instead on his own usually very devious brain for scheming while entrusting the main grunt work to the hordes of unwashed and sanctimonious Mooks who make up the bulk of his followers.

Usually well-educated and cultured, the Sinister Minister is nonetheless unspeakably evil and regularly engages in acts of sexual depravity (or perhaps not; many a Sinister Minister is Straight Edge) and, if not outright violence, threats and intimidation. Or, he may even be an Enlightened Antagonist who feels one with faith. The Sinister Minister usually keeps his own hands relatively clean until late in the game when his power base is secure and he can act with impunity.

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There are typically two types of Sinister Minister. The first type is subtle and deceptive, using soft words and a friendly attitude to gain trust among his congregation; in this way, he's much like any other man of the cloth, but his true motives are anything but typical, taking advantage of that trust once he has it. The second type is far less subtle, using scare tactics in the form of fiery sermons to convince people that God is a vengeful Creator who will not hesitate to condemn "heretics" (a favorite word this villain has for anyone who disagrees with him) to the pits of Hell or even smite the world early unless they follow what he calls his ideal path. It's amazing how well this can draw people in, and if the Sinister Minister does it enough, even he might start to believe it.

The motivations of the Sinister Minister may be as simple as lust for power, though some are examples of the Church Militant and Knight Templar. A common motivation for the more religious among this trope's subjects is the Mission from God, which is often either a personal delusion on the part of the Minister or in reality a mission from a Satanic or otherwise Evil divine power. In the case of those simply out for their own gain, the Minister may be skeptical as to God's existence/power or harbor outright atheistic views.

If there is a Good Shepherd in the series, then the two are usually enemies. However, if the Good Shepherd is a Horrible Judge of Character then he might actually be a supporter of the Sinister Minister (at least until he discovers the truth).

Unmasking the Sinister Minister is a waste of time, as his followers will believe any lies and fabrications the Minister employs as a cover against the brave heroes attempting to reveal him for the monster he really is. This particular school of villainy usually meets its end violently, not through rhetoric.

The Corrupt Church tends to be rife with the likes of him, but the Saintly Church may also prove to have a few black sheep.

Not to Be Confused with high level government officials — if they're a villain, they'd fall under Evil Chancellor. Also not to be confused with any high-ranking worshippers of a Religion of Evil; this Trope is for corrupt members of established and (hopefully) respected faiths.

Contrast Nun Too Holy, a trope about genuinely good members of the clergy who somehow continue to hold their offices despite being hugely obnoxious or depraved, in a lovable way. If the villain is merely pretending to be a priest or nun, then that's Bad Habits. If at least one of the things that makes the minister "sinister" is that fact that he molests children, then you're dealing with a Pedophile Priest. One who pretends to have healing powers is a Fake Faith Healer. For a priest that is simply a lecher, see Dirty Old Monk. See also the Churchgoing Villain, who does not necessarily have to be a religious leader. Super-trope to Evil Jesuit.

In terms of rank, the Authority Tropes arguably equal are Corrupt Corporate Executive, Irish Priest, Preacher Man, Pedophile Priest, Schoolteachers, Sexy Priest and The Vicar. For the next step down, see Student Council President. For the next step up, see Dean Bitterman.

The trope name was also a name (and gimmick) used by professional wrestling manager James Mitchell, as well as a song by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. Contrast Good Shepherd, Badass Preacher.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pastor Nick and the other higher-ranking members of the Church of the Wall, from Attack on Titan. At their best, they are Obstructive Bureaucrats that block military efforts to improve the Walls' defenses. They are also members of the Government Conspiracy, helping to keep the populace in ignorance under the guise of being a religious cult. Nick turns out to have a good heart beneath it all, and gives what little aid he can to the Survey Corps by revealing Krista's true identity to them. He's tortured and murdered for his betrayal.
  • Bishop and High Inquisitor Mozgus of Berserk is an Obliviously Evil Knight Templar version, who sincerely believes that rounding people up under dubious accusations of heresy and gruesomely torturing them to death to extract confessions and repentance is his divinely sanctioned mission. As a matter of fact there are evil heretics among the refugees in St. Albion who practice cannibalism and demon worship, but his punishment falls equally on those whose only crime was having the temerity to protest against his insane witch hunt.
  • Lucas Langeais of Bokura no Kiseki. He's the only priest besides the Bishop whose Reincarnation in the main plotline has yet to be revealed, and yet he's already been set up as a villain. Teshimano has memories of Lucas attacking Veronica during the Moswickian invasion, and Lucas's reincarnation is the prime suspect for the attack on Kamioka. Not to mention, when he first appears in a flashback, there is something just not right about him.
  • The Cardinal Rolo vi Britannia in Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally has shades of this. While the Geass Directorate/Cult was not explicitly religious in the original series, it was much more so in the manga, with Emperor Charles declaring a religious state at the climax. The Cardinal serves as the mouthpiece for the religion throughout, and plans to kill Nunnally, Charles, and Lelouch to become the Demon King.
  • Father Cornello from Fullmetal Alchemist. Using alchemy and a philosopher's stone, he managed to pretend to be a miracle-worker and essentially establish himself as the leader of a theocratic government in the city of Liore. It was eventually revealed that he was himself being manipulated by the homunculi to create a 'blood seal' by using his influence over the people to kick off a bloody conflict.
  • Father Enrico Maxwell from Hellsing, the leader of the Iscariot Organization, definitely qualifies, being both a self-serving hypocrite and a ruthless Knight Templar. He thankfully never gets contact with regular churchgoers, though.
    • Alexander Anderson, a Knight Templar Up to Eleven, puts Maxwell down after he finally goes too far. That has to say something.
    • An earlier example in the series is the unnamed vampire priest terrorising the village of Cheddar. No other character looks (or sounds) more overtly villainous in the entire series.
  • Father Enrico Pucci from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean is a priest who works at a prison and uses his status and special ability to gain many of the guards and prisoners as followers and allies via his Stand ability. It is revealed later that he set up the protagonist, Jolyne, to get framed at the beginning of Stone Ocean. His ultimate goal was to achieve the power of "Heaven" and create the vampire Dio's perfect universe "for the good of mankind".
  • Ali Al-Saachez of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 adopts the identity of a Muslim imam in order to trick children into joining his army. Ali himself is an atheist and a mercenary who's doing it for the money. And for fun.
  • Patema Inverted: Izamura's reign has religious overtones, as he's the only one in the Agian government to dress in clerical robes and rails against the inverts as being "sinners". He is also so Obviously Evil that it's a wonder how anyone can possibly think his intentions are good ones. The man is batshit insane, high on his own power, and clearly self-serving. He even ordered the death of Age's father, for having contacted a member of the "inverts" and daring to want to explore the sky. Then had Lagos captured and killed and keeps his dead body preserved in a stasis chamber. Thankfully, he meets a karmic end.
  • Donato Porpora from Tokyo Ghoul, a Catholic Priest that ran an orphanage. While beloved by the children, in reality he would use their "adoptions" to cover up murdering and eating them. When his adopted son discovered the truth, he abandoned the ruse and went on to become an infamous killer of children and Ghoul Investigators before being captured. As a prisoner in Cochlea, he serves as an informant and offers priestly counsel to Haise about his emotional problems. After his escape, he resumes wearing the robes and even wields a kagune formed from crosses.
  • Witch Hunter Robin first subverts and then defies this trope. First the Inquistioner is more of an official than a minister and less 'sinister' than 'playing bad cop' to find potential new hunters. Second is Father Juliano, Robin's foster father and grandfather, who tried to be this trope, but raising Robin mellowed him out. She's actually harder on herself than he is on her. Instead of condemning her, he blesses her.

    Comic Books 
  • In Alias's "Rebecca, Come Home" arc, Jessica goes out to a small town in upstate New York to track down a missing girl and runs into your average fundie bigot pastor at the local church. This being Marvel, he's anti-mutant, justifying it by the fact that the word doesn't appear anywhere in The Bible, ergo God didn't create mutants, ergo they're an evil of man. Jessica chews him out because the girl reportedly claimed she was a mutant and because, in her view, religion is supposed to be about improving ourselves. He actually has no direct connection to the girl's disappearance, though: she's not a mutant, she's a lesbian and ran away to get away from her crappy right-wing hometown and be with her girlfriend.
  • The Deacon from Astro City is the undisputed boss of all organized crime throughout the city (though he's just a mobster who adopted the "deacon" name for color). This is balanced by his greatest enemy, the Confessor, not only also being religiously themed, but actually being a real priest.
  • Batman:
    • Deacon Blackfire from Batman: The Cult. Abducts the homeless, uses torture to brainwash them, practices Human Sacrifice, and came close to psychologically breaking Batman himself. Might also be an immortal who predates the arrival of Christianity on the American continent, it's unclear.
    • Batman also encounters these if he's dealing with the Order of St. Dumas (Azrael himself tends not to count, traditionally being an Anti-Hero).
  • Serial Killer the Reverend Taylor Stone in Before Watchmen: Nite-Owl.
  • The main villain of the graphic novel Bikini Cowboy is Father Graves, a priest who wants to kill Whisky Jill because he doesn't approve of her lifestyle.
  • Oh Father in The Boys. A Scary Black Man, Pedophile Priest at a megachurch, and a superhero (in name only) who was one of the first to join Homelander's coup attempt against the United States government.
  • One the characters created during the Bloodlines Crisis Crossover event in The DCU was Cardinal Sin; a disillusioned priest who gained superpowers and became a villain after being bitten by an alien space parasite. He has not reappeared since the original event. (Presumably he is not to be confused with the real-life Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila.)
  • In Dead Irons, Devin Irons is the utter personification of this trope. This false priest is so reprehensible that he makes Buffy's Caleb look like a wannabe sinister minister sissy. Not only did he sell the souls of his own four children, turning them into the vicious unholy beasts they are today, for the power to control men's minds; he planned to create an even larger sacrifice to gain immortality from the Plague Bringer Demon by forcing the death of 99 innocent "willing" victims. However, he needed his rogue children to complete the pact. So what does he do? He uses the dark arts to resurrect his own wife, now a mockery of life in the guise of a flesh eating ghoul, as a method of pulling the Iron children's heartstrings and luring them back to his cursed town. Did I also mention he was responsible for the death of the hero's father figure, Jonas Keegan, after he came to confront the twisted preacher for tying his son to a statue, bloody and beaten, with the word "sinner" painted onto his chest?
  • In Doctor Strange, Silver Dagger is a former Catholic Cardinal who has devoted himself towards eradicating magic, which he considers Satanic. He's an enemy of both Dr. Strange and Werewolf by Night.
  • Pope Innocent XLII in Grendel, who has turned the entire Catholic Church into a Path of Inspiration. He's actually an evil vampire who appeared under a different identity as the villain of a previous arc, and is plotting to blot out the Sun so that he can rule humanity and use them as bloodbags.
  • Hack/Slash gave us Father Wrath, a serial-killing undead ghoul who was a fire-and-brimstone homophobe that hid his cross-dressing homosexual urges from his congregation in his mortal life. When he tried to make out with his assistant, said assistant stove in his head with a huge crucifix. He is resurrected by an Ax-Crazy catholic schoolgirl who uses him to kill all the young partygoers at Spring Break. He is later dispatched, but his assistant takes up the cause.
  • An inmate called "Preacher" in Hard Time: 50 to Life was imprisoned for setting fire to an abortion clinic while there were people inside. He continues to be a pyromaniac in prison by pouring out the gasoline he occasionally puts in his mop bucket on a kneeling penitent and lighting the poor bastard up.
  • Paulustus Jehustus II, the Pope of Rome and one of the five leaders of Evil, Inc in the Swedish comic James Hund, an Affectionate Parody of thrillers and detective stories. He is obviously meant to be a No Celebrities Were Harmed Historical Villain Upgrade version of Pope John Paul II, given that he was born in Poland as plain old Pavel Kalinka. It is not certain whether the Catholic Church is a Corrupt Church in the comic's Verse, but given that one of the founders of the non-evil origins of Evil, Inc. was a rather slimy-looking Pope during the Viking Ages, it probably is.
  • Played for laughs in one popular MAD article, "When Priests Go Bad". (Which was followed by sequels like "When Nuns Go Bad" and "When Clowns Go Bad".)
  • A couple of chapters of Nightmares & Fairy Tales feature a group of nuns that are anything but holy. They keep a pet demon in the attic of their convent, and as for what they feed it? Let's just say that the local adoption rate of orphaned babies has been slipping since they showed up.
  • All Father D'Aronique, and sundry other clergy of the Grail conspiracy from Preacher. Apparently entirely sincere in his beliefs. Most of the Grail personnel who appear are Knight Templars though.
    • While Jesse Custer is used as the page image, he is not, in fact, this trope, and is more of a Badass Preacher.
  • Cardinal Trebaldi is the main antagonist in Le Scorpion. He is an ambitious cardinal who later becomes Pope and starts reign of terror in Rome.
  • Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark from Sin City, the most nefarious member of the city's Corrupt Church and just one member of the series resident powerful Big, Screwed-Up Family.
  • In "Righteous", a short story from Dark Horse Comics' Tales of the Slayers, a pious Christian girl (who, like all the other main characters in this story, is unnamed) is called as the Slayer in a medieval village. After she successfully routs the vampire called Saint Just, the local priest, jealous of her success and popularity, denounces her as a witch and convinces the villagers to burn her at the stake.
  • Brother Blood, recurring enemy of the Teen Titans. Originally a priest somewhere in Europe, he murdered a colleague to get Jesus' prayer shawl. Currently trying to spread his bizarre cult worldwide.
  • Bishop Antony Lilliman in V for Vendetta is a child molester, as well as a cheerleader for the fascist regime.
  • X-Men:
    • The Reverend William Stryker, an X-Men villain. He and his Corrupt Church believe that mutants are demons from Hell, and has an army of mercenaries to carry out his will. He first appeared in the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills, and became a recurring villain after the success of the movies, as X2 was loosely based on said graphic novel.
    • Another example is Reverend Craig Sinclair, a church leader in a small Scottish hamlet who is introduced leading a mob with Torches and Pitchforks after Rahne Sinclair (a mutant) to "burn the Devil out of her" (read: murder her) to fulfill God's will. In a later story, he's pulling the same shit on another mutant girl, prompting a now adult Rahne to confront him. She denounces him as a hypocrite and bully who cares nothing for the outside world because he can rule here with impunity. She then speculates that when he decided to "save" her mother, a woman accused of loose morals and possibly prostitution, that he may have in fact sired Rahne.
    • Some people like to claim that if there's a priest in X-Men who is not Nightcrawler, chances are he's going to be evil. But that is perhaps more a consequence of Chuck Austen's anti-Catholic Nightcrawler storyline on Uncanny X-Men.
    • One aversion in X-Men is a preacher in Denver whose wife became infected with a brood egg but regained her free will. He was always sympathetic to the mutant cause, but we haven't heard from them in awhile.

    Fan Works 
  • Gatehammer Fantasy Battles: Averted per Word of God. Natter Bismarck is ambitious as Satan, about twice as ruthless and half as pleasant, but he is a genuinely devout man who believes that what he is doing is best for the Cult of Sigmar, The Empire and the people he is seeking to convert (and himself, in a "the-rising-tide-lifts-all-boats" sort of way) with no indication (yet) that he is wrong.
  • Archbishop Grishom from The Night Unfurls is this. At first, he is an Obstructive Bureaucrat that blocks relief efforts. He then graduates into Arc Villain status by staging an uprising, exhorting the common folk to join the Black Dogs, and putting the capital in a state of chaos.
  • Blackfeet of Robb Returns, the septon that incites the Faith Militant's reappearance in the Riverlands. Heavily implied to be the High Sparrow.
  • Ulysses Tiberius, a villain who appears in both Shadowchasers: Torment and Shadowchasers: Ascension, was an Air Force Chaplin before the contradictory nature of his job and the stress related to it drove him to madness, turning him into this Trope before being expelled from the service on a medical discharge. In the present he no longer fits the Trope, being a leader in the Cult of Tharizdun, confident that he Hates Everyone Equally.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Good Dinosaur has a rough prehistoric equivalent in Thunderclap, a vicious and deranged pterodactyl who leads an obsessive cult that deifies the storms. He speaks very much like a corrupt religious leader.
  • Deliberately averted in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While Disney's version of Frollo is significantly more evil than the novel version and also religious, his title has been changed to JUDGE Claude Frollo, with a Reasonable Authority Figure taking Frollo's original role as the Archdeacon.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of the earliest cinematic examples would be the Bishop of the Black Canons from The Adventures of Robin Hood, who runs the Corrupt Church and is one of the most loyal followers of Prince John. He and John both get exiled in the end by King Richard.
  • Alexander Nevsky: The Bishop who sanctions the heinous actions of the Teutonic Knights and blesses them. Later in the movie, he drowns along with the majority of the army. There was also a Catholic priest in black robes who was playing the organs and was captured along with the Grandmaster at the end of the movie.
  • Jeremiah Ketchum (and kill 'em) from The Amityville Horror (2005). He tortured to death Native Americans on the land where the house stands, apparently just For the Evulz, and his monstrous spirit (along with those of his victims) continues to haunt the area.
  • Anaconda: The human villain Paul Sarone mentions that he was a priest before he decided to become an Evil Poacher. He claims he wasn't even bad at his job, he just wanted to "explore the world"... which apparently involves catching giant, man-eating snakes and feeding people to them.
  • The Blob (1988): The final scene shows Reverend Meeker having gone off the deep end, preaching a fire and brimstone apocalyptic sermon... and having kept a small piece of the Blob for the very purpose of starting said apocalypse when "the Lord will give him a sign".
  • Preacher Jacob from Blood Lake convinced his followers to commit mass suicide, claiming he could resurrect them as a new, perfect race enlightened by their deaths. It didn't go as planned, and during the events of the film, his homicidal spirit is unintentionally summoned.
  • Brimstone: The villain is a sinister unnamed protestant Reverend (Guy Pearce) who has a long track record of murder and rape and has some sort of past association with main character Liz.
  • Father Henri Sardis from Brotherhood of the Wolf is secretly the head of the Brotherhood and believes that he is restoring worship of God to France by unleashing the beast of Gévaudan to instill fear in the populace.
  • In The Con is On, Sidney is a priest and a drug dealer.
  • Dagon: The town's priest disguises himself in a regular catholic priest's attire, but he's actually part of Dagon's Religion of Evil.
  • Doctor Krishna: In this Carnatic language Indian film, you have Swamy Haivadan Rai, a charismatic popular Hindu priest on the outside, but a greedy schemer, who ultimately murders his best friend and frames that friend’s son for it.
  • In Even Lambs Have Teeth, the Pastor is one of the clients of the Sex Slave ring. He visits the girls wearing a pig mask.
  • Future Force features a crimelord priest. He proves the lesser of two evils compared to the Dirty Cop Big Bad, and saves the hero's life at one point.
  • Archbishop Gilday from the third film of The Godfather trilogy is a ruthless schemer and the mastermind behind the assassination of Pope John Paul I.
  • The priest in Goodnight God Bless. He begins his killing spree by knifing a woman and shooting a group of young children, all in broad daylight.
  • The Reverend Fred Sultan in The Great White Hype: a conniving and manipulative businessman who also acts as Roper's fight promoter. Sort of a No Celebrities Were Harmed mashup of the Reverend Al Sharpton and Don King.
  • Zachary Malius from Happy Hell Night, though inadvertently as he is a corpse possessed by a demon.
  • Joyeux Noël: The Scottish bishop, who remarks with disgust at the fraternization the Scottish soldiers, dismisses Father Palmer's defense of it, and creates a jingoistic, xenophobic sermon for Scottish soldiers, that was actually said in Real Life.
    Bishop: "Christ our Lord said, 'Think not that I come to bring peace on earth. I come not to bring peace, but a sword.' The Gospel according to St. Matthew. Well, my brethren, the sword of the Lord is in your hands. You are the very defenders of civilization itself. The forces of good against the forces of evil. For this war is indeed a crusade! A holy war to save the freedom of the world. In truth I tell you: the Germans do not act like us, neither do they think like us, for they are not, like us, children of God. Are those who shell cities populated only by civilians the children of God? Are those who advanced armed hiding behind women and children the children of God? With God's help, you must kill the Germans, good or bad, young or old. Kill every one of them so that it won't have to be done again. The Lord be with you."
    All: "And also with you."
    Bishop: "May God Almighty bless you. The Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. Amen."
    All: "Amen."
  • In the Polish 1971 medieval film, King Boleslaus The Bold, the bishop, Stanislaus of Szczepanow, is presented as a traitor to the Polish state who excommunicates the king. In Real Life, the conflict is the mystery and it is unknown who was right; the king or the bishop. The bishop has been canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and is the patron saint of Poland. The movie was made during Communism, and that's why it glorifies the king and demonizes the bishop.
  • Kingdom of Heaven takes it to the extreme. Nearly every member of the Catholic Hierarchy is a villain but the particular two examples that stand out and represent this trope are the Jerkass Priest who antagonizes Balian in the beginning of the film and the Bishop of Jerusalem who is shown to be a Dirty Coward willing to leave people of Jerusalem to die, or convert to Islam. Also, when Guy de Lusignan and the Templar Knights march on the battle of Hattin, some Catholic priests are seen giving them blessings, while going with them.
  • The villainous Bishop of Aquila from the film Ladyhawke, who put a demonic curse upon Etienne and Isabeau because he wanted the latter for himself and was denied.
  • In The Lawnmower Man, the priest who regularly beats Job with a rod. His brother confronts him, calling him a "pious asshole".
  • In Left for Dead, Mobius Lockhart was a not-so-holy Preacher Man who was murdered by the whores of Amnesty and who has made a pact with the devil to remain as an earthbound spirit unable to travel beyond the borders of the town's cemetery and slaughtering any who trespasses.
  • The Rabbi from Lucky Number Slevin, who is a major crime boss in the city. He justifies his criminal activities by creative interpretation of The Torah.
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much: The assassin Mr. Drayton turns out to be a minister in his day job. He's even got a congregation!
  • In The Mountie, Olaf, the Orthodox priest and most powerful figure in the settlement of Merci, is in league with Cossack criminals, and part of the opium ring. He also threw his daughter's newborn baby over the side of a ship because it was a bastard (a Child Of Rape).
  • Harry Powell from The Night of the Hunter claims to be a preacher and has long talks with God, but is actually a roaming Serial Killer and Con Man, who's preferred MO is marrying wealthy widows, then killing them and stealing their possessions.
  • Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition: Reverend Hicks has become incredibly unhinged after his near-fatal encounter with the living dead, now convinced that the zombies are demons from hell and a sign of the apocalypse.
  • The priest of the church that Bartek seeks shelter in in Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight lies to Bartek about how they don't have any cellphone reception, or a working land line. When the land line rings, the priest knocks Bartek unconscious and ties him to a chair.
  • Played mildly in Oh, God! with money-grubbing televangelist Rev. Willie Williams.
  • Brother Torquemada, head of the Inquisition, sadist extrordinaire, and a fanatic who places himself above the Pope, is the Big Bad in The Pit and the Pendulum (1991).
  • Reverend Kane from Poltergeist II: The Other Side: a deceased, insane preacher who returns as a poltergeist and attempts to destroy the Freeling family.
  • Father Jonas from Prom Night IV: Deliver Us From Evil is an overzealous priest who kills "whores and sinners".
  • Red State: Pastor Abin Cooper (Michael Parks) is the patriarchal leader of the Five Points Trinity Church, a reclusive and extremist offshoot Christian doomsday cult, which consists mostly of himself and his extended kin. They actively lure 'sinners' to their compound to ritualistically execute them, before ending up in an extended siege situation with the ATF. They were loosely based on Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church, which is mentioned in-film as a separate organization to avoid potential legal issues.
  • At the start of The Right Stuff, the widow of a test pilot is shown cowering in fear from the saturnine black-clad priest sent to inform her of her husband's death. He's merely the Bearer of Bad News however, and not actually malevolent.
  • In Robin Hood (2018), the Cardinal is part of a conspiracy with the Sheriff to ally with the Saracens and overthrow the King of England.
  • The Bishop of Hereford from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, who accused Robin's father of being a devil worshipper and is actually either a devil worshipper himself or someone who knows that the Sheriff of Nottingham is a devil worshiper and looks the other way.
  • The Big Bad of Rolli – Amazing Tales is the High Priest of the Trashers, a cult of litterers that worships the hideous Great Trash. A meticulous Card-Carrying Villain, the High Priest aspires to destroy the entire Rölli Forest through pollution because he hates the purity of nature and sunlight that are detrimental to his face.
  • Father Lucci in The Seventh Sign is actually Cartaphilus, Pilate's porter who struck Jesus. Cursed to wander the Earth until Christ's return to judge humanity, he intends to allow the apocalypse to take place so that his curse will finally be broken.
  • The perverted and greedy Reverend Madeley in Silent Night.
  • Silver Bullet has a variation when it comes to Reverend Lowe. At the start, he appears to be a genuinely conscientious priest who wants to do good for his flock and is horrified by what his werewolf curse has made him into. However, events of the movie gradually turn him more and more into this due to a possible combination of the trauma of losing his eye, being sent multiple letters encouraging him to commit suicide, and the full moon drawing closer and smothering his humanity. By that time, he's become completely evil and depraved, attempting to murder Marty and giving some poorly justified reasons on shaky religious grounds for his murders.
  • Cardinal Roark in Sin City harbors a cannibalistic serial killer and admits that he sometimes gets in on the action.
  • Preacherman, a member of the Carnival of Killers from Slashers who uses religious iconography as his gimmick. Whether he is an actual minister is anyone's guess.
  • Reverend Crane, father of the main protagonist of Sleepy Hollow (1999), who tortured and killed his wife for practicing witchcraft. Also on a smaller scale, Reverend Steenwyck: the austere, corrupt town pastor who had sex with the Villainess.
  • Sweetwater: Josiah, a self-proclaimed prophet with a small band of fanatical followers, is a bigoted, paranoid murderer.
  • Eli Sunday There Will Be Blood is a cold-hearted and narcissstic man who runs his church with an iron fist and only opposes Daniel Plainview's plans because he fears that it will break his own hold on the town.
  • Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers (1993) is portrayed as a scheming, perverted Smug Snake who secretly plots to usurp the King of France and steal his wife. He’s certainly more evil than his book counterpart (who was something of an Well-Intentioned Extremist who was an antagonist to the heroes due to being a Corrupt Politician more than being a clergyman), as well as the real life Richelieu (who was probably much closer to the book version).
  • In We Summon the Darkness, John Henry Butler is a televangelist whose ministry is built heavily around the Satanic Panic. Which he himself is whipping up with his daughter Alexis, carrying out a series of fake "Satanic" murders in order to make their claims of Satanic cults lurking behind every corner look genuine and scare people into embracing religion.
  • In White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf, Alfred Molina plays Reverend Leland Drury, which turns out to be a lie so he can secretly enslave the Haida tribe and illegally mine gold off their land. He even tells the protagonist throughout the movie that they share the same religion; he eventually reveals which religion.
    Drury: A religion of GOLD!
  • The terrifying Asa Hawks from John Huston's Wise Blood, based on Flannery O’Connor's novel. Worth mentioning here because Harry Dean Stanton's wonderfully creepy portrayal of the character comes across as more villainous than in the book.

    Literature 
  • Fray Emilio Bocanegra ("Black-Mouth") from the Spanish series of books The Adventures of Captain Alatriste is an evil member of The Spanish Inquisition. He represents The Church by himself, although he conspires with representatives of other organizations. Also appears in The Film of the Book.
  • Reverend Desmond McCain in the Alex Rider series serves as the Big Bad of Crocodile Tears. He is initially presented as a man who turned from sin to religion, becoming a pastor after a stint in jail, and he runs a charity that's known for their speedy and effective responses to disasters. However, he's quickly revealed to still be a rotten piece of work who uses the charity as a front to make money for himself, and is not above engineering disasters to make people donate.
  • Bishop Laris Sebastius in The Arts of Dark and Light is introduced as one as part of the first book's opening mystery: a mysterious priest who appears somehow involved in the death of the late Pope. Toward the climax, there is The Reveal that he is really one of the Watchers that haunt the setting..
  • Some notable examples in The Bible:
    • Eli's sons Hophni and Phineas from 1 Samuel, who not only took the best portions of the sacrifices that were meant for God, but also slept with the women who assembled at the door of the Tent of Meeting. Of course, God also holds Eli responsible for not taking strong measures against his sons abusing their power and position.
    • The Pharisees and Jewish leaders in The Four Gospels, whom Jesus denounced publicly for their actions in Matthew chapter 23. They so hated Jesus for it that they conspired to have Him be put to death.
    • In the third epistle of John, the apostle speaks of Diotrephes, a church head who was a malicious gossip and excommunicated members of his church for not adopting gnosticism.
    • From the apocryphal Books of Maccabees, there's Jason, the corrupt high priest appointed by King Antiochus IV, who brought Greek culture into Judea and made the Jews turn from following God. He was succeeded by Menelaus, the brother of the corrupt Temple official Simon, who basically bought his position with money and was described as having "the hot temper of a cruel tyrant and the rage of a savage wild beast." He even goes so far as to put his brother Lysimachus in charge, who ends up stealing valuable items from the Temple. Also Alcimus, who was appointed by Demetrius.
  • Many of the religious officials taking part in the pilgramige in in The Canterbury Tales. The Pardoner is the traditional medieval corrupt churchman who sells forgiveness, the Summoner is a hypocrite guilty of the sins he accuses others of, and the Friar and Prioress are at the very least more interested in worldly goods than their callings would expect. Another summoner appears in "The Friar's Tale", and the Friar portrays him similarly, as well as having an amniable relationship with a demon. The Summoner retaliates by making his own tale about corrupt friars.
  • The village priest in the novel Chocolat. He tries to make Vianne and her daughter leave as he believes her shop inappropriate. Fanatical and puritanical in his beliefs, he comes to believe that she is Satan's helper. He is Changed in The Film of the Book, which portrays him as a young, idealistic man who is being manipulated by the local Comte.
  • The Comfortable Courtesan has the Reverend Mr. Gorston, later Marquess of Bexbury, who starts off as being simply obnoxious and bigoted, and is revealed over the course of the serial to be truly villainous.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian:
    • In the story "Rogues in the House," Nabonidus, the Red Priest, "who was the real ruler of the city."
    • Most of the Conan religious figures land in this category, given that even when the priesthood isn't out for actual political power, the gods they serve usually turn out to be Eldritch Abominations.
  • Katherine Langrish's novel Dark Angels has Brother Thomas, an over-religious and abusive priest who is cruel to the boys at the abbey. He gets his comeuppance in the end.
  • Stephen King's The Dark Tower series features a rare female example: Sylvia Pittston, a large woman who establishes a Christian-like cult to the Crimson King in the town of Tull. She is even pregnant with the Crimson King's child via the Man in Black, though Roland destroys this hellspawn by forcing his gun up her vaginal tract, which drives her mad. Sylvia's influence over the town is so great that she's able to successfully convince the whole populace to attempt to kill Roland. No one, including her, survives.
  • The Dinosaur Lords has father Jeronimo, Emperor's confessor, who everyone agrees is creepy and who has not been seen by anyone in years. He has fundamentalist views and seems to be influencing the Emperor to start wars. Also, he's actually a Grey Angel, one of seven creatures hell-bent on wiping out humanity.
  • In the Diogenes Club story "The Case of the French Spy", the villain is the Reverend Mr Sellwood, a bitter Young Earth Creationist who's obsessed with destroying anything that contradicts his beliefs, not hesitating to use violence and coercion where he considers it necessary. Technically, he's no longer a qualified minister; he was defrocked after he refused to stop advocating that Charles Darwin's works should all be burned and Darwin with them.
  • Dante and Virgil encounter many corrupt clergymen in Hell in The Divine Comedy. (To put this simply, Dante despised such people, and the punishment he portrayed them as suffering was horrid, to say the least.) There's even a section of Hell for corrupt clergy, where they are placed upside down in holes resembling baptismal fonts and have their feet burnt in a parody of baptism. Dante's Arch-Enemy Boniface VIII, a notoriously power-hungry Pope who was largely responsible for Dante's exile, is mentioned to be destined for this area of Hell even though the poem is set before his death.
  • The Reverend Doctor Syn, a "mild mannered clergyman from Kent", also known as the vicious criminal "the Scarecrow", and the feared pirate Captain Clegg.
  • The Dresden Files has a short story about a priest who thinks that it's a travesty that Harry has custody over Swords of the Cross as opposed to finding new users for them (which Harry is actually doing). The guy was once in the military and has been staring a lot of evils in the face from his position in South America and tries to kill Harry to get the swords out of what he perceives to be enemy hands. Michael is not amused.
  • Annias in The Elenium by David Eddings is a high-ranking clergyman who loudly proclaims his virtue... while using bribes, threats, and outright murder in his attempt to seize the throne of the Archprelate (AKA the Pope). Later, it turns out that he's actually working for an ancient, evil god, too.
  • The title character of Elmer Gantry is a young, narcissistic, womanizing college athlete who abandons his early ambition to become a lawyer beause legal profession does not suit his lack of ethis. After college, he attends a Baptist seminary and is ordained as a Baptist minister. During his career, Gantry contributes to the downfall, physical injury, and even death of key people around him, including a sincere minister, Frank Shallard, who is plagued by doubt. However, he is portrayed more as merely slick and self-deluded rather than as "pure evil."
  • Reverend Habit Morgan from the Ender's Game book War of Gifts was a real Holier Than Thou piece of shit. He beat his son Zeck regularly and found fault and sin in everyone but himself. When Zeck got taken away by the International Fleet, the IF representative was accused of infringing on the church's freedom to worship as they pleased. The rep responded by tearing open Zeck's shirt to show the congregation his bloody and scarred back. While at battle school, Ender speculates that Zeck's mother divorced her husband now that Zeck was out of his reach.
  • The title character from H. P. Lovecraft's short story "The Evil Clergyman", a mysterious man with a decidedly Anglican attire who appears to have cast his soul into a matchbox-like object in an act of pre-suicidal sorcery, later attempting to completely usurp anyone that handles said object. The narrator manages to stop him, though not before having his appearance changed to an exact replica of the clergyman.
  • Perry from the Piers Anthony book For Love of Evil becomes a priest after his wife is killed. He gradually gets seduced by a female demon, and winds up literally becoming the devil. In contrast to the earlier books, in his own book he's shown to not be evil so much as performing a necessary function.
  • One of the major villains in Hawksmaid is the Abbess, who is the Sheriff of Nottingham's sister and Prince John's mistress. She conspires to help John take over the kingdom while Richard is held prisoner, and captures Matty and tortures her in an attempt to discover the location of the rubies.
  • A good portion of the priesthood in Karse in the Heralds of Valdemar series. That is, until the god Vkandis got fed up with the Corrupt Church and did some rearranging, with a Bolt of Divine Retribution for starters.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame's sexually frustrated Archdeacon, Claude Frollo. He is, however, not so much evil as he is just lustful, confused and militant.
  • Subverted in the Illuminatus!!-trilogy, where Padre Pederastia (a nickname, obviously) is a Camp Gay Roman Catholic priest who runs a Satanic sect in his spare time, and routinely steals the sacramental bread from his church to be used in the Satanic rituals. The sect is completely harmless, Padre himself doesn't even believe in God or Satan, and he is indeed one of the good guys.
  • Prophet Darren of The Infected is a deeply conservative man of the cloth, who is firmly against the abomination of the Infected (think mutants). As time passes, the readers learn that he also kept a commune of abused children and a vast harem made up largely of his daughters, and that he himself is an Infected with emotion-manipulating powers. The public reveal of this is enough to destroy him utterly, the protagonists barely needing to lift a finger towards his end.
  • Francis Davey, the vicar of Altarnun in Jamaica Inn, is the true head of the wrecker gang. He even draws himself as a wolf while the members of his congregation have heads of sheep.
  • In Jane Eyre, Mr Brocklehurst is a clergyman of rich, honourable and influential family and he has quite a strong position in society, but he has a sick, twisted mind. For instance, he scares Jane with his idea of hell and horrible religious teachings and he's an extreme hypocrite. His mother founded the Lowood school as a charitable institution for orphaned girls, but he runs it as the Boarding School of Horrors of the worst kind — the pupils suffer from hunger and cold in winter. When the poor food causes a typhus outbreak that kills a large group of students, the outside world finds out about the horrors, but he's too important to be punished for his mismanagement of the school.
  • In The Jehovah Contract, an evil televangelist with some kind of supernatural powers hires the narrator character to assassinate Jehovah.
  • An Islamist-terrorist version in Assef, a Taliban leader with sunglasses, in The Kite Runner. He leads a freaking stoning execution of a couple in a football stadium, and of course, he abuses children like Sohrab, whom he knows because in youth, he was the same bully who used to tease Amir, but went so far as to rape Hassan—Amir's best friend, and Sohrab's dad.
  • In The Knife of Never Letting Go, the priest of Prentisstown, a man named Aaron, pursues the main character throughout the entire book. He combines this trope with Implacable Man, surviving many, many injuries (including having his head chewed on by a crocodile) due to his religious conviction.
  • In H. Beam Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, the High Priest of Styphon's House (and supposedly most of his top underlings) are this. As is stated in the author's description of him "He had no belief in Styphon or any other god. If he had, he wouldn't be in his current position". Styphon's House starts and stops wars, dictates terms to everybody, and generally rules the entire area ruthlessly and without care for anything except their own power and wealth.
  • The Rev, father of Zeb and Adam One in Margaret Atwood's Maddaddam trilogy. His church is baldly commercial to begin with but it gets worse when you get to know him personally. He regularly visits VR snuff sites, killed his first wife and buried her in the rock garden, and had hopes to do the same to his sons.
  • Pryrates from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is a priest as well as the most cliched Evil Sorcerer one can imagine. He lives in a tower which no one dares to enter, he wears scarlet robes, has a shaved head, kills a puppy as one of his character introduction scenes and has such evil vibes that the hero notices him as a bad guy right away. And the King doesn't care at all. It's pretty heavily implied that Pryrates indulges in every Villain Trope he can think of just because he knows it will creep people out.
  • The title character from The Monk. Ambrosio's Start of Darkness was to break his vow of chastity with a woman who disguised herself as a monk.
  • In Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, the secretly demon-controlled Johannine Church uses Diotrephes' name as a bogeyman label. Chants of "Down with Diotrephes!" are a Berserk Button.
  • In Philip Kerr's novel Prayer, FBI agent Gil Martins comes up against the Church of Izrael, led by the seemingly genuine Pastor Nelson van der Velden. He soon realises the odd spelling of "Izrael" is no error or eccentricity. Van der Velden spent time in Israel learning the inner secrets of Kabbalah. These include how to actively pray for the death of dirty godless liberals, atheists, socialists and advocates of sexual deviancy, so as to Make America Great Again and bring about God's will for the USA — a fundamentalist Christian theocracy. Led by President van der Velden.
  • Reverend Wringhim Senior, from The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, drills it into his son Robert's head that Robert has been guaranteed his salvation no matter what he does, and also uses his influence to clear Robert's name whenever he is faced with harassment and assault complaints from other people, including Robert's brother George.
  • In The Robin and the Kestrel by Mercedes Lackey, we have High Bishop Padrik, who took control over the city-state of Gradford with faked miracles (most of which were learned from a rogue Gypsy clan or helped along with his magic) and being a great orator, preaching on such subjects as that woman's place was in the home, that nonhumans were Anathema, and any sort of fun (non-Church music and brightly colored clothing, for example) was a sin.
  • Safehold's Church of God Awaiting has its Sinister Ministers, but the standout is its the Grand Inquisitor Zhaspahr Clyntahn, whose crossings of the Moral Event Horizon include the brutal execution of a scapegoat Archbishop, having members of his order instigate a massacre against traders and merchants of the heretic nation of Charis, and having an allied prince and his sixteen year old heir assassinated when said Prince was about to surrender to the Charisian emperor, Cayleb. Making Clyntahn especially dangerous even after all that is he has himself utterly convinced that he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist. And the fact that his religion explicitly states that good intentions based in religion justify any kind of extremism makes him even worse.
  • In The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School, the school chaplain, the Reverend Mr Bainter, is a smarmy man with leanings toward some non-Christian, and probably evil, religion. The school gossip has it that he's a white slaver; the truth is arguably worse. Since Drearcliff is an Academy of Adventure by design, it may be that some degree of sinister is part of the job description; the new school chaplain who arrives at the end of the book is implied to be a vampire. (Although the sequel reveals his wife was the vampire.)
  • Father Tony in The Summer Is Ended And We Are Not Yet Saved is a cheerfully smiling, good-humored and thoroughly demented murderer at a Christian summer camp.
  • Simon Ark: In his first story ("The Village of the Damned") , Simon exposes the leader of a religous community who drove his followers to commit mass suicide.
  • Vorbis from the Discworld book Small Gods. Unlike some examples, though, Vorbis believes with absolute certainty that all the bad things he does to advance the church and himself are necessary according to his twisted conception of the religion. A character in the book mentions this trope, expecting that Vorbis maintains his austere image just to hide a life of luxury and indulgence, but he doesn't. It is implied that this makes him worse than a garden-variety corrupt priest, as Vorbis's crimes are driven by something stronger and more constant than self-interest.
  • The Robert Browning poem "Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister" is about a monk who has an unreasoning hatred of one of his fellow monks, apparently because he's too enthusiastic about gardening and doesn't follow rituals the first monk invented at meals to display his peity. He sabotages the man's garden, plots to trick him into heresy just before he dies so he goes to Hell, and by the end is considering making a Deal with the Devil in exchange for revenge. He's also a Hypocrite; in one verse he thinks that if he can get Brother Lawrence to accidentally read his "scrofulous French novel" the man will be damned. Why he has such a novel is not explained.
  • Song at Dawn: the Arch Bishop is behind all the attempts on Dragonetz' life and schemes to undermine Emerganda's authority so he can fill his coffers and make himself a more elaborate church to berate people from. Also, he hates Jews.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has many of these:
    • Septon Utt is a priest of the Faith of the Seven as well as a mercenary and a notorious serial killer and rapist of little boys.
    • Melisandre is a Red Priestess of R'hllor, a fire god. She's pretty ruthless and has a number of fire related powers, though she does have morals and is simply convinced that what she's doing is for the greater good. Word of God has called her the most misunderstood character in the series, partially as she is right about an evil power that could destroy humanity to the north of Westeros, and is not acting out of a desire for power.
    • Aeron Damphair is a priest of the Drowned God of the Iron Islands. He's extremely zealous in a religion that advocates drowning unbelievers and pillaging the mainland. It becomes more tragic considering his PO Vs reveal he was sexually abused by his monstrous older brother Euron Greyjoy, who is clearly the most evil member of the Greyjoys.
  • Reverend Sunlight Gardner, who runs an Orphanage of Fear in Stephen King's The Talisman.
  • The Cardinal in The Three Musketeers, though he's an antagonist because he is the prime minister of France. The religious aspect of his position is irrelevant to his character and the plot.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle has two:
    • The Archbishop of Alba is deliberately destabilizing Alba, to the point of implicating the pregnant Queen into murder so that he gets a chance of burning her alive. He's also not-so-subtly implied to be working with Ash, the Big Bad, and without the "angel" facade that the dragon employs with his other pawns.
    • The Patriarch of Rhum deliberately raises an army to block Red Knight's path when the latter is trying to fight The Virus — and not because he's infected.
  • Father Rodin is a villain from the book The Wandering Jew by Eugene Sue. He is a Jesuit priest and the secretary of Father D'Aigrigny, who has charged him to get hold of the Rennepont Heritage, which is actually the Wandering Jew's treasure. During the course of the book, Rodin puts various obstacles in the way of the Wandering Jew's true heirs, in order to claim the treasure for the Jesuit Order. While he cultivates the appearance of a God-fearing and, whenever his superior is around, subservient old man, Rodin is actually a Machiavellian mastermind who manipulates everyone around him, including D'Aigrigny. Being highly ambitious, Rodin's goal is nothing less than to become the new Pope. In addition to his deviousness, another one of Rodin's assets is his ability to quickly adapt to any situation and take advantage of it.
  • A common figure in the writings of Flannery O’Connor: In Wise Blood, Asa Hawks preaches the Gospel but doesn't believe any of it; he's only in it for the money. He even faked blinding himself with lye as a very public demonstration of his nonexistent faith.

    Live Action TV 
  • Jonas from the Alphas episode "A Short Time In Paradise." Somewhat subverted as he didn't really want to kill his congregation... it just happened because of his ability. Then he tries to burn them all in an attempt to destroy the Darkness within. Rosen stops him.
  • Sister Jude from American Horror Story: Asylum is an Ambiguously Evil gender-flipped version of this trope. She's basically a Knight Templar who believes in beating the sin out of her patients (with a rather loose definition of what constitutes "sin" even by the standards of the early Sixties) but thanks to far worse people and things inhabiting Briarcliff plus her own tortured history she can be interpreted as either an Anti-Villain or Anti-Hero.
  • Babylon Berlin featuresa tattoo-covered mob enforcer going by the nickname "Saint Josef" (and may or may not actually be an ordained priest); He generally struts around town in a Catholic habit and biretta clutching a rosary, delivering threatening messages in the name of his Boss.
  • Father Kemp from Being Human is a member of the secretive organisation pursuing supernaturals in Series 2. He is a religious zealot who appears to have his own agenda as regards supernaturals, whom he thinks should be removed from society.
  • Blackadder:
    • In "The Archbishop", every representative of the clergy seen is sinister and greedier than sin at the very least (although not sinister, Edmund is quick to get Baldrick to find out about the money-making opportunities that come with being an Archbishop). Of course, this only decreases their differences with the nobility and the gentry.
    • In "The Black Seal", Friar Bellows has a lust for virgins and for murder. And yet he's got nothing on...
    • The Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells from "Money", who drowns infants at Christenings. He's also a moneylender, with a particular pleasure for dealing with recalcitrant clients with a red hot poker, and if he arrives in the morning, he tends to eat their children before getting down to business. He is also by his own admission a "colossal pervert", willing to do anything to anything, animal, vegetable or mineral. Yet despite all this, and his reputation, he's also a Villain with Good Publicity, being friends with Queen 'Liz herself, and his parishioners believe his only vice is "a little tipple before evensong".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Caleb, a psychotic misogynist and serial killer who used his sermons to lure impressionable young women to him and then brutally murder them. This was before he became The Dragon for the Ultimate Evil in the universe, who granted him super-strength and an army, then tasked him with massacring the Slayer Potentials and the Watchers. He took to his mission with sadistic glee, reciting twisted prayers and Biblical references as he casually broke arms, snapped necks, and put out eyes. Caleb was, bar none, the single vilest villain in Buffy canon, even surpassing Angelus in depravity and pure hatred.
      • His voice and mannerisms are also a direct reference to Robert Mitchum's character from The Night of the Hunter, whom some might consider to be even spookier than Caleb.
      • Joss Whedon defended himself from backlash by pointing out that the Church had kicked Caleb out (though even defrocked he continues to dress, and sometimes behave, like a priest).
      • And for those who would doubt the above statement about Caleb being worse than Angelus, bear in mind that Angelus is a vampire. He has no soul whereas Caleb has no such excuse for his evil.
    • The Anointed One's guardian, Abasalom. ("When She Was Bad")
    • A Catholic Priest, Josephus du Lac, wrote a number of books containing dark rituals, resulting in du Lac being excommunicated. ("What's My Line?")
  • Father Ailnoth in Cadfael is appointed to the Foregate community for purely politicl reasons—the Church wants to demonstrate its support for King Stephen, and Ailnoth is a Stephen fanatic. He casually dismisses the brutal mauling of a man suspected of supporting Maud, and when called upon to actually minister, is blatantly unfit for the job. He preaches hellfire and damnation, seizes the Foregate lands his predecessor had allowed the locals to farm, and instead of granting absolution to a young woman pregnant out of wedlock, calls her a whore and drives her from the church. Then he refuses responsibility when she drowns herself and the village blames him. It is therefore no surprise to anyone when he is found clogging up the Foregate millwheel just days into his tenure.
  • Carnivàle's Brother Justin Crowe is a super-powered example of this trope who turns out to be not only the living embodiment of evil as the Avatar of Darkness, but the fabled Usher of Destruction.
  • Cathedral Of The Sea has chief inquisitor Nicolas whose main motive for framing Arnau for heresy is so the church can take his wealth.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds had a priest who killed people using drug-laced holy water in his exorcisms, specifically targeting four people who he believed to have murdered a fellow priest while on pilgrimage.
  • Revered Magister in the Doctor Who serial "The Daemons" is Wicked Cultured. It will come as a complete shock to learn that he's actually The Master.
  • Father Ted,
    • Bishop Brennan is a domineering bully with a secret son in America and shoves the Pope out of the way when he realises that Ted has kicked him up the arse.
    • Father Jack, the oldest priest on Craggy Island, was a Sadist Teacher and is hinted to have been a paedophile, back before he became an incoherent violent drunk.
    • Father Dick Byrne, Ted's Jerkass rival, enjoys mocking Ted and goading him into bad decisions for the hell of it.
    • Several oneshot priests are this, ranging from Father Todd Unctious, who steals another priest's clothing for no real reason and tries to steal Ted's Golden Cleric Award, to Father Williams, who has apparently been running guns.
    • Even Ted himself in that he apparently misappropriated funding from that Lourdes thing.
  • Following its source material, Game of Thrones has its share of these:
    • Season 5 presents us with the High Sparrow who has been given plenty of Adaptational Villainy and turned into a power-hungry religious fanatic who tries to eliminate anyone he deems as a threat to his religion and power. He is also an Expy of Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps, but much more brutal and fanatical.
    • Also, following High Sparrow's example, Aeron Damphair also undergoes Adaptational Villainy. While he was already an example of this in the books, he opposed the evil plan of his much more monstrous brother Euron Greyjoy and got imprisoned. In the show, he happily goes with Euron's plan to kill their niece and nephew. Admittedly, since many of their brothers have been Adapted Out, this does tones down Euron's cruelty.
    • In earlier Seasons, we already had an example, albeit a much less extreme and smaller. The first High Septon could qualify too seeing how he represented everything that was wrong with Faith of the Seven being greedy, fat, and not caring about the starving smallfolk—who showed how much they cared about him by literally ripping him apart during a riot.
  • The Goodies: "Wacky Wales" has the Reverend Llewellyn Llewellyn Llewellyn Llewellyn (played by Jon Pertwee) of he Church of the Seventh Day Repressionists. It turns out that his church is also a drudic cult that practices Human Sacrifice, and he attempts to sacrifice the Goodies for being too entertaining. Played for Laughs.
  • Haven's Reverend Driscoll is the town's leading agitator for Fantastic Racism against the "Troubled". Apparently believing them to be cursed, he's been working to establish enough influence for he and his followers to one day wipe the Troubled out.
  • One episode of Homicide: Life on the Street featured a menacing biker warlord nicknamed Preacher, nicknamed as such because he was also a bishop in the American Fellows Church who officiates weddings on the side.
  • Vicar Oddie from In the Flesh is constantly preaching against zombies and who orders the parish council to do less than ethical actions.
  • A couple of these types pop up in Jack Taylor. First we have "Lucifer" the sadistic and enigmatic nun who helped to run a Magdalene laundry in 1960s Galway. Next we have the Pedophile Priest who abused and traumatized his altar boys. Father Malachy is a subversion of this—although he and Jack frequently clash, it's more out of the Father's loyalty to Jack's estranged mother over his unconventional and unwieldy lifestyle rather than some ulterior and sinister motive.
  • To a lesser degree and outside Christianity, Baber, the conservative ex-imam from Little Mosque on the Prairie. He is bigoted and intolerant, calls most non-Muslims "imbeciles" and "infidels", and utters anti-Semetic remarks. He also once falsely claimed that he was on the American no-fly list to cover up his own fear of flying.
  • On Lost, a prison chaplain refused to absolve Richard for accidentally killing a doctor, in blatant violation of Church doctrine. Richard was about to be hanged, and apparently, someone wanted him softened up and scared to be sent to the New World as a slave.
  • The Magician: In "The Illusion of the Deadly Conglomerate", Reverend Wally runs a homeless mission, but is secretly supplying Disposable Vagrants to the eponymous conglomerate to become bodies to be used in their Faking the Dead racket.
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "The Screwfly Solution", the priest in the Canadian hospital euthanizes female patients against their will while preaching the "fundamentally evil" nature of women.
  • There's one episode of Midsomer Murders where the murderer is the local priest, responsible for three murders. The reason for this is that (unbeknownst to his wife and the rest of the village) he'd had a kid some 20 years earlier with an unmarried woman, and said kid had died in a Deadly Prank (in order to join a "club", the members made him stand tiptoe on a chair with a noose around his neck while they went off for a smoke). When one of the victims thought he was dying, he confessed to the priest, who decapitated one, burned another alive, and arrowed the last through the back. Quite a normal Backstory for a resident of Midsomer County.
  • Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett in Netflix's Orange Is the New Black isn't an actual minister, but she acts as one for several inmates. An intolerant zealot, she's one of the few inmates (if not the only) that becomes less sympathetic when her backstory is revealed. She's in prison for murdering an abortion clinic nurse who criticized Pennsatucky's large number of abortions. She only became religious after the religious right started supporting her and donating to her legal defense because they mistook her crime for an act of pro-life protest.
  • Pastor Johannsen in Orphan Black, a folksy but viciously authoritarian and misogynistic cult leader who rules his commune with an iron fist, has his daughter's mouth sewn shut to punish her, and treats women as nothing more than breeding receptacles.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • Father Claridge from "Fear Itself" murdered a little girl and burned her corpse before blaming her brother, turning the boy into a traumatized wreck for most of his life and haunted by the experience. He ends up driven to madness by the brother's psychic powers, imagining himself burning alive.
    • In "The Shroud", Reverend Thomas Tilford had Marie Wells impregnated with a clone of Jesus without her knowledge. Her husband Justin was aware of the baby's true nature and went along with Tilford's plan but he gradually grew disillusioned with him. Justin comes to recognise that Tilford is not doing God's work but intends to use the baby for his own ends once he is born.
    • In "Revival", Luke is an alien whose species plans to enslave humanity through religion. He eats several young women and frames Ezra Burnham for the murder of Sheriff O'Brien when he tries to interfere with his plans.
    • In "Mindreacher", a mentally ill homeless man experiences severe hallucinations about a priest who transforms into a hideous monster with tentacles and More Teeth than the Osmond Family. The implication is that this priest molested him when he was a child.
  • Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier, a defrocked pastor convicted of embezzlement who begins building his own army of converts inside the prison on Oz.
  • Abbot Hugo in Robin of Sherwood, who is the clerical equivalent of a Corrupt Corporate Executive, mainly interested in acquiring land and wealth for the Church (really for himself).
  • Edward Teague on Smallville was a Well-Intentioned Extremist and former Amoral Attorney who became a Catholic priest to protect a MacGuffin at St. Christopher's church following the death of his wife Genevieve and son, Jason. Formerly a firm believer in the cult of The Traveller, he turns on Clark after the revelation that he is unwilling to kill Archenemy Lex Luthor, and tries to put them both out of his misery. One could argue that he's an Antihero, but no matter how you slice it, he's very sinister, and given the religious overtones of almost every action he takes, it ain't just an act.
  • The Canon on the medieval planet in Stargate SG-1 made use of creative interpretations of The Bible, the fear engendered by the Goa'uld System Lord Sokar's raids for hosts, and a lightning-summoning ring in order to maintain control over his village. When SG-1 arrived, he accused Teal'c of consorting with demons. And starting in season 9, the Priors of the Ori and their head honcho, the Doci, are pretty creepy. Which is exactly as their gods intended.
  • Kai Winn in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, who becomes leader of a Saintly Church purely in pursuit of personal power, and somehow fools everyone except the main characters. Initially she believes that everything that goes right for her is proof she's doing the Prophets' will, and everything that goes wrong is a test, but later she decides that if the Prophets don't agree with her they're wrong, and turns to the Pah-Wraiths, the Bajoran equivalent of demons. Though, during the Grand Finale, after Gul Dukat has tricked her into releasing the Wraiths and helped him essentially become The Antichrist, she helps Sisko stop him. Naturally, she dies. At first, Winn expressed resentment of the Federation's presence due to their secularism. Later, when Sisko starts to embrace his role as the Emissary of the Prophets, it's more that she sees him personally as a threat to her power. After all, when the Emissary has arrived, what need is there for a Kai? It's rather akin to a scenario where the Pope is resentful of the fact that Jesus outranks him, which illustrates how much her ambition twisted her religious beliefs.
  • In the "Hook Man" (S01, Ep07) episode of Supernatural, Preacher Jacob Karns murdered prostitutes because he was outraged by the red light district.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look has The Incredibly Twisted and Horrible Person Who Unaccountably Is Still A Vicar, who confronts a young couple who've only recently moved into the neighbourhood, and berates them for trying to look around the church, at length, not being particularly religious but still having some "ideas", and dismisses the ideas of love and tolerance as a fad that wasn't likely to catch on, before driving them out completely. His speech even comes with an ominous wind, and later, ominous chanting.
    Oh, aren't you all entitled to your opinions? You've thought about eternity for five minutes, and think you've come to some interesting conclusions. Well, let me tell you, I stand with a thousand years of darkness and bafflement and hunger behind me! My kind have harvested the souls of a million peasants, and I couldn't give a ha'pennny's jizz about your internet assembled philosophy!
  • Thieves of the Wood has the depraved Dean Peck who serves as an adviser to the evil Mayor.
  • The warmongering, terrorist Reverend Steve Newland of True Blood.
  • Pastor Young from The Vampire Diaries who takes over the council as of series 4 and returns it to it's original kill all vampires mission.
  • The Season 2 finale of Wild Card, "Zoe's Phony Matrimony", has the culprit be a priest willing to kill to obtain Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna's antique wedding rings, leading to Zoe and her partner Dan posing as an engaged couple to get close to him.
  • World Without End is filled with these:
    • Brother Godwyn is first of these and foremost. He is a cousin of Caris and he embodies every single thing that was wrong with the Medieval Roman Catholic Church; he burns witches, robs the poor, does not want to prevent a plague, and in the end turns on his own mother after finding out he has a half-brother.
    • Brother Joseph is another prime example. When Mattie Wise proves to be a more effective healer than him, the jealous and petty Brother Joseph accuses her of witchcraft. His accusing an innocent woman of witchcraft and getting her executed simply because he was jealous of her success establishes him as one of the most evil characters in the show.

    Music 
  • Daniel Amos: Several songs from the albums ¡Alarma! and Doppelganger lambast televangelists and other preachers who con money from their audiences.
  • Apocalyptica's "I'm Not Jesus" is about the grown-up ex-victim of a Pedophile Priest, who is very angry about what said priest put him through as a kid.
  • In The Dear Hunter's overarching story, the Big Bad is referred to as the Pimp and the Priest. As the name suggests, he is a priest who also works as a pimp, and later diversifies into charismatic prosperity gospel. The first album has him trying to kill the Boy's mother, Ms. Terri, and he only gets worse from there.
  • Falconer's Enter The Glade describes a corrupt evangelist who uses his supposed connection to the divine to enrich himself at his followers' expense.
  • The Genesis song (and video) "Jesus He Knows Me" is about a televangelist who enjoys a decadent, corrupt lifestyle funded by the contributions of his viewers.
  • Chief Rabbi Kai in !Hero: The Rock Opera, working together with Dirty Cop Officer Devlin to take down Hero.
  • Iron Maiden have "Holy Smoke", which lambasts sinister ministers—"Holy Smoke, Holy Smoke, Plenty bad preachers for the Devil to stoke"—written in response to the very public falls from grace of several anti-heavy-metal (and nearly everything else) televangelists. It alludes to several in a No Celebrities Were Harmed way—"Jimmy The Reptile" for Jimmy Swaggart, "The TV Queen" probably referring to Tammy Faye Bakker.
  • "Holy Roller Novocaine" by the Kings of Leon (and possibly about the Followill brothers' grandfather) is sung from the point of view of an itinerant preacher trying to seduce a woman he meets on his travels.
  • Brian McNeill's song "A Far North Land" portrays the Calvinist pastor Rev. John Knox as a religious zealot little better than his rival Mary, Queen of Scots.
    What were ye first, man or priest
    Or the tool o' Revelation's beast
    Primed wi' fire and thunder
    Tae tear Scotland's soul asunder
  • Ozzy Osbourne's "Miracle Man", a Take That! toward Real Life Sinister Minister, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, with whom Ozzy had a feud in the eighties.
  • They don't get much more evil than Powerwolf's "Cardinal Sin", a cardinal who takes confession and does ugly, ugly things by night.
  • The priest mentioned in a few songs from Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime is one of these; he is a corrupt televangelist who sleeps with nuns.
  • "Joseph Arthur" by Daniel Romano is about a swindling preacher.
  • Rapper Saigon talks about ghetto ministers who exploit their poor congregations in his song "Preacher".
  • Space's Neighbourhood has this to say of the local preacher:
    "In 666 there lives a Mr. Miller, he's our local vicar and a serial killer."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • ECW/MLW wrestling manager The Sinister Minister: It's his friggin' name!
    • James Mitchell, the man behind this gimmick, did much the same act in TNA under his real name.
  • Brother Love, the evil televangelist/manager.
  • The Undertaker, while leading the Satanic cult-inspired Ministry of Darkness.
  • The Jackyl, New Age-inspired charismatic cult leader with an unmatched flair for brainwashing and mind control.
  • Bray Wyatt, leader of the very Manson-esque Wyatt Family who preaches about his beloved 'Sister Abigail' and, since their debut, has done a number of horrifying things from corrupting Daniel Bryan to possibly planting the seeds of betrayal in The Shield.
  • The World Wrestling League's Wrestlefest in 2015 saw the addition of Lord Siniestro, who appears to be a cross between Baron Samedi and The Pope, without the benevolent traits of either. He's got some kind of connection to Legio and Mistress Glenda Lee, crucifixes becoming their collective calling cards after his arrival.

    Myth and Legend 
  • The tales of Robin Hood frequently feature greedy and venal abbots and other religious leaders. However, the worst is the Prioress of Kirklees Abbey, who murdered Robin when he went to the abbey for sanctuary. In some versions, she and Robin were related, so he assumed he could trust her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Reverend Ezekiah Grimme from Deadlands. A humanitarian to boot. The game ultimately comes clean and reveals he's not even human; he's an Abomination, basically a demon that walks around in the real world in the good Reverend's shape. Has been ever since the real Reverend Grimme was murdered and eaten by his starvation-maddened flock, back before Lost Angels was really founded. The real Grimme was a whiskey priest of the highest order, but did his (admittedly not very impressive) best to care for his people and was a far cry from actual capital-E Evil
    • From the same game, there's Professional Killer "Deacon" Jim Miller. Unlike the real Miller, who was called "Deacon" just because he attended church and didn't smoke or drink, this version is an actual Methodist deacon when he isn't out bushwhacking people for money.
  • High Cardinal Krozen from Eberron, senior cardinal of the Silver Flame and the most powerful individual in Thrane. Krozen is a corrupt warmonger who plays on religious fundamentalism to support his power. He's far from the worst in Thrane, though; the militant bishops in charge of the city of Thaliost (captured from rival Aundair in the backstory and never fully assimilated culturally or religiously) are infamously cruel and sadistic to the point of facing opposition from lower-ranking church members who more closely follow the religion's teachings, and in the backstory Thrane fanatics have attempted genocide against lycanthropes and committed horrific war crimes including ethnic cleansing against rival nations. Ironically, Thrane's state religion, the Silver Flame, is Lawful Good officially; but due to Eberron's unique rules on clerics' Character Alignment, this has little bearing on the actual conduct of its priests and followers, much like how real religions' teachings are easily twisted by corrupt churchmen to serve their own ends.
  • Fzoul Chembryl of the Church of Bane in Forgotten Realms. Per his religion's credo, he's a tyrannical leader who plots the conquest of the world and its subjugation under a totalitarian rule. He's also handsome, well-spoken, cultured, and intelligent.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Elesh Norn, Praetor of the white-aligned faction of New Phyrexia, leads her faction as Grand Cenobite (which is equivalent to the position of Pope) of the Religion of Evil called the Machine Orthodoxy.
  • Any cleric, inquisitor, or antipaladin in service to one of the setting's Religions of Evil is liable to be this in Pathfinder. Grundmoch from Legacy of Fire is an interesting example in that he's a Chaotic Evil troglodyte cleric of Rovagug, yet will actually ally with the PC's against the Adventure Path's greater antagonist, Zayifid.
  • More than a few Space Marine Chaplains in the Warhammer 40,000 setting have fallen to one of several dark sides. Hell, even the loyalist Chaplains are trained with the express purpose for violent xenophobia.
    • The Dark Angels senior Chaplain Asmodai has a couple screws loose, and not in a funny way. He's a bitter, anti-social jerkass and an in-universe Stop Having Fun Guy. And while a Dark Angel Chaplain is expected to brutally torture captive traitors in order to make them repent and thus redeem their souls, Asmodai sorta stopped reading after the words "torture captive traitors".
    • The Word Bearer Chaplains sort of wrapped back around in an odd way, and eventually landed on Religion of Evil. Ironically, the Word Bearers invented Chaplains in the Imperium, yet were the first to fall to Chaos.
    • The regular ministers in the Imperium aren't any better, they advocate in hunting down heretics and mutants, with no regard on whether their targets are innocent or guilty. They also have no problem in overtaxing and conscripting the lower masses on Imperial worlds for their own gain, anyone who disagrees risks being marked as a traitor and/or heretic.
    • As bad as the previous examples are, they have nothing on Goge Vandire; a nobleman that manipulated his way into being the head of the Ecclesiarchy and the Adeptus Administratum, Vandire claimed he was the very voice of the Emperor and ushered in a century long Reign of Terror that saw millions killed or enslaved on his insane whims. He was so bad that the Age of Apostasy (as his reign was called) is considered a time of strife as bad as the Horus Heresy, an entire wing of the Inquisition and the Sisters of Battle were created for the sole purpose of making sure another Vandire never rose to power, and the Emperor Himself personally intervened to assist reformer Sebastian Thor in overthrowing Vandire. To make it all worse, Vandire wasn't a secret Chaos worshipper or a Manchurian Agent; everything that happened was because of his own insanity and god complex being left unchecked, and he didn't need an outside manipulator to bring the Imperium to its knees.
  • There are a few monsters in the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game that suggest this, but the most obvious example would be Darkbishop Archfiend. (Seriously, that guy is Obviously Evil.)
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, any evil cleric could be one of these, depending on how and where they operated. In an issue of White Dwarf, a custom class called a "Black Priest" was statted who could also fit the trope.

    Theater 
  • Zoser, the high priest in Aida, and his mooks are slowly using arsenic to kill their pharaoh.
  • The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster has the Cardinal, the Duchess' brother (Webster was more into plots than names, it seems). He conspires to have his sister killed and her kids murdered, partly in order to preserve the family honor and partly to get his hands on her wealth. He also pulls strings to have ill-gotten lands deeded to his mistress.
  • Henry VI has the Bishop of Winchester, later Cardinal of Winchester, who orders his half-brother's death in an attempt to secure the crown and is noted by all other characters to be a depraved and power-hungry man. Interestingly, the current Bishop of Winchester, when Shakespeare was writing, made a substantial amount of his fortune by licensing prostitution. He also owned the land on which the Globe Theatre was built...

    Video Games 
  • Cardinal Lucius in Anno 1404. Big Bad of the campaign and a hard difficulty A.I. in Continuous Mode.
  • Assassin's Creed
    • Antonio Maffei, a Florentine monk, member of the Templar Order, and a participant in the Pazzi conspiracy.
    • Girolamo Savonarola, also II who not only is an extremist preacher like his real-life counterpart, but also is willing to use the Apple of Eden to subjugate Florence and spread his agenda.
    • There's also Rodrigo Borgia, later Pope Alexander VI, and his son Cesare, a cardinal, both given a Historical Villain Upgrade (which isn't to say the real ones were good.)
    • Revelations brings us Cyril of Rhodes, the rare example of an Eastern Orthodox priest. He is a member of the Templar Order and plans to assassinate patriarch of Constantinople.
    • Finally, in Origins, we have Hetepi, the Lizard. He is a powerful priest of Anubis and has the trust of the high priest, Pasherenptah. Since Anubis is the Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife, Hetepi's acts as the Lizard were contrary to his priestly duties.
  • Castlevania series:
    • Graham Jones in Aria of Sorrow. Dressed like a Southern Baptist televangelist, and sounds like one too. He also shares the Knight Templar fundamentalism qualities.
    • In Order of Ecclesia, Barlowe. First appears to be Shanoa's mentor, but in the good ending, revealed to be the one behind attempting to revive Dracula and thus the Arc Villain. He is fought as a boss at that point.
    • Lords of Shadow 2 has Guido Szandor, who dresses like a Catholic Cardinal, complete with the hood. In reality, though, he is actually the leader of the Church of Satan.
  • Bishop Maltheus from Clive Barker's Jericho. Another Well-Intentioned Extremist who used children to try and take back the Holy Land from Muslims during the Crusades. Now as a twisted servant of the First Born, he continues to keep the souls of the dead children under his command, but man, do they want revenge for what he did to them. Cruel, misguided, and seeking out 'sin' wherever he can to destroy.
  • In The Council of Hanwell, the church in town has a sacrificial chamber in the basement and it's implied the local religion in someway includes the anomalies.
  • A fair number of these will crop up in Crusader Kings. Those who manage to be appalling even by the era's brutal standards will get the Wicked Priest trait. There's an achievement for making such a priest into the pope, and any pope with the Wicked Priest trait will face the Cadaver Synod when they die.
  • Pope Zenon of Crying Suns is the leader of the Church of Singularity. He rules the Church cluster with an iron fist in the wake of the Empire’s collapse, letting his fanatical followers terrorize nonbelievers with their battleships. He himself knows that their religion is a sham and does not believe in it, but keeps up the pretense to maintain his power.
  • The Priest background from Cultist Simulator... sort of. They're preaching an extremely heretical distortion of Christianity that incorporates the lore of Eldritch Abominations, strange and often perverse occult practices, and often outright criminal activity. However, they aren't manipulating their parishoners, per se. Their flock consisted of willing followers of the heresy when the Priest showed up, and the Priest's special ascenscion is a Heroic Sacrifice where, through painful ritual self-mutilation culminating in a willingly accepted Fate Worse than Death for themself, they allow their followers to ascend to the Mansus. The parallels are obvious.
  • Dante's Inferno: The Heretics and Pagans from the Sixth Circle are dressed like demonic clergymen are capable of casting magic and are immune to Dante's Cross attacks. The backstory features a creepy smiling bishop who claimed he absolved the crusaders of all their sins - the Grim Reaper has made it clear to Dante that they were absolved of nothing.
  • Dark Souls III:
    • Pontiff Sulyvahn. His title of "pontiff" means "pope", meaning he's the highest member of the Cathedral of the Deep. He even looks like The Pope with the sword. Yorshka's dialogue and the item description of the Golden Ritual Spear implies that the "pontiff" title was gained when he usurped control of Irithyll and Anor Londo from Gwyndolin and falsely declared himself the leader of the moon-worshiping religion in Irithyll related to the Darkmoon Knights.
    • Deacons of the Cathedral of the Deep. They look like stereotypical Catholic priests, except they're insane undead in service to a Religion of Evil.
  • Dead In Vinland has one that comes as a shock: the seemingly sweet and gentle missionary Brother Angelico, who appears to be a Good Shepherd but is actually a delusional or possibly possessed Serial Killer who will murder another member of the Player Party at random if he's kept around long enough.
  • Sanctus from Devil May Cry 4 is dressed like a Pope and is the head of the Order of the Sword. He becomes even more sinister when he gets his hands on the Sparda sword and becomes Sanctus Diabolica.
  • Archbishop Lazarus of the Diablo series was one of the high priests of the Zakarum faith until he found a new master to follow in the title archdemon. He was instrumental in leading King Leoric down the path of madness, convincing him to send his knights and soldiers off to die in a war against Westmarch, kidnapping Leoric's youngest son Albrecht and making him a vessel for Diablo, and even having Leoric's wife Asylla executed as a traitor for the sake of getting her out of his way. He was also responsible for leading many of the citizens of Tristram into the Cathedral to rescue little Albrecht, only to leave them all to die at the hands of the Butcher.
  • Discworld Noir: Mooncalf, though he's more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist than actually evil.
  • In Divine Intervention, a demonic priest floating above a pentagram is a minor boss that appears occasionally.
  • Sister (later Mother) Petrice from Dragon Age II is a total Smug Snake and petty racist who outright admits to pulling a number of half-assed machinations to rile the people of Kirkwall up against the Qunari in an attempt to commit ethnic cleansing against the "heretical" Qunari. She succeeds, but will only live to see it if you help her, which she... doesn't exactly encourage.
  • In Dragon's Crown, the Church Cover-up side-quest involves one, with the Flavor Text of the accompanying Vampire Hunter Treasure Art revealing that the local priest of the village with the Vampire problem was actually in colleagues with the Vampires after he became enamored in them, and the demon-repelling barrier he set-up was actually a cursed seal that invites the Vampires to the village.
  • The Big Bad of the Enigmatis trilogy is one of these, known simply as The Priest or The Preacher. He serves the archdemon Asmodai, and is trying to find where his master is sealed so he can release him into the world with himself as the new host body.
  • Far Cry 5 has Joseph Seed, a David Koresh-inspired cult leader who preaches of an inevitable apocalypse and through a combination of charisma and mind-control drugs has created a cult that is violently taking over a county in Montana and killing anyone who attempts to go against them.
  • Seymour Guado of Final Fantasy X. Murdered his own father for power/revenge, kidnaps the female lead and tries to force her to marry him, and widely considered to provide multiple of the hardest bosses in the game. The rest of the Church of Yevon isn't much better.
  • There is often at least one in Fire Emblem games. One is the primary antagonist in Genealogy of the Holy War, another is the Anti-Climax Boss of Thracia 776, one is a miniboss in Blazing Blade, and one is a primary antagonist in Sacred Stones.
    • The Tellius games (GameCube & Wii) have the Begnion senators, who are also religious figures.
    • However, the series also has a tendency (at least since Binding Blade) for the highest-ranking religious figure in the game to be benevolent, and in a couple of games, playable. One notable example from the Tellius game is Sephiran, who is the one responsible for the resurrection of Ashera and who wants everything to end, but who could also make a Heel–Face Turn and joins the heroes in the final battle against Ashera (though, good luck with that).
  • Brother Lorenzo from The First Templar is the leader of the Inquisition, and the mastermind behind the slaughter of Knights Templars.
  • The Abyss Lector enemies in Genshin Impact serve as something akin to this within the Abyss Order, espousing the virtues of the Abyss as they assault you with Electro or Pyro attacks.
  • Pastor Richards in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City VCPR radio station. He plans to build a giant statue for himself and his concubines, and needs your donations to do so.
  • Josiah Reed of Gun does a terrible job of convincing people he's anything but this.
    Colton White: If he's a man of the cloth, then I'm the King of Siam.
  • Hyness, the Big Bad of Kirby Star Allies, is the head of the Cult of the Jamba Heart. He was once much more benevolent in his practices, even saving the Three Mage Sisters from dying by giving them elemental powers, but years of isolation at the edge of the universe combined with worshipping a dark god that's implied to be connected to the Dark Matter have driven him insane. Now he plans on resurrecting his god to destroy the entire universe as revenge on those who cast him out, even sacrificing himself and his Mage generals to complete the ritual.
  • Downplayed with Bagoo from Klonoa: Empire of Dreams. He is described as the minister to Emperor Jillius, and he wears priestly garb, but we never see him performing any religious duties. We don't even know if the Empire of Dreams has a religion. He instead acts more like a chancellor, but he definitely fits the "sinister" part. He is actually an Eldritch Abomination called the King of Despair who attempts to take over the empire by turning all of its inhabitants into monsters.
  • Lord Bishop, the Big Bad of Knights of the Temple: Infernal Crusade. He is actually a Satanist who worships the Devil and intends on releasing him on the world by sacrificing a young maiden. The Church is portrayed as Saintly Church in this game.
  • League of Legends has Elise, the Spider Queen. She leads a church dedicated to a spider god, but secretly uses her followers as food for said god so she can safely harvest its venom, which is the source of her powers.
  • Agahnim from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, former poster boy for Evil Sorcerer, was referred to as a priest in the original Japanese script.
  • Idura in Lufia: Curse of the Sinistrals is a priest in Parcelyte. He's noted as acting oddly after the appearance of the Sinistrals... shortly before he kidnaps Guy's girlfriend, becoming a recurring minor villain in the service of the Sinistral of Chaos.
  • Matthias in Octopath Traveler sets himself up as the supposed ”savior of Wispermill” by lifting the woes of Wispermill’s people to make them trust him. He ultimately attempts to sacrifice them in a ritual ceremony in the end, but the ritual is stopped thanks to Ophelia. Wispermill’s people make it out alive, but Matthias is a different story.
  • Chief Bitores Mendez of Resident Evil 4. He was a Catholic priest whose parish constituted an isolated, rural community in Spain until he came under the thrall of Osmund Saddler, infected with the Plagas and became a mutant who helped infect the rest of the village and became an enforcer for the cult.
  • One of the drivers in Rides With Strangers is Father Donald. He's a creepy priest with a deep hatred for "heathens" (including homosexuals, blasphemers, and women who wear perfume) who nevertheless believes God will forgive him for his own sins... like molesting and killing young boys.
  • In Sengoku Basara Samurai Heroes, Mitsuhide poses as Tenkai, a monk who acts as adviser to the cowardly and easily manipulated Hideaki. Even in this guise, he barely tries to hide his sadistic nature and is still as Obviously Evil as he was in previous games.
  • Preacher in the Twisted Metal games. However, as he is loath to admit, he's not an ordained minister — no church would accept him. He's murderous, and like almost every other player character in Black, he was interned at Blackfield Asylum prior to the events of the game. He believes a demon lives inside of him, forcing him to kill; turns out he's just schizophrenic.
  • Vampyr (2018):
    • Played with Sean Hampton, who combines this trope with Good Shepherd. He is a genuinely pious individual who looks after the safety of the East End Docks' population, even after becoming a Skal. However, he becomes a lot more ghoulish and now eats on raw flesh, and if Jonathan chooses to leave him alone instead of killing or curing him, he will succumb to his condition and being forced to be put down.
    • Father Tobias Whitaker, on the other hand plays this trope straight, believing London is being ravished by the plague as punishment for men's sins and advocates cleansing it with fire to save it. Furthermore, it turns out he is a serial killer that has been murdering people for their lack of faith and expresses no remorse over this.
    • In the 2012 reboot, though, he's significantly less sinister (at least in the sense of being evil, since he's still really creepy and mean looking). He just wants to take out Calypso, whom he sees as the Devil himself.
  • The Witcher series:
    • The Reverend from the first game; He initially seems to be a fair, if slightly rude priest, but is actually a Knight Templar psychopath. He has his own pregnant daughter thrown out of the village for refusing to follow the psycho-cult religion he does, forcing her to become a prostitute just to get by and gives children to Salamandra (who perform horrific genetic experiments on them). He then tricks his own people into believing that the (mostly) innocent mage Abigail is responsible for the recent rise in monster attacks, forming them into a howling lynch mob. He does this merely out of petty spite and prejudice, as there is no real evidence she was guilty of any wrongdoing, while at the same time he turns a blind eye to the other villagers' many misdeeds. If Geralt prevents the lynching, even after saving the village from the monsters, the Reverend will try to have him killed, again purely out of petty spite. He doesn't fight Geralt himself first, but manipulates dozens of innocent villagers to attack, willing to sacrifice the lives of his own village just because Geralt hasn't let him murder an innocent woman.
    • In the third game, there is Reverend Nathaniel Pastodi, the one the Concerned Citizen frames for his crimes. He's an easy frame-up, after all—he was Novigrad's head torturer for years before the Church of the Eternal Fire took over, after which he donned the frock of a cleric and was given supervision of the city morgue. He particularly enjoyed torturing women, and he pays to burn prostitutes with a hot poker just because that's what gets him off. Even when Geralt finds he's not guilty of the Concerned Citizen murders, he can still kill Nathanial, and Dandelion notes that this time, he takes no issue with Geralt being judge, jury and executioner.
    • Also, in the beginning of the game, there is a minor unnamed priest from the side quest "Funeral Pyres" who asks you to burn the bodies. It is later reveled that the priest himself was responsible for those deaths, and he bribes you to stay silent and you can either accept the offer or reject it, and fight the priest.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Amalthus serves as a Pope-like figure as the "Praetor" of the Vatican-esque Indoline Praetorium, where people worship the Titans. He also wishes to wipe out all life on Alrest, having deluded himself into believing that this is the divine Architect's will.

    Visual Novels 
  • Zig-Zagged in Danganronpa Another. The third culprit, Kinji Uehara, earned the title of "Ultimate Priest" for his ministry work but is rather quiet and reclusive despite being famed as The Paragon. In the third case he's responsible for the most savage murders to date, with one of his victims nearly decapitated and the other painfully electrocuted, and when he's finally caught he has a full on Ace Attorney-style Villainous Breakdown laden with profanity and death threats. However, it's soon revealed that he was a complex case of Good All Along; Monokuma was holding the children he looked after hostage and threatening to kill them all unless he played the Deadly Game, and he had intended for one of the victims' deaths to be painless but he was caught in the act by the other and forced to change the plan. He expresses remorse for his actions and acknowledges that he's likely going to Hell, with his previous behavior simply a result of the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Daughter for Dessert: Smoking Dog was this all the way. His New Age “church” is nothing more than a cult. He openly used Lainie for her money, and then subjected her to a traumatizing “purification ritual” after she got cut off from her family fortune.
  • Valeria Trifa from Dies Irae initially comes of as a harmless bumbling friendly priest who Can't Hold His Liquor. However that impression doesn't last long as it becomes apparent that he is quite the schemer, working to aid Reinhard. At least, that is how it initially appears. In actuality he is The Starscream, trying to wreck the plan in order to protect his surrogate daughter Rea. However he has become so twisted that he is practically trying do Reinhard's plan over and over again on a smaller scale, and is even trying to become Reinhard himself. All stemming from a deranged obsession with repenting for his sins from back when he was just a kindly priest who was goaded into killing the children in his care.
  • Kotomine Kirei of Fate/stay night, whose appearance and voice actor practically screams 'sinister' despite being the overseer of the Grail War and Rin's guardian — and sure enough, he ends up as the Big Bad of the first route, the one responsible for much of the grief in the second, as well as being the Final Boss in the third, even though in this route he is not as evil as in the previous routes. In Fate/Zero, he also usurps several stronger villains and ends up as the Big Bad yet again.
    • As detailed in Heaven's Feel, his entire reason for becoming a priest was to try and live a good life in spite of his own twisted psyche. He hoped that by doing good he would become good, but realized he was simply too broken when he witnessed his wife's death... and only regretted not being responsible for it. He really wants to know why God created him.

    Webcomics 
  • The Order of the Stick: Minister Malack is initially Affably Evil, striking a friendship with Durkon and being nice and polite despite allying himself with the dictatorship that is the Empire of Blood. However, he uses his affable nature as a facade for his truly vile depths: He is a vampire who has made plans with Tarquin and the rest of the Vector Legion to turn the Empire into a vehicle for thousand of human sacrfices per day for his god Nergal. And that's not even going through what he does to Durkon...
  • Sally The Ghost Hunter faces off against the ghost of one in the "Children of the Priest" arc, who was getting old and wanted to become young again, and chose to do so by taking a page from the legend of Elizabeth Bathory — namely, kidnapping and murdering children and bathing in their blood. When the townspeople found out what was happening to their kids, he did not last long.

    Web Original 
  • The Minister in The Backwater Gospel, who turns the town against the tramp and commands them to stone him to death for allegedly bringing The Undertaker to the town.
  • Bishop Barron describes how priests go bad using the Books of Samuel in his vlog on "David and the Priesthood." He compares David's one lazy day to any time a priest fails to work for God's glory. In David's story, he commits adultery with Bathseba and kills Uriel, and priests can fall into similar excesses of lust, greed, and gluttony.
    "Bad priests taking advantage of the people? Their superiors being told and not doing anything about it? Hello, this is today."
  • The Call of Warr:
    • Played With; Vid is a shady priest with mysterious plans, that involve kidnapping soldier Durkin and conspiring with callers... but he doesn't want to do evil. In fact, he believes he's doing good.
    • The "Undercover Soldier" script involves an entire group of evil priests, as the villains of the story.
  • One of the applicants to the Evil League Of Evil on the Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog DVD is the Perverse Puppet The Reverend.
    Not to be confused with the master of puppets
    I'm the Plush Preacher, Father Felt, the Pastor of Muppets
    I'm the Miniature Minister of Sinister stuff
    The Priest made of ping pong balls, mischief, and fluff
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on Twitch and YouTube. He sometimes features guests on his calls. In "Scammers Hated Us After This 7hr Prank," WillNeff's Pastor Stewart character seems like a nice guy who is concerned about Kitboga's Mary character's health and brings her soup and such. But he also has Mary, a befuddled old lady, handling church finances and later he gives her "$500 gift cards" that are actually just $5 gift cards with two zeros written in after the 5s.
  • The VelociPastor is about a priest who turns into a dinosaur and eats people on the streets before targeting criminals.

    Western Animation 
  • Castlevania
    • The Starter Villain is an unnamed Bishop who mercilessly murders anyone who disagrees with his views, declaring them to be heretics. He burns Lisa (Dracula's wife) at the stake for being a doctor along with her paraphernalia from Dracula's knowledge, accusing her of witchcraft, and refuses to accept responsibility for the fact that this causes Dracula's vengeful rampage. Later, he tries to kill Trevor and the Speakers, despite them being the only ones with the means to protect people from Dracula's forces, just because they don't follow his dogma. He further likes how Dracula's attack gives him the opening to increase his religious political power and potentially becoming the absolute leader. His evils are so great that it eventually turns out that he's desecrated the church he works in. God's Love for him is gone and He permits demons to enter the church and kill the Bishop.
    • This also applies to all his priests, as they're all, to a one, violent bullies. The first two seen are bullying and about to beat up an elderly Speaker. Speakers are nomadic people who help any in need and may be scholars of magic. There are others in the Bishop's ranks who try to kill Trevor later.
    • The Bishop's superior the Archbishop is hinted at being one of these as he too is against the sciences, preferring to keep the people of the country in an uneducated state.
    • Prior Sala and his abbots from Season 3 are a Religion of Evil example, being former Christians who turned to worshiping Dracula after the Bishop's actions lead to the catastrophe that consumed the land. They manage to out-creep the Bishop and his associates, since they are an evil cult that embraces Satanic symbols (like the alchemical symbol for sulfur which stands for "Hell") and placed the crucifix on their priory upside down. They are also plotting to bring back Dracula to life after he was slain in Season 2 by opening an portal to Hell.
  • Depending on the Writer, Reverend Lovejoy on The Simpsons can range from a Straw Hypocrite to a mild example of this. His sermons vary from, at best, dreary recitations of more opaque parts of the Old Testament, to the occasional "fire and brimstone" scaremongering about Hell — and very little of the love and joy that his surname suggests. He's been known to give sermons on the evils of gambling on bingo nights, and annoys Flanders in a petty manner. Some of the really bad stuff he's done is burning books that oppose Christian idea (not out of fundamentalism, it just makes him more important if his teachings are the only one available), blatantly ignoring what The Bible says (interpreting what's "sinful" his own way), and trying to burn his own church down as an insurance scam. Worst of all, he's horribly intolerant of any other religions (except Jews, he was on really good terms with Krusty's father). The gravest examples: when Lisa converted to Buddhism, he called her "Marge Simpson's devil-daughter"; he got into a fist fight with a Catholic priest, told Marge he might as well "do a Voodoo dance" for Abe Simpson when he asked him to give him the last rites, and helped kidnap Bart to keep him from converting to Catholicism. Naturally, he blames this all on Ned Flanders, claiming Ned's complaining made him stop caring. ("Fortunately by that time it was the eighties, and no one noticed.")
  • X-Men: The Animated Series has a wedding between Cyclops and Jean Grey that seems to go fine, until the minister who performed the ceremony is later revealed to be a disguised Morph working for Mister Sinister.

Alternative Title(s): Evil Priest, Evil Priestess

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