I had a meeting with a priest of an English Catholic diocese who told me that he belonged to a small group of priests in the diocese who called themselves the SOCIETY OF PERPETUAL RECREATION – SPR
The motto of this society is: “TO WORK ONE DAY (SUNDAY) AND TO “DOSS” FOR SIX DAYS”.
The founder of the SPR was an Irish priest from Kanturk in County Cork – Canon Denis McSweeneywho was a well known priest of the Catholic Diocese of Northampton. However he was well known in the dioceses of Westminster and Birmingham also.
There are still a number of members of the SPR alive and well.
CANON DENIS MC SWEENEY
As a priest he was well known in the biker community. He was also famous for his collection of antiques – especially old telephones, wind up gramophones. He was also famous as an art collector.
CANON MC SWEENEY LEFT
Mind you Denis McSweeney was liked by many clergy and people and he was very human and friendly and a great story teller.
CANON MC SWEENEY IN THE LONDON ACE BIKERS CLUB
The SPR encouraged its member priests to spend six days a week meeting each other and following up their own hobbies. The priest I spoke to was an “officer” is the SPR and at meetings of the Society he was required to dress up in a bishop’s purple mozetta (red cape).
He also had to wear this mozetta when they met in pubs and hostelries for “meals, drinks and laughs”. My priest friend said:
“There are still living SPR members in England. It was a totally subtle secret society, I know members who were Cagney & Lacey and Wycliffe fans , we didn’t answer the door 🚪or phone”.
WHAT IS MY EXPERIENCE OF LAZY PRIESTS AND THE SPR?
I have no personal experience of the SPR but I have known a few priests in my time who did little or no work. My fellow curate in St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast Fr Joe Mc Gurnaghan RIP from 1978 – 1983 had the following daily routine:
9 AM: Breakfast and read Irish Times.
10 am – 1 pm: Listen to music in private sitting room.
1 pm: Lunch – Vegetable Broth laced with sherry, main course with red wine, desert, coffee laced with brandy.
2 pm to 6 pm: Listen to music in private sitting room.
6 pm: High Tea.
Some days he celebrated Mass.
Thursday was his “Day off”.
In fairness to Joe he never should have been a priest. I think he was pushed into the priesthood by an overbearing and bullying school principal father.
In the priesthood you can either be a “dosser” or a “worker” and you will get away with it either ways.
There are some very good and very active priests.
There are plenty of dossers among the priests in parishes.
I think there are even more dossers in religious orders.
The priesthood can either be a WASTED LIFE or a VERY FULFILLING LIFE.
I’d like to hear the readers experiences of dosser priests and hard working priests.