The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.” (Denis Diderot, Political Writings)

Recently the father of a young family said to me: “When I meet a priest for the first time I presume he is a bad one until he proves he is not”.

A lot of people think like that nowadays and who can blame them. In recent decades so many priests and bishops have proven themselves to be liars, rapists, rampant homosexuals, thieves and betrayers.

As that young father again said me to “If a priest is capable of raping a child, he is capable of absolutely anything”


A good priest is

A priest who truly believes in God and prays everyday.

A priest who makes himself freely available to all – but especially to those in any kind of trouble or distress.

A priest who lives his life by the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament.

A priest with a very healthy aversion to Canon Law and man made teachings.

A priest with a very healthy suspicion of the RC hierarchy and establishment.

A priest who has respect for important rules and also the ability to bend or break rules when human need and suffering is at stake.

A priest who is not living a double life and not practising things he preaches about as wrong or sinful.

A priest who is not a member of a cynical clerical clique.

A priest who can say both YES and NO to authority.

A priest who prefers to work in a challenging parish and not in an office.

A priest whose life’s motivation is not sex or money or power or praise.

A priest who regards his people as his masters and himself as their servant.

A priest who can smile and laugh – especially at himself.

A priest who has his own narcissism and ego on a short leash.

A priest who works 6 days and takes 1 day off rather than working 1 day and taking 6 off.

A priest who can tell his bishop the truth and not just what he wants to hear.

I invite readers to add my list………………………


Beside the chapel three boys were playing football.

At the forge door an old man was leaning Viewing a hunter-hoe.

A man could hear If he listened to the breeze the fall of wings

How wistfully the sin-birds come home!

It was Confession Saturday, the first Saturday in May; the May Devotions

Were spread like leaves to quieten The excited armies of conscience.

The knife of penance fell so like a blade Of grass that no one was afraid.

Father Mat came slowly walking, stopping to Stare through gaps at ancient Ireland sweeping

In again with all its unbaptized beauty:

The calm evening, The whitethorn blossoms,

The smell from ditches that were not Christian.

The dancer that dances in the hearts of men cried: Look! I have shown this to you before

The rags of living surprised, The joy in things you cannot forget. His heavy hat was square upon his head, Like a Christian Brother’s;

His eyes were an old man’s watery eyes

Out of his flat nose grew spiky hairs.

He was a part of the place, Natural as a round stone in a grass field;

He could walk through a cattle fair And the people would only notice his odd spirit there.

His curate passed on a bicycle – He had the haughty intellectual look Of the man who never reads in brook or book;

A man designed To wear a mitre,

To sit on committees

For will grows strongest in the emptiest mind.

The old priest saw him pass And, seeing, saw Himself a medieval ghost

Ahead of him went Power

One who was not afraid when the sun opened a flower,

Who was never astonished At a stick carried down a stream

Or at the undying difference in the corner of a field. II The Holy Ghost descends At random like the muse On wise man and fool