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->"Deep in prayer my cross to bear,\\
I kneel upon the floor.\\
Temptations of a Catholic priest aren't easy to ignore.\\
But I can not control myself\\
It rips my soul apart!\\
For one small sheep among my flock has\\
Stole this shepherd's heart."
-->-- StephenLynch, Priest
Very simply, this is when a priest is depicted as or accused of being a
pedophile or child molester. Given the implicit trust associated with
the profession, this is typically portrayed as the ultimate betrayal of
innocence and a MoralEventHorizon for everyone involved. Due to the
cultural impact of the late twentieth-century child molestation scandals
in the Catholic Church, Catholic priests are by far the most likely to
be involved in a molestation accusation in modern media, although other
religions are not immune.
Depending on the tone of the work and whether it regards the church as
inherently good or evil, the initial accusation may be treated as an
aberration of a single sick individual, or may lead to the uncovering of
a CorruptChurch corrupt or ReligionOfEvil actively malevolent
church hierarchy. Taken to the extreme, the church is nothing more than
a WretchedHive of child abusers using their religion as a shield. By
contrast, in a comedic work, the trope may be PlayedForLaughs as a
BlackComedyRape stock joke without exploring the
The accused need not even be guilty; the simple accusation of
pedophilia/molestation is usually enough to set off a PaedoHunt, which a
GenreSavvy villain may take full advantage of as a RedHerring to cover
up or distract from their crimes. Another way this trope can be used on
a non-villainous character is that he has joined the church not only to
get an excuse to remain a bachelor, but also as a way to fight against
SexIsEvilAndIAmHorny his urges and ChasteHero remain chaste.
Needless to say, the subject is FlameBait extremely
controversial in RealLife, and therefore there will be
See also CorruptChurch, ReligionOfEvil, SinisterMinister, PaedoHunt,
folder:Anime and Manga
* Invoked in TheFiveStarStories with Bishop Iller, whose
ArtificialHuman Fatima partner, Ananda, is made to look like a
* Somewhat inverted in OsamuTezuka's Template:MW. As a teenager, Garai
sexually abuses the 9-year old Yuuki Michio & later becomes a priest to
atone for his sinful past.
* Adam Blade in Template:Needless. Never actually *does* anything with/to
little girls and played very much for laughs.
* Played for laughs with Garterbelt of
Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt. He's awfully fond of
ButtMonkey Brief and organizes a naked marathon for high schoolers
for the sake of getting his jollies on. [[spoiler: [[FridgeBrilliance
suggests that he was actually trying to keep an eye on Brief, whose dick
happens to the key to hell.]]]]
** We can even see him singing a song about his big and black sausage in
the ninth episode, selling sausage in the beach.
* In the Manga/BlackButler anime, the leader of the Pure Church is
implied to be one, which is why they were getting Ciel cleaned up.
* In one issue of Template:Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem
investigates one of the president's consultants and learns he is
associated with a church that is being used as a meeting for predatory
child molesters. He arrives in the said place just in time to save a
girl of becoming another victim of the priest who runs it.
** The Church of Mary Vestal Slut, specifically. Which adds another
disturbing layer to the whole shebang, considering the child molesters
considered kids "pre-sexual human beings" and wanted to legalize pedophilia.
* The corrupt bishop from VForVendetta.
* One of the 15 Portraits of Despair in [[TheSandman Endless
Nights]] is about a priest (not explicitly a Catholic priest) who gets
booted out of the church, forcing him to start his life over, because
he's accused of being one. He isn't, but it makes no difference to
** Although, as the title implies, there is ambiguity about whether or
not the accused character is actually guilty of this.
* Hand of God
* Sex Crimes and the Vatican
* Our Fathers
* Twist of Faith
* The Boys of St. Vincent
* Song for a Raggy Boy
* Scary Movie 3
* A deleted scene of In Bruges would have subverted this. Ray assumes
that the priest he killed was a pedophile, because his boss is
protective of children. However, Ken says that he was just opposing
their boss' land grab.
* The second XFiles movie had a character like this who was made
into a psychic visionary, implied to be done by God to make him atone
for his actions.
** Not MAKE, but help. The priest wanted to atone and that's how God
helped him to
* In the sequel to BloodFeast, JohnWaters plays one. As he puts it,
"TakeThatMe So in other words, typecasting."
* Le souffle au c?ur (Murmur of the Heart). Laurent, 14 and a
half, is in confession when his priest and teacher makes a pass at him.
Laurent asks to go back to class. The priest, annoyed, gives him an
excessive penance: thirty Hail Marys. The priest seems to have a
reputation for making passes at the boys. However, during the private
lessons he later gives a convalescent Laurent nothing much, if anything,
* In Lindsay Anderson's if..., a middle-aged chaplain and
mathematics teacher at a boys' boarding school seems to take an interest
in Jute, a pretty new boy in his class, probably 13 years old. The
chaplain is skewered by Anderson's satire, as are most of the adults in
* The 2006 documentary feature Deliver Us From Evil tells the story
of a priest who for 20 years was reassigned to many parishes in Northern
California before he was caught and convicted in 1993. He was deported
to his native Ireland in 2001 where he . . . well, see the entry
regarding the 2006 episode of the BBC series Template:Panorama under
"Live Action TV" below.
* The Least of These features Father Andre James ([[GreysAnatomy
Isaiah Washington]]) being transferred to a small, out of the way
boarding school after the disappearance of a former priest. As the movie
proceeds, much darker things are revealed in both the cases of the
disappeared priest and his own past.labelnote:*Father Andre is not
the PedophilePriest himself. In fact, he actively discourages even light
sexual shenanigans, as we see in one scene where he chooses to dine in
the main hall with the boys instead of in the private dining room with
the older priests; he also takes the opportunity to confiscate the
PornStash dirty magazines one of the boys brings to dinner, dumping
them right in the trash and calling out one of the boys who was looking
at them, [[CrowningMomentOfFunny without even looking over his
* Template:How Not to Write a Novel has a notice that characters should
be careful not to touch young children in case they come off looking
dodgy -- "Priests shouldn't even touch a boy to rescue him from a
* Septon Utt from Template:A Song of Ice and Fire. The fact that he is
the only member of the PsychoForHire Brave Companions who is even
close to sympathetic really says a lot-- at least Utt feels guilt over
what he does, while the rest of the Brave Companions revel in their
* Padre Pederastia from The Template:Illuminatus! Trilogy, at least by
name. Not explicitly stated to be interested in young boys.
** [[Template:Ephebophile The dialogue indicates that his main interests lie
in late teens.]]
* Jewish example: Carol Matas, best known for her young-adult novels
about the Holocaust, wrote The Primrose Path, about a teenage girl
sexually abused by her rabbi.
* Padre Damaso from Jose Rizal's NoliMeTangere can be considered as
someone along this line. [[spoiler:[[Template:LukeIAmYourFather He is Maria
Clara's biological father.]]]]
* Father Ralph de Bricassart in Template:The Thorn Birds is a vague
example of this. Although nothing happens between him and Meggie until
she is in her mid-20's, it is strongly implied that he has had feelings
for her since he met her, when he was 28, and she was 10.
* Michael Cordy's novel TheMiracleStrain has a priest who rapes
teenage girls. They're young enough that it counts as a sex crime in the
US, though maybe not in other countries.
* Subverted with Brother Nhumrod from Template:Discworld's
Discworld/SmallGods. Though it's implied that by the strictly literal
definition of pedophile he qualifies, after Om accuses him of being a
pederast, it's mentioned that while he might occasionally have
"disquieting thoughts" in his head, he makes sure they stay in his head
rather than him acting on them.
** He could just be plagued with
but that probably isn't the intended implication.
** From how Nimrod's thoughts are described it seems as though he's
subject to unwanted sexual thoughts of just about every possible variety
* Henry de Montherlant's Les Garçons has a priest in his 30s deep in
unrequited love with a 14-year-old pupil at the boys' school where he
works. The priest's attractions and emotions are directed at boys of of
* Roger Peyrefitte's Les amitiés particulières (Special
Friendships) is also set in a Jesuit school. One of the
teacher-priests seems to fancy 14-year-olds Georges and Lucien,
suggesting that they switch pyjamas and the like. Eventually [[spoiler:
he is caught entertaining one of the boys in his study at night and
kicked out of the school.]] Another of the priest-teachers loves
12-year-old Alexandre and has him sit on his lap.
* Sisterhood series by FernMichaels: Free Fall has the
Vigilantes take on a group of pedophiles, and one of them is a deacon,
which is not exactly a priest, but pretty darn close! Under The
Radar has the Vigilantes take on a polygamist (considered synonymous
to "pedophile" in this story) sect in Utah, run by a Prophet named
Harold Evanrod. While Harold is probably not supposed to be a priest, he
might as well be!
* Alberto Moravia's 1951 novel, TheConformist has Lino, a defrocked
priest who attempts to molest 13-year-old Marcello near the beginning of
folder:Live Action TV
* Surprisingly few episodes of Template:Law and Order SVU, but enough.
Although, when it happens, it's usually of the "Church is lousy with
pedophiles" variety. One episode featured a priest who murdered a
transgender hooker; it is quickly determined that he was molested by a
priest. They find two pedophile priests in his church, and another
victim molested by a different priest.
** And before that, there was the Template:Law and Order episode where
Logan inspected rumors about his old priest after a fellow former
parishioner committed suicide.
** And the LawAndOrderUK episode based on it.
* An episode of the sitcom TheWarAtHome had the youngest son
convinced that the local priest was a pedophile, so he attempts to
seduce him so he can report him to the cops.
* Grace's backstory in SavingGrace features one of these.
* One episode of Template:Bones features a priest who was killed because
he was suspected of being one of these. (He wasn't.)
* Father Ralph de Bricassart in Template:The Thorn Birds is a vague
example of this, as mentioned in the Literature example above.
* A suspected one was the victim of a vigilante in the
Series/CriminalMinds episode "TaxiDriver A Real Rain".
* Rampant pedophilia in the Catholic Church made Bobby Donnell of
ThePractice turn his back on the Catholic faith.
* Template:Misfits references this, and actually has one of the
characters announce: "when I was growing up in Ireland, if the Priests
weren't fiddling with you, you were one of the ugly kids." Although
said character is notoriously prone to making ridiculous, insensitive
and untrue statements, so it's probably best to take his words with a
large grain of salt. [[hottip:*: although if you do read any truth
into it, there's some serious FridgeHorror to be had (it's highly
unlikely that EstrogenBrigadeBait Nathan was one of the
aforementioned "ugly kids"!)]] Also, while the Priest featured in the
show was a CompleteMonster (he was a thief, a rapist, and was
falsely proclaiming himself to be the Second Coming of Jesus) he wasn't
actually suggested to be a pedophile. For what it's worth.
* Surprisingly, mostly averted in FatherTed of all places. Still
mentioned a few times, though.
* Template:Series/Ultraviolet. In the episode "Mea Culpa" a 12-year old
boy kills a priest and the team is sent to investigate if the killing is
vampire-related. The priest in charge of the team, Pearse Harman, gets
annoyed when ex-cop Michael Colefield thinks it's child abuse-related,
lampshading the paedophile Catholic priest cliché. Subverted at the end
when it turns out the priest was innocent and vampires were
involved, yet Harman cynically allows the public to believe the priest
was a paedophile to maintain the Template:Masquerade.
* Series/TheAtheistExperience (and The Non-Prophets podcast)
regularly criticises Catholic priests and Protestant ministers for this
* Template:Frontline has had a few episodes about pedophiles in the clergy:
** The 2009 episode "Judge And Jury" revolves around a young woman who
accuses her parish priest of raping her. Frontline runs the story
with a rebuttal from the priest, but edits it in such a way that it
makes him look unreliable. The priest ends up committing suicide
offscreen, and when Frontline interviews the woman again, she
quickly destroys her own credibility by claiming to have been abducted
** In the 2007 episode "Hand of God", a documentary filmmaker from the
Boston area tells the story of his brother who was molested as a boy by
the parish priest. The priest was reassigned many times whenever it
seemed that the truth was about to be revealed.
* The subject of the BlueHeelers episode "Vow of Silence".
* A few months after the film Deliver Us From Evil (see "Films"
above) was released, a reporter and camera crew from BBC documentary
series Template:Panorama caught up with the pedophile priest profiled in
the movie. Following his deportation from the United States, he was
shown trying to get close to children yet again, all without the
knowledge of the locals of his previous conviction for child
molestation. (According to TheOtherWiki, a few weeks after the episode
ran, he slipped out of Ireland. He turned up in The Netherlands in 2010
volunteering at a local parish under a pseudonym. A few months after
that, he was found in Ireland to have kiddie porn on his laptop and
several storage devices.)
* Referenced in an episode of BlueBloods dealing with abuse of
designer drugs by students at a Catholic school. After the headmaster
stonewalls Danny and Jackie's request to search the school with
drug-sniffing dogs, Frank goes to the bishop to get the headmaster
overruled. Among Frank's lines in that scene is one that goes something
like, "The Catholic Church cannot be seen covering up another scandal."
* "Priest", by StephenLynch is a song of a priest barely trying to
resist his urges.
* Music/Template:Rammstein's "Halleluja" is about a priest not trying to
resist his urges.
* TimMinchin blasts pedophile priests, and the ones who cover for them,
in "The Pope Song."
* Sinead O'Connor has campaigned for years about exposing pedophilia in
the Catholic church, and often incorporates the fight into her music and
* Template:Apocalyptica's [
I'm Not Jesus.]
* [God Has A Plan For Us
All] by Template:Angtoria
* [Crying For The Moon] by
* "Devil in a Midnight Mass" by Canadian band Billy Talent
* [Preacher Man] by Inkubus
* [Pope on a Rope] by The
Meatmen (though only one verse refers to it)
* The BadReligion song SinisterRogue contains a mention of this,
among other attacks on the Catholic church.
* Given how DarkerAndEdgier White Wolf tends to be, this is surprisingly
averted in TabletopGame/HunterTheVigil with the head of the
Inquisition. He's outrageously corrupt in other ways, [[spoiler: such as
being addicted to vampire blood, and having a WillAndGrace relationship
with Satan's daughter,]] and is in fact homosexual, but while he does
like them young (being ReallySevenHundredYearsOld, they have to be), he
instead likes them legal, consenting, and...pitching.
* Pierre Bonflèche, one of the many CompleteMonster officials populating
* Operation: Pedopriest, a political flash game inspired by Sex
Crimes and the Vatican, that has the VillainProtagonist try to protect
pedophile priests from the police.
* Father Paul Rawlings in CliveBarkersJericho is called this by
SS-Commander Fräulein Hanne Lichthammer. This is never elaborated upon,
but as a powerful psychic, Lichthammer has access to a person's darkest
secrets (like Church's RapeAsBackstory).
* The SouthPark episode "Red Hot Catholic Love" shows local priest
Father Maxi as just about the only non-pedophile priest in the entire
Catholic Church. (He has been shown makin' it with at least one adult
female parishioner though.) Then again, Father Maxi is in a
DependingOnTheWriter different place on the corruption spectrum in
pretty much every episode in which he appears.
** In "Hell on Earth 2006," all the Catholic priests are shown leading
around naked boys on leashes. No one appears to notice or care even when
they are in public.
* Parodied in DrawnTogether when all characters were making an
inscenization of what can happen if Xandir tells his parents about being
gay. Wooldoor was playing pedo priest.
* Inverted in XavierRenegadeAngel: The kid was the one molesting the
* Template:Daria has a non-Catholic example with the strike:priest
InsistentTerminology minister at Erin's wedding, who spends most of
the reception talking with teenage Quinn about how important "love" is.
She doesn't seem to understand what he means; her escort does and
CrowningMomentOfAwesome tries to kick the minister's ass.
* In WesternAnimation/AmericanDad, Stan admits to being molested by
a priest in summer camp. And later admits that he was the one who
* In FamilyGuy, Peter commented that they were going to keep
drinking until they brought up repressed memories of being molested by a
priest. Only Cleveland is shown to have recovered on.
%% Really, no real life examples.