Whisky priest (sometimes Whiskey priest) is a priest or ordained minister who shows clear signs of moral weakness, while at the same time teaching a higher standard. A whisky priest's shortcomings may include many vices, but usually include alcoholism. Graham Greene coined the term, referring to the unnamed main character in his 1940 novel The Power and the Glory.
Examples in literary and fictional works
- Friar Tuck, of Robin Hood fame, is sometimes depicted as a whisky priest, although more often his physical weakness for food and drink is not shown as spiritual weakness.
- The main character in The Night of the Hunter would undoubtedly qualify as a whisky priest, and is in fact a murderer as well.
- Nicholas Wolfwood, from the anime series Trigun, may be considered a whisky priest.
- In the Discworld novel Small Gods by Terry Pratchett, most of the Omnian clergy could be considered whisky priests, with the exceptions of the genuinely holy Brutha, and the pathologically insane Vorbis.
- Father Jack Hackett in the Father Ted comedy series is an extreme example, though he doesn't appear to teach any standard at all.
- The character Enoch Root in the novels of Neal Stephenson also shares some of the characteristics of a whisky priest.
- Father Damien Karras in The Exorcist has some attributes of a whisky priest.
- Reverend Esteban, speaker for the Religious faction in Tropico 4, considers rum to be God's gift and would prefer to conduct his sermons in a bar rather than a church. Seems to be at odds with most of his followers, but reluctantly goes along with their wishes anyway. He would claim that God told him to ask for a prohibition on alcohol, then if it is implemented call the radio station the next day as an anonymous "concerned citizen" to protest the very policy he asked for.
- The prison chaplain in A Clockwork Orange drinks alcohol regularly yet is the most moral character in the book.
- Father Barry in On the Waterfront is an upstanding person, although he is seen drinking towards the end of the film.
- The unnamed protagonist of Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory is referred to as a whiskey priest.
- The novel Whiskey Priest by Alexander J. Motyl (2005).
- In Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla, Father Callahan relates the years of his alcoholism and wanderings as a whisky priest following the events of 'Salem's Lot.
Season 3 (Episode 6) of Yes Minister was called "The Whisky Priest". In the episode, Jim Hacker's wife tells him that, unlike Sir Humphrey Appleby, he at least has enough moral sense to know when he's done the wrong thing.
Whisky Priests were a UK folk band active during the 1980s and 90s.
Whiskey Priest is the name of an Irish Pub in Boston, MA.
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