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 cites another person using the term in his travel book, Lawless Road, published in 1939. Greene also used "whisky priest" to refer to the unnamed main character in his 1940 novel The Power and the Glory.
Examples in literary and fictional works
- The character of Father Matthew Doonan in the movie The Devil at 4 O'clock, who regularly drinks himself into a stupor.
- 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.
- 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 unnamed protagonist of Graham Greene's The Power and the Glory is referred to as a "whisky priest".
- In Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla (2003), Father Callahan relates the years of his alcoholism and wanderings as a whisky priest following the events of Salem's Lot.
- The novel Whiskey Priest by Alexander J. Motyl (2005).
- Reverend Esteban in the 2011 video game Tropico 4 is a whisky priest. A certain side mission has him ask the player to enact Prohibition on the island, only to have him call into a local radio station anonymously to protest against the idea.
- Meacham, from the 2011 film Cowboys & Aliens.
- Jethro Furber, in the William Gass novel Omensetter's Luck, is characterized throughout the book as morally weak.
- Fredric Brown refers to his short story The Fabulous Clipjoint as a Whiskey Priest novel.
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.
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