Sixteen fictional clerics that we’ve seen on screen

Looking back on the past events of Pope Benedict XVI, he has had a career that sounds like a plot of a movie. With his recent resignation, here is a view of sixteen different clergy members that we have viewed on screen:

1, 2,3) Fr. Ted Crilly, Fr. Dougal McGuire and Fr. Jack Hackett

These three priests are well known in Irish culture and have provided laughs to anyone who watched them on the Channel 4 show Father Ted in the late 90s. Along with his dim witted partner Dougal and the drink obsessed Jack, Ted has been involved in several crazy shenanigans from “promoting” a blasphemous film to rigging a raffle. Their legacy still lives on and the following clip shows that with their Eurovision song “My Lovely Horse.”

During its golden era, ABC show Lost in its second and third season has had a spiritual advisor in Mr Eko. However, this priest has a dark past as an ex-heroin dealer before crashing on the island. Here he has helped several of his fellow survivors and was involved in one of the great feuds in the show between himself and John Locke over destiny.



5+6)   Lankester Merrin and Damien Karras

From the classic 1973 movie The Exorcist, these two priest worked together to try and cleanse the soul of a little girl possessed by the devil. The following clip is very disturbing so proceed with caution. However, it is the most iconic scenes and shows how much faith Merrin has.

7) Eric Camden

Before Sky boxes were in most homes, Irish TVs had only three channels and on weekends on RTE was the show 7th Heaven which controversial topics like bullying and drugs were dealt with through Reverend Eric Camden and his religious family. Played by Stephen Collins, Camden’s presence on television lasted an impressive 11 years until the series finale in 2007.

Eric camden

8) Rodrigo Borgia

Also known as Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo is the closest clergyman to Benedict as he is a real person and a pope. Unlike Benedict, Rodrigo had a family yet like Benedict, he also had a bad reputation while in the Vatican. A popular figure in the Renaissance, he has been portrayed in the media countless time. From being played by The Wire’s John Doman in the Canal+ show Borgia to being a lead antagonist in the popular Assassin’s Creed franchise, his name still lives on. However, the most well-known portrayal is by Jeremy Irons in Showtime’s The Borgias directed by Ireland’s own Neil Jordan.

The Borgias


9) The Deacon

Played by ex-heroin kingpin Melvin Williams, The Deacon in HBO’s The Wire has aided various people in Baltimore from ex-convict Dennis “Cutty” Wise to long-time friend and law enforcer Howard Colvin. Topics he covers with these men ranged from school programmes to drug control and his advice is asked for through three seasons.


10) Eli Sunday

Before Daniel Day Lewis made history by winning his Oscar for Lincoln, he won his second for There Will Be Blood. The antagonist in that film is the Pastor Eli Sunday would is bright yet manipulative. In the following clip, he shows that manipulative through a forceful confession from oil tycoon Daniel Plainview.

There Will Be Blood Daniel’s Confession

11) Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark

Played by veteran actor Rutger Hauer in the 2005 film Sin City, Roark only makes a brief appearance in the film. However his actions affect the life of tough guy Marv and from the way characters talk about him, this man of the cloth has more power than anyone else in the fictional land of Basin City. Power so strong that he made his rotten brother a U.S. senator without breaking a sweat.

Cardinal Roark

12) Deloris Van Cartier / Sister Mary Clarence

Like Mr Eko, Deloris did not choose to be a servant of God at first. She was a singer placed in protective custody in a nunnery in the movie Sister Act. However, she introduced a new zest of life to her fellow sisters through song. The film was such a success it had a sequel and a musical. The video below is a behind the scenes of the musical with the actress Whoopi Goldberg seeking her replacement.

sister act

13) Reverend Timothy Lovejoy

The Simpsons has become so well known that the occasional viewers know a lot of the supporting cast. One of which is the train obsessed Reverend Lovejoy. While he helps people with reluctance, Lovejoy has marked his territory through selfless acts from saving people from hungry baboons to performing a Hindu sermon despite being Christian.

rev. lovejoy

14) Ashley Thomas

Since his 1996 appearance on ITV soap Emmerdale, Ashley Thomas has been one of the longest running characters in the show. While he is now pulling pints after a fight forced him to resign as the town’s Vicar, Ashley spent most of his years preaching about God and developed a long relationship with the quirky Laurel Potts.


15) Shaw Moore

Played by Golden Globe winner John Lithgow, Shaw Moore is the antagonist in the classic 80s movie Footloose. This Reverend banned music and dancing fearing it would corrupt the teens in his village. Lithgow was so impressive in the role that his character in the hit show Dexter would also be a man of God. In the following clip, he is practicing for his sermon before he discovers some shocking news.


16) Friar Lawrence

The final clergyman is the one that been around the longest. Friar Lawrence is the person responsible for the actions of Romeo and Juliet. He wedded them and planned a way to reunite them but that ended in disaster. Many actors have played the Friar on stage and on screen yet the most recent depiction on screen was in the 1996 film where the last Pete Postlethwaite added a modern twist to the character.

friar lawrence

These are sixteen clergy members that you may know about or just discovered. Feel free to comment on the above people or other holy characters you like in movies or television.




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