Real Life “Father Ted”?

Father Ted was an awesome series from the late 1990s that stared Dermot Morgan as Father Ted Crilly, the priest with a shady past who had been “sentenced” to live on Craggy Island off of Ireland with two other completely incompetent priests and a strangely effective yet scary housekeeper. Father Ted wasn’t above rigging a drawing for a car, judging a beauty contest, or letting some money “rest” in his bank account.

Apparently, he’s not the only priest in the UK that has an interesting life.

Vicar Paul Shackerley in northern England, who has facial piercing and a tongue piercing, posted on his Facebook page on a Saturday night that

“I think I will put my feet up. I’ve done f— all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning.”

“Alas, I have religion tomorrow. At least I’m not preaching this week.”

He also talked about a photo of himself with a snowman, posting to
“Forgive my sin of frivolity. Sin is such fun! But I haven’t been having an inappropriate relationship with Snowy, who can longer be called a `snowman’ in the name of political correctness.”

Here’s the thing – I’m not sure he should get into trouble for it.

What’s so bad about what he said? He used a curse word. Oooh. How naughty. And he complained about having to work. Who doesn’t do that? And what’s the big deal about saying sin is fun? Can anyone argue that point?

I don’t know. For some reason, this vicar reminds me of our parish priest when I was growing up. I went to Trinity Episcopal in Irvington, NJ, and while the church has since closed, at the time, we had Father Bob.

Father Bob was cool. There’s no other word for it. I don’t know that I ever heard him curse, but he took karate, did karate as part of his sermons (including the one time when he tried to break boards to show how we can do anything if we believe, but then having to go down to fewer boards because he couldn’t do it), and finally left the church (not the priesthood – just the church) to join the army and be a chaplain and jump out of planes. He made everything fun. I remember confirmation classes when we played a game where he’d tell us a bible verse, and we’d have to flip through and find where it was.

I still have the Jerusalem Cross that I “won” when, during a Passover Seder, my sister and I stole the afikoman. (Really? Who offers a cross as part of a Jewish meal? Somehow this made perfect sense when I was a kid, but now I look back and shake my head just a bit…)

Yeah, and I was a shepherd every year in the Christmas pageant.

Anyway, after Father Bob left, the church started going downhill. My guess is because it became boring. Stale. The fun was gone.

And now it’s for sale.

So maybe Vicar Paul Shackerley shouldn’t get in trouble. Maybe he’s just what the church needs…

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