I’m watching Spin City (so far, first 8 eps were stunning, the girlfriend-reporter left the show and the remaining season 1 and season 2 turned into generic sitcom fare. Good talent, mediocre writing. Anyway.) but in two seasons they’ve had like 3 Catholic priests on. And all of them talk like refugees from Riverdance.
I thought the Irish Priest stereotype had gone the way of the Irish Cop, the sassy black or Hispanic maid, the subservient black maid, the Jewish peddler (or jewelery seller) etc.
That said, maybe there really are a lot of Catholic Priests in NYC with thick, heavy Irish accents.
So: Spin City–“Reviving stereotypes for your enjoyment!” or “Nope, there really are a superabundance of Catholic priests who talk like the Lucky Charms Leprechaun in NYC”?
Some stereotypes just last longer than others. It was a very true stereotype in the past. Ireland used to have a really high birth rate and seemingly every family would send at least one son to the seminary (& a daughter to the convent). Ireland was also a country of emigration. Naturely Irish clergy came along with Irish immigrants. Most Catholics in Anglophone countries like the US or Australia were of Irish decent (ditto for most Anglophone Catholics in Canada, most Catholics in general were French-Canadian). By the time Italian/Polish/German/etc Catholics started arriving the Irish dominated the church hierarchies.
Nowadays the Phillipines seems to have taken over Ireland’s role has number 1 exporter of Catholic clergy to the Anglosphere.
The RCC has a shortage of priests worldwide. Only two countries produce more than are needed locally, and one of them is Ireland (I forget what the other one is). As lazy obvious stereotypes go, this one has a factual basis.
Since Mojo Nixon is right about Michael J Fox being the evil anti-Elvis, I never watched “Spin City”. But in the 1980s there was a wave of Irish immigrants, which reversed itself in the 1990s. But recently with Ireland’s economy being in the dumps, Irish immigration to the USA is on the rise with New York City being the most popular destination. I don’t know how many are priests but there could be some. Probably a tv exaggeration with a kernel of truth.
Really? It is true that there is a shortage of Catholic priests in many countries, but it kind of surprises me that there would be only two of them in the whole world with a surplus, and that Ireland would be one of them. I imagine that Ireland would be less Catholic than it used to be in years past, while countries in the developing world would still be more religious and more likely to produce priests.
I do know that here in Quebec, the Church is encouraging immigration of priests from French-speaking African countries to offset the shortage of local priests.
Speaking as a 49-year old Irish-American Catholic who grew up in New York City…
No, there haven’t been more than a handful of native-born Irish priests in New York City in my lifetime. There have been LOADS of priests of Irish descent, but when you meet a Father Murphy or a Father Reilly in New York City, you’ll usually find that he was born in Brooklyn or Queens.
Nowadays, when you encounter foreign-born Catholic priests, they’re very likely to be African! There used to be large numbers of American priests working at missions in Africa, but now, the flow of priests is going the opposite way. I’ll wager you’re more likely to run into a Ugandan priest at a New York City parish than you are to find one from Limerick or Galway.
But TV writers rely on cliches and stereotypes, so TV shows set in New York will always have cops and priests with heavy, phony brogues.
Or how fictional nuns almost always wear habits when most nuns (at least in the US) have long since stopped wearing them and don’t dress any differently from other modestly dressed women. Granted that’s mostly just visual shorthand so the audience can easily tell she’s a nun.
Indeed it does. And for that matter, John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in centuries. Still, it’s been 32 years and counting since there was an Italian pope. John Paul II traveled the world and when he died there was a generation of Catholics who hadn’t known another pope, but if you watch Family Guy or another show that has a fake pope, he’ll be Italian.
Well, yes, that happens, the writers will use quick clues in this case. Around here in PR the “shorthand” for a priest is a Castillian Spanish accent because until like the 1970s that was our primary source of that job segment.