Vol. 1, No. 1 2012
For just about every line of work, there is a certain stereotype that accompanies it, and the priesthood is no different. In TV, movies and culture at large, priests have had a wide variety of stereotypes, both good and bad, thrown their way over the years. For most of the 20th Century, the common stereotype of priests was that they were holy men who gave their lives in service to the Church. Thus, they were portrayed in a somewhat heroic light. After the 1960’s, with the Second Vatican Council, the image of the priesthood began to morph into a different light. Priests were stereotyped as outdated and antique in the face of a rapidly changing society and culture. This continued into the 21st Century when the image of the “pedophile priest” augmented the existing stereotypes, as a result of the American priest sex abuse crisis. In each of these three stereotypes, the image of the priest is shaped not only by society’s views on the individuals, but on religion in general. Since America’s overall worldview on religious life has drastically changed throughout the last century, it is only natural that their perceptions of Catholic clergy would change as well. In this article, I will look at these three stereotypes and analyze their validity in the context of today. ...
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