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'Hot Priest' Applauds Idea of Catholic Clergy Being Able to Marry

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Oct 10, 2019
Andrew Scott in a scene from "Fleabag."
Andrew Scott in a scene from "Fleabag."  (Source:Associated Press)

British actor Andrew Scott has been increasingly spotted around the TV and film landscape over the past few years, in roles as diverse as that of Moriarty on "Sherlock" and a gay activist in the 2014 film "Pride." Scott - who will also star in an upcoming miniseries adaptation of "His Dark Materials" for HBO - is also set to appear in the World War I drama "1917" and as main character Tom Ripley in a television drama based on the iconic Patricia Highsmith character.

Just now, though, Scott may be best known as The Priest on "Fleabag," a just-concluded British comedy that examined the conflict of a Catholic clergyman in love with a woman. Scott's character - who smolders with desire - has earned the nickname "Hot Priest" among fans.

The show teases the tension between The Priest's commitment to the Catholic church - whose clerics are not allowed to wed - and his attraction to the title character, played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Scott joined the show halfway through its two-season run.

In real life, however, the time might not be far off when some Catholic priests could also be married men - and the Dublin-born Scott is all in favor of such a change, reports The Irish Sun.

The Irish Sun noted that Pope Francis had addressed a Synod this past weekend and floated the notion that the Church's rule against married priests might, in some cases, be relaxed in order to better serve the faithful.

The article also quoted Scott as saying that when it came to creating his character - which was written with him in mind - The Priest was envisioned as a character who would reflect real-life complexities. "I was brought up Catholic so when we first started talking we wanted a good man who has a genuine dilemma between his love for this woman and his love of the church," The Sun quoted the actor as saying.

Fact and fiction seem as though they might, at some point, intersect; "Did Pope Francis Just Give Us an Idea for 'Fleabag' Season 3?" wondered TV and film news outlet The Mary Sue.

Referencing an appearance by Scott on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Entertainment Weekly noted that Scott speculated such a change could help stem the loss of new clerics coming into the church.

Meantime, co-star Waller-Bridge also made the news this past weekend, hosting "Saturday Night Live" and talking about her "Hot Priest" co-star.

Talking about why Scott's priest has so many women so very thirsty, Waller-Bridge said, "We boiled it down and realized he was doing this one thing: listening. Really, really listening."

Added Waller-Bridge in a comic aside to male viewers: "Try it, guys."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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