Guitar playing priests

Does anyone remember a song about a man who offered to sell himself into slavery and then founded an order to combat the Albigensian heresy, which stated that Jesus was not the son of God, but an angel in a phantom body that did not suffer the crucifixion?

Soeur Sourire

The Singing Nun

Yes, you guessed correctly – the person in question was St.Dominic who founded the Order of Preachers, and the song was “Dominique” performed by someone called “The Singing Nun” or “Soeur Sourire” if you speak French, Jeanine Deckers. She was a Belgian nun whose life was mired in controversy (she was an advocate of contraception and had a tussle with the Belgian tax authorities)  and ended in tragedy (a suicide). The song “Dominique” was a hit in 1963 and sold almost 2 million copies.


It was she who probably gave rise to the phenomenon of performing priests and clerics on Top of the Pops, and also made the guitar an acceptable instrument in church services (outside Latin America, where it has always been popular – since the days of Santiago de Murcia, probably).

Anyway, I have been reacquainting myself with the TV wonder that is “Madmen” and was reminded of the pairing of priests with guitars by this surprising scene in Season 2 after Peggy has talked to the priest about her baby.

Father Ted is one of my favourite TV programmes and features this scene in which Father Jack shoots Ted’s guitar!

Another series which I used to watch avidly was Inspector Morse (mainly because I liked to identify Oxford scenes which then turned into places far away) and when “Lewis” came along as a sequel, we knew that his partner Hathaway had a dark secret. He not only played the guitar, but had studied for the priesthood. So now you know. Speculation as to whether there will be a series called “Hathaway” has been stamped on by the appearance of “Endeavour” a Morse prequel.

That’s all for now!


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