Okay. I admit it. I like Father Ray. In the Catholic world, even the defenders of ABC television’s “Nothing Sacred” have had to gently tiptoe around the central character, for fear that the Catholic League would rip into them for promoting heresy. Bill Donohue, the Catholic League president, sends faxes to newspapers around the country which hum every Friday with the reasons why Father Ray is the greatest danger to the faith since cross-dressing Jewish comedian Milton Berle provided competition for Bishop Sheen.
But to borrow from that other TV character, Ellen, I am now out of the closet. Damn the faxes and full-steam ahead. I watch the show nearly every week—missing only one episode to date—and am proud to share my top-ten list of why Father Ray is a good priest:
10. He works hard and is always on the edge of exhaustion. I like a pastor who pushes himself. The job is structured so that the boss—the bishop—is usually far away. So the fact that Father Ray doesn’t take it easy is good to see. He is self-motivated.
9. When he does take a day off, he plays basketball instead of golf. We have enough clergy who play golf, an ecologically damaging sport in which fertilizers are used to ruin God’s green earth. Basketball is a way to learn teamwork, coordination, and to find out something about the urban proletariat. Besides, it takes real conditioning and youth. If we...