“…the view that priests darken and embitter the world. I look at the world and simply discover that they don’t. Those countries in Europe which are still influenced by priests, are exactly the countries where there is still singing and dancing and coloured dresses and art in the open-air. Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.”
G.K. Chesterton (b. 1874- d. 1936)
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon a 1988 documentary of a traditional Roman Catholic French curate (Scottish by birth), Fr. Quintin Montgomery Wright (b. 1921- d. 1996). At the time of the filming, Fr. Montgomery Wright was seventy four years old, yet worked “full time.” He noted that, though time was passing, and he was chronologically old, he felt ever young; dealing, as he did, with eternal things, and seeing the renewal of life in the sacramental life of the Church. The documentary is a veritable time capsule of a country priest’s life.
You may view the documentary here: link.
It is very interesting, especially to see Fr. Montgomery Wright at home, in his rectory, fielding calls, talking to his sacristan, driving miles to pray Mass in the Latin Rite; his dog ever at his side; while a cat makes an appearance on his windowsill. He comes across as a manalive, a Chestertonian character much like Chesterton’s Fr. Brown. In fact, there is a scene where he is at the market, wearing his Roman clerical attire, he could be mistaken for Fr. Brown.
Fr. Montgomery Wright’s simplicity, as in the case of Fr. Brown, masks the depths of his wisdom; the wisdom of countless priests who, delving as they do into the affairs of humanity, bringing the sacramental life of the Church to the Christian faithful, come to know things. After watching this, you might find yourself asking, as I did: wouldn’t it have been lovely to sit down at his table, and talk with him? I think it would have been, and, in these days, where we are hearing the news of the actions of turn-coat priests, it is good to remember the good priests who are going about today, as they did yesterday, as Fr. Montgomery Wright did: adhering to Tradition, rejecting novelty and innovation, serving the Church, and bringing Christ to the world.
This is not a small task, and we are grateful for such men.
Images of Fr. Montgomery Wright: here