A Priest Called Frank
Author : Paul Burke
Year : 2001
Type : Fiction
Genre : Humor
Rating : 4 out of 5
I am a great fan of books written about life in the UK; even more so if they were Irish and Scottish ones. Thus, when I came across Paul Burke’s Father Frank I read it earnestly. The book was gloriously funny and enlightening.
This was a life of an Irish boy growing up in England, in the 70s, which eventually led to his Catholic priesthood. The story itself was not fabulous but intrigued me nonetheless. You see, the boy definitely did not have faith to start with but he was a very good priest all the same – from purely a non-religious perspective that is.
The boy was Father Francis Dempsey and he was delightful. His continued self-inspection and soul-searching questions about God and Catholicism as he transcended to priesthood were indeed clever, tongue-in-cheek arguments about the Christian faith. These were questions that you and I have asked at one time or another in our lives – whether we were Christians or not.
Anyway there are other important parts to this story too but what I liked most about this book was that the author did not make fun of the Seminary in any way that made it offensive. Rather I found it quite liberating. Priests are human after all and that mandatory celibacy vow is, in all honesty, a debilitating ‘sentence’. Father Frank very smartly rationalised this and other Christian beliefs for us. Hence, that was the story’s core in tasteful humour.
So I give kudos to Paul Burke for his maiden book. It had all the fun and serious stuff poured into one extremely joyful bucket of faith, life’s lessons, divine interventions, destiny’s hand and above all, finding love. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
If God read this book, He would say “Well what ya know? Here’s Frank, who dared to make fun of my laws …and was absolutely right to do so too. Let’s give him a hand shall we – bravo my boy, bravo!”
My other recent book reviews
- The Harsh Cry of the Heron by Lian Hearn
- The Ignorance of Blood by Robert Wilson
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- Sex, Celibacy, and Priesthood: A Bishop’s Provocative Inquisition (prweb.com)
- Panel discussion: Should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? (religionnewswilmington.wordpress.com)
- Beliefs: Married Roman Catholic Priests Are Testing a Tradition (nytimes.com)