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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

faking it

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 06, 2006

The BBC reports that the very fashionable Ecclesiology from Below has caught on big-time in Japan.

With a rise in the popularity of Christian-style weddings in Japan, some Westerners are finding they can make a lucrative living by acting as priests. But it does not please everyone, particularly genuine priests.

Mark Kelly is originally from Lancashire in England. He has been living in Japan for six years and, at the weekend, he is a fake priest.

"I was living in Sapporo, studying Japanese, and I needed the money. It's far better paid than teaching in a language school," he said.

"Being a fake priest is big business in Japan -- I've done a TV commercial for one company," he added. "In Sapporo, there are five agencies employing about 20 fake priests. In a city like Tokyo, there must be hundreds."

The fake Western priests are employed at Western-style weddings to give a performance and add to the atmosphere. These are not legal ceremonies -- the couples also have to make a trip to the local registrar.

The BBC captions the photo below, "Mark Kelly is a fake priest on weekends." You're not alone, pal. We all know plenty of validly ordained men engaged in what they call full-time ministry who'd find their theology "actualized" beyond their fondest hopes in these client-centered ceremonies and who, were they true to their principles, would head Sapporo-wards forthwith. The attendant pastoral problem, I suppose, would be that of distinguishing the fake fake priests from the real fake priests. Doubtless Bishop Lussier could be of service here.


BBC photo

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  • Posted by: St.John Neumann - Sep. 27, 2010 7:34 PM ET USA

    Why is it so difficult for any Catholic to say, "In all matters pertaining to faith and morals, I believe in the Teaching Magisterium of the Church, Holy Scipture, and Tradition, as summed up and explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church."? There--is that so hard? Perhaps, a Catholic might also say, "I also believe in common sense and right reason!" The English Catholics might benefit by a reading of Richard Hooker Ecclesiastical Polity.

  • Posted by: geardoid - Sep. 15, 2010 11:05 AM ET USA

    The holocaust is a reality that the Church accepts, as also is the fall of angels from their lofty places in heaven. We accept the reality of abortion and for that very reason preach strenuously against this most evil cancer in society's midst. One is mystified how a leading cleric can miss the opportunity to once again underline the reality of evil. Possibly it is a case of bishops often losing sight of two of their three pillars: teaching and sanctifying.

  • Posted by: Defender - Sep. 15, 2010 1:55 AM ET USA

    One wonders, if a questionnaire was constructed about Church doctrine, how many of the clergy would either pass or say they don't know?

  • Posted by: - Sep. 14, 2010 7:23 AM ET USA

    A small story that is the rule and not the exception. The church leadership is not up to what is in front them. The media serves as modern day lions to the faithful. There a very few who will Preach Christ crucified and Risen in the face of lions. It is disheartening but only human. Jesus had a lot patience with our humanity. One of the very few seems to be Archbishop O'Brien. Thanks Archbishop you are a light in bewilderment.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Sep. 13, 2010 6:56 PM ET USA

    Though his stumbling statement was unplanned, the term to use for the affect is, I believe, "damning with faint praise." It's a case of "remain silent, and others may think you an idiot; open your mouth and take away all doubt." Perhaps that is too harsh an assessment; nevertheless, he did the Church no good, nor his own reputation.