Here is a piece of useless information that you can use to wow your friends and family: There is a clause in the Catholic Church that allows each diocese two active married priests. The priests are generally ordained Episcopal priests who converted to Catholicism. That clause was created by Pope John Paul II in 1980 to help fill the lagging Catholic preisthood.


But for the record, orthodox priest can not be married once the join the priesthood. Nor are they allowed to date, lust, give the wandering eye too, or anything that might interfere with their vow of celebacy.


Paul Shoulberg's first feature length film addresses the possibility of a small town priest meeting and becoming romantically involved with a woman. Zach Spicer plays Father Daniel, the devoted young priest in a small parish who is overseen by an extremely conservative elder priest Victor (Danny Glover) and an eccentric boozing priest Ollie (John McGinley). It's never really clear where this is lovated, but since the primary filming was in Bloomington Indiana, we'll assume that's around where the stroy takes place.

Daniel is given the task of listening to confessions on Friday night, which is apparently a bad night to do so. In walks a young woman named Jane (Wrenn Schmidt) who is pretty much a free spirit rocker. It's not clear why she decided to come in to confession, becasue she clearly isn't a reverent type of girl.


She immediately challenges Daniel to switch places with her and confess his own sins - this after she claims that she is terminally ill. During his confession to her, he admits that he has never felt god like his fellow priests have and it worries him.


But the admission opens some deep rooted fears that he has that were borne from giving his dying father his last rights. More feelings are dredged out by the observant Father Victor and the always wasted Father Ollie... feelings of total inadequacy.


Those feels quickly mutate into emotional feelings for Jane who practically dares him to become involved with her. Her introduction into his life causes a minor rift in the relation between the priests as the question of his commitment comes to fore. This thinly painted plot thus becomes a coming-of-age story for priests. It would have been more interesting to see the division of beliefs deepen beyond rhetoric, there should have been some real challengers. Instead, there is hardly any believable emotion.


Glover is rather amusing as he dons the priestly garb and lectures about godliness but it's hard to believe Ollie would be allowed to a priest. Spicer is only average in his portrayal of the confused priest.


"The Good Catholic" is a serviceable film on religious philosophies as they apply to those who administer the rules. It never supplies any answers, only concepts of principles attached to cardboard characters.   -- GEOFF BURTON