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  • ... the Press has no band of critics who go the round of the churches and chapels, and are on the watch for a slip or defect in the preacher, to make a 'feature' in their article: the clergy are, practically, the most irresponsible of all talkers.

  • ... the profession of the ministry is like matrimony: if it is possible for you to keep out of it, it's a sign that you've no business to go into it!

  • I doubt if we nuns are really as self-sacrificing as we must seem to be to you who live in the world. We don't give everything for nothing, you know. The mystery plays fair.

  • Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the North of England.

  • The people are as severe toward the clergy as toward women; they want to see absolute devotion to duty from both.

  • ... there comes a time in every rabbi's life when he thinks he's Moses.

  • ... so long as you believe that man is essentially evil in nature, and a more vicious doctrine was never promulgated, it follows that he is often going to need to have his ears slapped back, and who should do this but the clergy?

  • [On women as priests:] It has always seemed very odd to me that this particular sphere of activity should remain a male closed shop, seeing that, to judge from church attendance, women are the more religious sex — while our criminal statistics make quite clear that they are the least wicked.

  • It is clearly absurd that it should be possible for a woman to qualify as a saint with direct access to the Almighty, while she may not qualify as a curate.

  • Without fear of contradiction, I can safely say that every step in progress that woman has made she has been assailed by ecclesiastics, that her most vigilant unwearied opponents have always been the clergy ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1888, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • ... the most grievous wrong of that day ... was to be found in the establishment of the celibacy of the clergy. ... This hideous doctrine of a celibate priesthood was maintained only by a constant struggle against the better and truer instincts of the heart.

    • Lillie Devereux Blake,
    • 1883, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • Highly concentrated clericalism is always autocratic.

  • Jesuits are renowned for their brains, and have a very long and severe training — part of which is to teach them to be attractive. They rather terrify me and make me feel that they are surreptitiously giving me a spiritual anaesthetic prior to committing an operation upon my soul.

  • Father Michael ... was one of the few persons I have ever known in whom a genuine spiritual loftiness did not seem at times, rather oppressive. ... From my early youth ... I had retained for all the clergy an instinctive dislike. To me they did not seem to be men, but some kind of vague creatures always uttering the same words, and thinking always the same identical and servile thoughts. One had to speak a different language with them and to conduct oneself differently, with a pretence of almost inhuman virtue. A clergyman, it seemed to me was supposed constantly to maintain authority without probing its essence, for all power came from God. This sounded to me false, and falsity I despised.

  • Well, he's an unusually logical thinker, and, so far, he's intellectually honest. And those two qualities, as I see it, don't exactly make for ease and comfort in the ministry.

  • I suppose we are apt to attribute to them all the virtues they preach.

  • In general Wexford disliked the clergy. To him the dog collar was like a slipped halo, indicating a false saintliness, probably hypocrisy and massive self-regard. As he saw it vicars were not vicarious enough. Most of them expected you to worship God in them.

  • The greatest enemy of any enlightened society, and especially of women, is the organized clergy.

  • Never take a reference from a clergyman. They always want to give someone a second chance.

  • A religious person should have three bones — a wishbone for high ideals, a backbone for good resolutions, and a funny bone for ups and downs.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Eyes Open on a World ()
  • While college years naturally provide times for one's individuality and personality to be explored and transformed, for the women who became nuns with me they were years of total self-denial: nun of this and nun of that.