once a priest, always a priest

An act enabling the clergy of the Church of England to unfrock themselves (the Clerical Disabilities Act) was passed on 9 Aug. 1870.

1859 G. A. SALA Twice round Clock 290 The great case of Horne Tooke versus the House of Commons—‘Once a priest forever a priest’.

1865 L. STEPHEN Life & Letters (1906) ix. As in this..country we stick to the maxim, ‘once a parson, always a parson,’ I could not..go in for law.

1916 JOYCE Portrait of Artist (1967) iv. You must be quite sure, Stephen, that you have a vocation because it would be terrible if you found afterwards that you had none. Once a priest always a priest, remember.

2002 Washington Times 14 June A1 ‘Once a priest, always a priest’ is a fundamental belief among Catholics. But that tenet may be tested as bishops consider firing hundreds of priests.

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