Fr George David “One-Percenter” Byers


99% of those who like donkeys are law-abiding citizens. And then there’s Father Byers. O.K., so, that’s to misquote a 1947 backfired American Motorcyclist Association statement that was supposed to defend motorcyclists, but was used by all others to say that one in a hundred motorcyclists are criminals.

The other day, besides being compared by way of hubris to Peter Abelard (and I’m proud of that, of course) it was also said about yours truly that if I were to wear a bandanna and wear a leather jacket, I would surely be mistaken to be a one-percenter motorcycle gang member to be most feared. It was insisted that those attending my Mass are likely to say, and have said, that I provide quite a specter-esque appearance (I’m kind of a big guy), but that, ha ha, that perception disappears the second I open my mouth for the homily and begin to speak of the goodness and kindness and truth of Jesus who loves us so very much.

The two just don’t seem to go together, this being a kind of grotesque and monstrous creature. But I contend that this is exactly the way it is supposed to be and is most instructive to all and sundry and quite a consolation that such uncouth and otherwise uncustomary appearance might at the same time bear the death of Jesus within.

It is an honor to be considered among the one-percenters. After all, Jesus Himself was accounted as a criminal, and put to death as the worst of all possible criminals. Oh, and, by the way, we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God by way of original sin and whatever else. But knowing that, admitting that, being convinced of that opens us up to being beckoned for forgiveness by the Mother of Him who makes all things new:


More than one percent of us criminals can be on our way to heaven if we but go to Confession. Just in time for Advent and the beginning of a new liturgical year.


Filed under Father Byers Autobiography

4 responses to “Fr George David “One-Percenter” Byers

  1. pelerin

    Your comment Father about what would happen if you wore a leather jacket reminded me of the story told by the French Priest, Guy Gilbert, who I had the privilege of hearing speak in Lourdes several years ago. He is instantly recognisable as he always wears a ‘blouson noir’ – black leather jacket – covered with badges.( He also wears large rings on his fingers and has long hair.) He has spent his life working with troubled youngsters and feels that they accept him more readily when he is dressed like them.

    Pere Gilbert tells it in his book ‘Coeur de Pretre, coeur de Feu’:-
    ” I get on the metro and sit down on the only seat available next to an elderly lady who is peacefully reading. She senses my presence and immediately puts her handbag on the other side.

    ‘Don’t worry, I said, I have not come to steal your handbag.’ …. I glance at what she is reading. It was ‘Un pretre chez les loubards’ my new book which had just been published!. ‘Interesting read’ I said. ‘What’s it got to do with you?’ she replied. ‘Because I wrote it!’
    She turned and looked at me, recognised me, apologised and replaced her handbag on my side! We chatted for the rest of the journey.”

  2. pelerin

    Still on the subject of how priests dress I remember on one occasion when in Lourdes I was sitting in a cafe just about to enjoy a coffee and cake. A man entered wearing a rather garish orange t shirt and sat down at my table. I must have looked apprehensive as he then said ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to pinch your cake. Je suis pretre!! I would never have guessed by what he was wearing!

  3. sanfelipe007

    This is very off-topic. I just read that a herd of boars overran an Isis position.

    Divine intervention? Or hoax?

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