This film is part of Free

The Option

Terence McDonald throws some light on the nature, need and direction the priesthood is taking in Northern Ireland during the sixties.

Documentary 1965 18 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Northern Ireland Screen


The Option explores the shifting attitudes towards the priesthood through a series of interviews. Listen to voices from the congregation and clergy to discover their beliefs and doubts about this vocation. Is it time for the Church to change its attitude towards celibacy, marriage and women? Do people in the 1960s believe there still a need for priests and if so what qualities make a man suited for this challenging life in service?

Terence McDonald (1926 – 2001) was a teacher, film historian, film collector and a pioneering amateur filmmaker from Derry. He made 35 films in his lifetime covering a wide range of themes such as mental health, travelling theatre, and portraits of his home town, Derry. His playful fiction films often pay homage to classic cinema moments from Peyton Place to Potemkin, from Chaplin to Jacques Tati. Terence McDonald undertook all aspects of production - filming, sound recording and editing and produced a body of remarkably sophisticated work. This film is courtesy of his son Peter McDonald.