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Houston priest learning the sweet science

Houston priest learning the sweet science

Rev. Patrick Miller, rector of St. Mark’s, Houston, has been a student of boxing since 2007, and as the Houston Chronicle reports, he’s striving to integrate lessons learned in the ring with those acquired in the process of his work.

“Boxing is violent,” he acknowledged. “You’re hurting other people, trying to knock them out. It is the antithesis of what a priest is called to do. It is completely foreign to anything I’ve ever done in my life. But I’ve found the boxing gym to be a wisdom place.”


“I remember a guy got his nose busted. He was told, ‘You will feel better when that quits hurting,’?” said Miller, who lives with his family in West University. “Grief is the price you pay for loving. You think you’re going to grieve the rest of your life, but the pain will end.

“This is boxing. You do get hit,” he added. “If you miss a combination, you come up on the fist side of things. In the real world, you get hit with stuff you don’t expect.”

Rev. Miller’s story brings to mind Father Chalé Lopez, a clerical character in J.D. Robb’s Salvation in Death, who had twenty-two wins, six by knockout. Perhaps this blogger needs to read more Norman Mailer; do you know of any other boxing priests?


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Jeffrey L. Shy, M.D.

@ Ann Fontaine

I don’t want to come off as judgmental, but I am with you on this one. Boxing is quite risky for the nervous system.

I also would say that I think that the simple act of indulging in violent activities is probably harmful to our psychological makeup. Just looking at an angry face can provoke angry emotions in a person otherwise unconnected to that other individual. Anger is the very most reverberant and harmful of our emotional states. It is no wonder that Jesus warned us so strongly of its harmful effects.

I too took some martial arts classes some years ago at a Tae Kwon Do studio. It was taught by two physical therapists, and at first I enjoyed it. The “Tai chi” like “forms” that one learned along with controlled breathing were quite beneficial. This all began to fall apart when we added “sparring.” It became quickly clear to me that there were plenty of others there who enjoyed hitting and hitting hard. That sort of “thuggish” behavior rapidly put me off, and I dropped it not to long after that. Perhaps others can spar with a “purity of spirit” that is free of anger/aggression, but it was beyond me.


Sorry, thought it was there from the sign-in page.

mksclr = Mike Scolare


Boxing priests?

Check out

He’s on Twitter as well!

Mksclr — thanks for commenting – please sign your name next time. ~ed.


oops — sorry. Forgot to leave my full name: the Rev. Julie Murdoch


I took tae kwon do for years with my children, rising to the level of brown senior belt (next below black belt) before age and busyness stopped my lessons. Studying a martial art taught my kids and me a lot about self-control and discipline, and about collaborative learning. Sparring was an essential part of our instruction, but we learned that fighting is the last thing one wants to or should do in the real world. I suspect the same is true for boxing and any other martial art — which is not a bad lesson to learn.

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