Father Tim Farley is highly popular with his parishioners due to his charm, wit, easy-going manner, and entertaining (but un-challenging) sermons. One Sunday, seminarian Mark Dolson interrupts Farley's sermon to challenge his stance on the ordination of women. The pastor is outraged yet intrigued by the young man, and asks to have him assigned to work with him.
Dolson is a firebrand eager to change the Church. He enjoys attacking Farley's "song and dance theology" and questioning why he drinks so much. Dolson feels it's his job to shake parishioners out of their complacency. Farley likes Dolson, but sees that he'll never succeed as a priest if all he does is irritate people and make enemies. Each man has something to teach the other about how to perform his priestly duties.