The alchemist Irish Priest, Father Shaughnessy, is an intolerant moralist who temporarily replaces Canon Matt Lavelle, whose legs have been paralyzed by a stroke. Father Shaughnessy forms a vigilance committee to stamp out sin, which in his view includes drinking, courting, and interfaith marriages. Through his committee he breaks up the engagement of schoolmaster Denis Dillon to a Protestant girl and discharges librarian Nora Fintry because she has been seen with a man.
Denis is intimidated, but Nora is determined to fight the priest. She and Denis fall in love, and through her Denis finds the strength to stand up to the priest. Inspector Toomey, who has tried to protect the secular rights of those oppressed by the vigilance committee, threatens to arrest the priest, and a mob gathers to prevent him from doing so. Then Canon Lavelle appears, miraculously walking. He calms his parishioners, sends them home, and rebukes Father Shaughnessy for his hot-headedness and ""spiritual snobbery.""
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