Of the two priests, Padre José is the true coward. He took vows to serve Christ unto death, but forsakes the faith to save his own skin. He married—in further violation of his vows. His life now is one of shame and regret and continued cowardice. Sounds like a party.
He could be a martyr, but chooses otherwise. He can't even bring himself to hear the whisky priest's confession, despite admitting to himself that he remains a priest whatever his broken promises. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, dude.