Although he's only onscreen for a few minutes, we think this character deserves separate mention. Gene Hackman begged for this uncredited role in the movie and, in our humble opinion, he almost runs off with it. Being blind, the priest doesn't see a grotesque monster. He's a lonely hermit who just sees another lonely soul and accepts him totally. In the original movie, this scene is played for total pathos. We're getting choked up just thinking about it.
Hackman manages to keep the pathos and drench it with comedy. The priest can't do anything right despite his kindly intentions. He spills soup on the monster, shatters his wine glass, and startles him with fire. As the monster runs off, the priest begs him to come back for espresso; the camera crew almost spit out their espressos when Hackman ad-libbed this line and had to stop the filming right there. In the original film the priest represented the nonjudgmental acceptance that the misunderstood monster didn't get from the townspeople. In this version, he's played as a kind of misguided liberal do-gooder.