One of the major themes of “Midnight Mass” is just how dangerous religious faith can be. If it’s not treated carefully, faith can easily turn into extremism, with deadly results. And nobody exemplifies that better than Father Paul.
When Father Paul returns to Crockett Island, he begins feeding his parishioners the vampire’s blood in secret via their communion wine, and the vampire blood begins rejuvenating all of them. Father Paul claims this is all a gift from God, and most of the townspeople believe him, led by Bev (Samantha Sloyan). Soon, Bev comes to believe that Father Paul is the second coming of Jesus, and convinces herself that her mission is to spread the “miracle” to the rest of the world. Father Paul then watches in horror as Bev leads her faithful followers to massacre the townspeople who resist.
But Father Paul’s real motivation was a selfish one. In the final episode, he reveals that he had an affair with a local named Mildred (Alex Essoe), and fathered the town doctor, Sarah (Annabeth Gish). He fed his parishioners vampire blood so that Mildred would drink it and become younger, which would allow them to live the life they never had. When Father Paul finally comes clean and tries to stop Bev, it’s already too late. Bev declares him a false prophet, and he becomes another of her victims.
Father Paul’s real sin wasn’t the affair; it was thinking he could manipulate his followers’ faith without consequences. He might be somewhat sympathetic, but he’s still capable of heinous deeds, intentional or not.