This is the poster for the movie.  This image of TQ at a window encapsulates the essence of TQ.

The Trouble with TQ
Los Angeles Premiere
Documentary/USA/2014/63 minutes
Directed by Calvin Thomas, Jr.
English, with English subtitles

The Trouble with TQ

A character-driven film about the late Reverend Thomas J. Quinlan (“TQ”), “The Trouble with TQ” unfolds with the newly ordained TQ attacking apathy and spiritual complacency at his first parish with the renewal and reform of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  Using the Principle of Adaptation, TQ sets out to change the way Catholics celebrate the mass, making The Church relevant to Catholics and Catholics relevant to the world.  

Over 40+ years as a priest in numerous parishes in Virginia, TQ refined his use of the Principle of Adaptation through symbolism, pop culture and history, giving parishes the tools to lead change in the community. Even as efforts to blunt Vatican II reforms grew, TQ compelled parishes to take responsibility for their spiritual development and challenge clerical patriarchy.

“The Trouble with TQ” features TQ interviews from 2008 until 2011.   Historical photographs, animation, and archival documents put interviews into perspective to tell the story of a priest determined to wake up the congregation and put the teachings of Christ into action.



Director's Note

Federal Hill filmmaker Calvin Thomas tells stories close to his heart.  He founded Prodigal Altar Boy Films to tell the stories of little-known influencers, give them a voice and document their role in history.  Prodigal Altar Boy Films’ mission is to equip 21st Century Christians with the tools to connect contemporary culture to the Gospel and write the “New Parables.” 

The late Rev. Thomas J. Quinlan (known as “TQ”) was pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Norfolk, Virginia when Calvin was a teenager. TQ’s influence was the inspiration for “The Trouble with TQ,” his first documentary film. While TQ did not live to see the final film, he saw and approved key sequences of the movie. Days before he died, TQ’s last words to Calvin were, “Keep editing!”

TQ spent his entire career as a priest applying Vatican II’s Principle of Adaptation at the parishes he served.  Three books (“You Cannot Imprison The Word of The Lord,” “The Trouble with TQ” and “A Reluctant Malachi”) an art exhibit (“Visualizing a Visionary”) as well as the companion talk/presentation (“NOW is the Time”) by the director show audiences the Principle of Adaptation in action.