In The Copper Beech, Binchy uses Father Barry to stress the difficulty the Catholic Church has finding and keeping young priests who are willing to be celibate. Father Barry's strong belief in God and the need for good works make Barry a good candidate for the priesthood. Many Catholic men share Father Barry's enthusiasm for God and lack of enthusiasm for celibacy. Binchy is insinuating, quietly, that the Catholic Church should reconsider its stand on allowing priests to marry. In addition, Binchy's feminism surfaces in Nessa Ryan's and her mother's desire to run their own commercial establishment.