Filipino priest on hoverboard suspended by church
- 30 December 2015
- From the section Asia
A Filipino priest has been suspended by diocese authorities, after video of him gliding around church on a hoverboard during Christmas Eve mass went viral.
The priest, who has not been named, can be seen sailing up and down aisles as churchgoers in Laguna province applaud.
"That was wrong," the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo said in a statement on its Facebook page.
It said he greeted people and sang a Christmas song on the hoverboard and he was now out of the parish to "reflect".
"The Eucharist demands utmost respect and reverence. It is the Church's highest form of worship, not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get attention," the diocese statement said.
It added that the priest saw the incident as a "wake up call".
A version of the video was uploaded by traditionalist Catholic group Novus Ordo onto its Facebook page and was widely shared, but it has drawn a mixed reaction on Facebook.
"Complete and total disrespect not only for the Lord but also for the salvation of all those poor souls," said Scott LaLonde. "To top it off he couldn't even sing."
Filipino Catholic Romy Vicente said the incident was "ridiculous". "How can you meditate if you see this happening inside the church where holy mass is going on?"
Other users showed support for the priest and applauded his "fun spirit".
"This is actually fun," said Rob Trainor from Canada. "I am Roman Catholic but not a practising one that attends Mass regularly. If there were more priests like this one, I may be tempted to return to mass. If people keep calling for traditions, you will lose even the most ardent Catholics."
"Doing a sermon from a hoverboard was a great way to show how Catholic church is making strides in entering the new era," commented another Facebook user Mark Lewis.
The Philippines is the third largest Christian country on earth, with an estimated 80 million Catholics.
With 81% of the population defining themselves as Catholic, the country's culture and society has been closely intertwined with the teaching of the church. Laws in the country are also often framed around traditional Catholic values.
Reporting by Heather Chen.