Sidelined Philippine priest sorry after hoverboard Mass stunt

The priest is seen in the video riding a hoverboard while celebrating Christmas Eve Mass.
The priest is seen in the video riding a hoverboard while celebrating Christmas Eve Mass.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

MANILA (AFP) - The Philippine Catholic Church has apologised after a priest was filmed riding a hoverboard in church while celebrating Christmas Eve Mass.

In clips that have gone viral on YouTube and social media sites, a middle-aged man in a white cassock sings a Christmas song while riding a self-balancing electric scooter between packed pews.

The diocese of San Pablo said the priest rode the hoverboard inside his Miraculous Medal church in the town of Binan, about 30km south of Manila, "as a way of greeting his parishioners".

"That was wrong. The Eucharist demands utmost respect and reverence... it is the Church's highest form of worship," the diocese said.

Its statement was released to AFP on Wednesday by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, which named the priest as Father Albert San Jose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tgIjJ2exZM

"Consequently, it is not a personal celebration where one can capriciously introduce something to get the attention of the people," the statement added.

"The priest said that it was a wake-up call for him; he acknowledged that his action was not right and promised that it will not happen again.

"He will be out of the parish and will spend some time to reflect on this past event," it said, adding the priest also offered an apology.

The Philippines is a conservative bastion of the Catholic Church in Asia, the only state outside the Vatican to ban divorce. About 80 per cent of its 100 million people are members of the faith.