Catholic Church Suspends Filipino Priest for Using Hoverboard in Christmas Eve Mass
A Filipino priest who used a hoverboard during Christmas Eve mass has been suspended by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Pablo for "disrespecting" the Eucharist, reports have said.
GMA News reported that the priest, Fr. Albert San Jose of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Biñan, Laguna, was recorded on video moving around on a hoverboard during Christmas Eve mass last week.
The video went viral, but his choice of entertainment was condemned by the Diocese of San Pablo, which later announced that the priest will be "spending some time" alone to reflect on the incident.
"That was wrong," the diocese said of the incident on Facebook.
"The Eucharist demands utmost respect and reverence. It is the Memorial of the Lord's Sacrifice. It is the source and summit of Christian life. It is the Church's highest form of worship. 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 has apparently apologized for what happened, saying that it was a "wake up call for him," and promises that such a thing will not happen again.
"He will be out of the parish and will spend some time to reflect on this past event. He would like to apologize for what happened," the diocese added.
BBC News noted that a version of the video was uploaded online by traditionalist Catholic group Novus Ordo, which asserted that the priest's actions were a "complete and total disrespect not only for the Lord but also for the salvation of all those poor souls."
"To top it off he couldn't even sing," the group added.
Other social media users have defended San Jose, however, arguing that the use of the hoverboard in church is "actually fun."
"I am Roman Catholic but not a practicing 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," said Rob Trainor from Canada.
Close to 82.9 percent of the Filipino population identifies as Catholic, according to the CIA Factbook.
A report by the Archdiocese of Manila in October said that churches are recruiting new priests to to deal with a "three-fold" increase in exorcism requests and reported demonic possessions in the country, a practice tied to Catholic beliefs.