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Catholic Church reprimands priest for using hoverboard during Christmas Eve Mass

A Catholic priest in the Philippines sought to bring a little levity to his Mass by briefly using a hoverboard during Christmas mass. But church officials in the conservative Asian country were not amused.

The Philippine Catholic Church has apologized 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 30 kilometers (19 miles) 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.

In its statement on Wednesday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines identified the priest as Father Albert San Jose.

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

Some members of the surprised congregation applaud as he pivots and moves backward.

"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," the statement continued. "He will be out of the parish and will spend some time to reflect on this past event."

The priest has also offered an apology.

Philippine church officials have urged priests to live simply and humbly as they minister to the poor, especially under the leadership of Pope Francis, who is known for his frugal lifestyle.

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

bik/jil (AP, dpa)

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