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article imageSpanish priest flamenco dances from the pulpit (Video)

By Anne Sewell     Jul 28, 2014 in Odd News
For those who think the Catholic church is, well, a bit stuffy, news comes from the southern Spanish city of Málaga of a flamenco dancing priest, attracting new followers to his church in an unusual way.
José Planas Moreno, 66, is known as Father Pepe to his parishioners and is no ordinary and everyday Roman Catholic priest.
Recently interviewed by the local daily newspaper, Diario Sur, Moreno said, “They say if you pray singing its worth two prayers, so if you pray while dancing it must be worth three.”
What Father Pepe does to attract new visitors to his church is to challenge female churchgoers to a literal flamenco face-off, and he does it so well, as can be seen in the video above.
The video was uploaded to YouTube on July 23, and so far the comments are positive, ranging from "Me encanto. Fabuloso!" (I love it. Fabulous!) to "Olé Pepe con tu arte en la parroquia viva tu" (Bravo Pepe, with your art you keep the parish alive).
Spain used to be a devoutly religious country, but these days things are changing. In 2010, a government study run by CIS showed that 50 percent of the country’s young people no longer considered themselves Catholic. Even the church itself admits that only about 15 percent of Catholics regularly attend mass.
However, Father Pepe, born to a gypsy mother, was one of 3,000 "gitanos" who danced for Pope John Paul II back in 1997 to celebrate the beatification of the patron saint of Romany people: Ceferino Giménez Malla.
He now offers much more than the traditional Catholic church services, which are unpopular with the average Spaniard as being outdated and old-fashioned. He has brought back fun, life and interest to the church.
Speaking of the "Sevillanas" (a Spanish dance with its roots in flamenco) that he dances, he says, “I love it, it brings me closer to God.”
"All the women are waiting to see who comes out to dance with me and there is always someone who does," he added.
While on the whole, Father Pepe's dancing appears to be a positive influence, an additional video of the dancing below drew more negative comments, such as "This is not the place":
Spanish sources:
Diario Sur 1
Diario Sur 2
More about flamenco, sevillanas, Catholic priest, Father pepe, Malaga
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