Spain's flamenco priest wins new fans for church
Alex Dunham · 28 Jul 2014, 10:35
Published: 28 Jul 2014 10:35 GMT+02:00
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José Planas Moreno, or Father Pepe to his parishioners, is no ordinary Roman Catholic priest.
“They say if you pray singing its worth two prayers, so if you pray while dancing it must be worth three,” he told local daily Diario Sur.
Father Pepe’s unusual style of devotion involves challenging female churchgoers to a flamenco face-off.
Footage of this has been uploaded to YouTube over the past few days, with tens of thousands of views already and mixed reactions from commentators.
Over the past few years, Spain has turned from a religiously devout country into a more secular society.
A 2010 government study (CIS) found 50 percent of the country’s young people no longer considered themselves Catholic.
Even Spain’s church admits that only 15 percent of Catholics regularly go to mass.
Father Pepe however offers more than traditional church services which many Spaniards find outdated or too wooden.
“I love it, it brings me closer to God,” he says of the Sevillanas he dances, a southern Spanish dance with its roots in flamenco.
Born to a gypsy mother, Father Pepe was one of 3,000 ‘gitanos’, as Spain's gypsies are known, who danced in front of Pope John Paul II in 1997 to celebrate the beatification of the patron saint of Romany people: Ceferino Giménez Malla.