Video of Irish-dancing priests in Rome goes viral

American clerics studying in seminary near Vatican become YouTube stars

American clerics studying in a seminary near Vatican have become YouTube stars. Video: Joan Lewis

 

A video of a pair of duelling, dancing American priests studying in Rome has gone viral.

The Rev David Rider (29), of New York, and the Rev John Gibson (28), of Milwaukee, shot to internet fame when they were filmed in April during a fundraiser at the North American College, the elite American seminary up the hill from the Vatican.

Rev Rider warmed up the crowd with a lively tap-dance routine, only to be pushed aside by Rev Gibson’s fast-footed Irish dance.

Soon they were battling it out to impress the crowd.

At the back of the room, journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event and later posted it on YouTube, where it has had more than 600,000 hits.

Their Internet success has drawn comparisons to Sr Cristina Scuccia, who won the Italian edition of The Voice in June with a series of unadorned pop song performances, in full habit. Her first album features a cover of Madonna’s Like a Virgin.

As with Sr Scuccia, the priests’ online popularity was tinged with criticism. Some commentators wrote that the priests shouldn’t have been dancing under a crucifix and a painting of Pope Francis, calling it “disrespectful.”

“We would just refer them to the Bible, where the Lord tells us to live with joy,” said Rev Rider.

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