THE PRIEST at the centre of a viral photograph depicting a baptism being delivered by water pistol has come clean with the truth behind the image.
Father Stephen Klasek, who is a pastor of St. Mark, and Saint Paul the Apostle in Tullahoma and priest of the Diocese of Nashville in the US, became the talk of the internet after an image purporting to show him squirting a small baby with what appeared to be Holy water was posted on social media.
While the image drew plenty of laughs from believers and non-believers alike, there was also criticism in some quarters, with Father Klasek accused of disrespecting the church and his own faith with his actions.
The priest has now sought to clarify the events surrounding the post, explaining that the image was staged and designed to elicit laughs from his congregation during a time of great sadness for the US.
Writing in a Facebook post after speaking with Father Klasek, Sain Mark Catholic Church of Manchester, Tennessee said
“The family had requested for him to do this pose as copied from several posts of priests circulating around the internet.
“He [ Father Klasek] agreed because he thought it was funny.”
He was also keen to stress that “the water in the water gun is not holy water and was squirted towards the dad and not the baby for humor impact.”
“Bottom line, it was meant to be for fun,” they added.
A priest of some 37 years, he sought to clarify the truth behind the photo after the parish was inundated with queries about it.
He also noted that a Twitter post featuring the photo had garnered millions of views as well as accompanying news stories and memes which, while on the whole had been positive, did feature some “controversial comments.”
Though Father Flasek’s was ultimately staged, there have been instances of priests blessing parishoners with water guns.
In Detroit, for example, Father Tim Pelc garnered worldwide news coverage after he was filmed squirting parishioners with a water pistol filled with Holy water.