A newly appointed parish priest has come under fire for allowing 50 children to pull him through the streets of a Maltese town in a convertible Porsche 

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said: “It was a tradition in certain Gozitan villages for the new parish priest to be paraded through the streets of the parish in a vehicle that was often pulled by the locality’s children”

RT reports: Fr John Sultana, who this week was named the new parish priest for Gozitan community, Malta, was honored with a traditional parade by local followers. However, the pastor’s use of a rather luxurious vehicle and manner in which he was heralded into his new role has drawn widespread criticism.

Footage showing Fr Sultana standing inside a convertible Porsche as lines of children pulled the Porsche Boxster through the streets of Żebbuġ has been labelled by some as “crass” and unbefitting of a representative of the Catholic Church.

However, Fr Sultana has suggested that the incident has been blown out of proportion and he hit out at comments criticising the event. A spokesperson for Gozo Curia, the Catholic Church in Malta, further added that the priest did not have a say in the finer details of the traditional priest parade.

The Catholic priest has found an ally in local councillor Sandra Grech, who defended Fr Sultana, adding that the “unique feast,” was welcomed by everyone in the town.

The joy has not been shared by people online, though. While the event has been explained as a tradition, commentators have lambasted the use of the car, as well as the fact children were filmed dragging the vehicle.

“The epitome of bad taste and crass ostentation,” said Facebook user Marlene Mizzi. “Disgusting, actually. What on earth were they thinking?”

A second commenter added: “This is wrong on so many levels.”

“What stupidity. Should have walked with the children,” another Facebook denizen added.