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Diocese of Salford
Salford Diocese.jpg
Diocese of Salford
UK News

Salford priest criticised for riding motorbike whilst spraying holy water at funeral of teen

by Premier Journalist

A church leader in Salford has come under fire after riding on the back of a dirt bike whilst scattering holy oil at a funeral for a young person killed on an e-bike.

Mourners gathered to pay their respects to 15-year-old Saul Cookson, from Salford, who died in a collision with an ambulance whilst riding an e-bike in June.

The funeral was conducted by Fr Frankie Mulgrew, at St James and All Souls RC Church in Pendleton.

Reports suggest up to 30 people may have been riding motorbikes, and videos show Fr Mulgrew riding on the back of one of the vehicles in his clerical robes.

A viral video of the comic-turned-priest has caused division online, with some saying it was an inappropriate way of marking the passing of the young teen.

One person said: “Aren’t priests meant to be real pillars of the community and not supporting this type of behaviour. Hopefully GMP give him a ticket for failing to wear a helmet.”

Another accused the Church of using the occasion to ‘try and keep themselves relevant”

However, others say it was the perfect goodbye.

One said: “I give Manchester a lot of stick, but what a city.”

Responding to the event, a Diocese of Salford Spokesperson said: “On Tuesday 11th July following a funeral, one of our clergy blessed funeral goers who had been in attendance. 

“The blessing took place on the back of an off-road bike. At the time he viewed this interaction as a gesture of outreach.

“The way this blessing took place is not what we would expect from a member of our clergy and conversations have already taken place regarding the incident.

“We do not condone under any circumstances the anti-social behaviour that took place in the local community that day.

“We will continue to work in this community as we do across Greater Manchester with all the local agencies to support community cohesion.”

 During the service, the priest reportedly encouraged mourners to do a kind deed in memory of the teenager over the coming week.

However, his death has been marred by violent outbreaks towards the police force, including fireworks thrown at a local station.

The circumstances of Saul’s death have been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to the involvement of officers following the e-bike prior to his death, before allegedly parting ways as Saul made his way through a bollard system.

Premier has reached out to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford for comment.

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