A priest in Maryland has apologised after videos surfaced online of him throwing mourners out of his church before the start of a funeral, after someone accidentally knocked over and broke a chalice.
Fr Michael Briese was recorded on numerous mobile phones arguing with people just a few feet away from where the body of Agnes Hicks, 54, lay in repose in an open casket.
The family is then seen carrying the casket out of the church only to be joined by police officers that the family claim were called by Briese.
Briese from St Mary's Parish in Newport wrote a public apology to the family that he was sorry, adding: "Two minutes can change a life.
"In an emergency medical situation, two minutes can save a life. But can two minutes erase a quarter-century of a person's life and commitment to serving and caring for his community and those entrusted to his care? I hope not."
Hicks and her family were eventually escorted to another location for the funeral Mass, which was performed by another priest.
WATCH: cell phone video inside Maryland church shows heated argument between Pastor and family laying their loved one to rest. Pastor kicked family and hundreds of attendees out of funeral because someone knocked over and damaged church’s sacred cup @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/MYQEybFYm3— Anjali Hemphill (@AnjaliHemphill) June 28, 2018
In an interview with Fox 5, Hicks' daughter Shanice Chisely said the priest had "disrespected our family, he disrespected my mother. He called my mother 'a thing'.
"He said, 'get this thing out of my church! Everyone get the hell out of my church!' It was very sad. I've never seen anything like that before," she claimed.
The Archdiocese of Washington has also issued a formal apology.
"What occurred at St Mary's Parish this morning does not reflect the Catholic Church's fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person nor does that incident represent the pastoral approach the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington commit to undertake every day in their ministry," it states.
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