I kissed the students to add human touch to the appreciation; I’m sorry – Anglican Priest
The Anglican priest at the centre of the widely-condemned public kissing of the three teacher trainees at the St. Monica’s College of Education, Rev. Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi, has apologised for his actions.
Rev. Father Balthazar Obeng Larbi, the Chaplain, and lawyer of the all-female teacher trainee institution was seen in a viral video fully dressed in his cassock, force-kissing three students in turns, in the full glare of a cheering audience.
In one instance, he was seen gesturing to one of the girls, who appeared very uncomfortable with the move, to take off her face mask before holding her head and giving her a kiss on the lips.
The Chaplain in a statement issued on Thursday, August 19, 2021, said, “my attention has been drawn to a video that has been flashed on a number of social media and television screens, and on radio and other media stations. This unfortunate incident happened during a Church Service in appreciation of the Level 300 students, who would be going for their Macro Teaching (Off-Campus Teaching Practice) when College resumed the next academic year, by the College’s Chaplaincy Board.”
He noted that the three students seen in the video performed extraordinarily well and were therefore called to be appreciated by him.
“An attempt to add a human touch resulted in the scene in the video,” he explained.
“Accordingly, I am sincerely sorry for my actions seen in the video. I seemed to have taken a number of things for granted. I did not think my behaviour through, and I admit that the act and its setting are wrong even in the absence of Covid-19.”
He further apologised to the leadership of the church for the embarrassment his actions has caused.
“I sincerely apologise to my Archbishop, the entirety of the Anglican Communion, the College, the affected students and their families, and the generality of the public.”
“I pray for forgiveness from all and sundry and plead that you hold me in your prayers during these trying times. May God bless us all.”
The viral video, shot by someone in the audience, generated outright condemnation on social media, although a few people jumped to the Reverend father’s defence, describing his action as a ‘holy kiss’.
However, the Anglican Church of Ghana, which runs the St. Monica’s College of Education, has expressed its aversion to the incident, maintaining that it has begun its own internal investigation into the matter.
Even before that investigation concludes, the Rev. Father has been relieved of his duties at the school indefinitely.