The Catholic Church in France has initiated an unusual donation campaign; a parody video offering its finest priests up for 'adoption' – for a small fee, of course.
Launched by six dioceses in Normandy, with the aim of appealing to the younger generations, the campaign hopes to increase donations – one of the main sources of income for the Church.
The video, which has been viewed almost 40,000 times since its release on Thursday, is a parody of French dating site www.adoptunmec.com; or 'adopt a guy', and features a handsome priest who is reportedly "impossible to resist" and "available, even on a Sunday", that is; according to the softly spoken, smooth-talking female voiceover.
It's a marked departure from the Catholic Church's usual, formal, presentation.
As the young priest in question is shown turning to the camera with a shy smile and opening his hands invitingly, viewers are told he is always willing to listen, a source of peace and – best of all – "one hundred percent divine".
The joke doesn't stop there, either. Upon visiting www.adoptuncuré.com, offers include particularly attractive "young seminarians", reduced shipping fees – accompanied by a picture of a dashing young priest sitting in a cardboard box - and a half-price retired church leader who we are assured is "still very active". Clicking on any of these promotions, or an intriguing tab labelled "catch of the day", however, brings a pop up which reads "to support the mission of your priest, instead of adopting, give today!"
It's obviously a tongue-in-cheek effort to engage a younger audience with the depleting Catholic Church, which has faced rapidly falling numbers across France in recent years. French magazine Le Point reports that of 3.4 million Catholics in Normandy, only 80,000 regularly donate to the Church; a figure which is expected to decrease even further.
Suggested options on the site include donating €50 for priest's clothing, €100 to pay for a day's mission or even €130 towards training.
"The diocese wanted to modernise the image of the church's annual donation drive by targeting 18 to 40 year olds," the deputy bishop of Calvados, Xavier Signargout, told Le Point.
"The humour allows us to mention the collection in a funny way."
It's not the first time that Christians have parodied a dating site. Tripp and Tyler, a US based comedy duo, recently released two videos entitled "Christian Tingle" – poking fun at the Christian dating scene. Check one of them out below: