Two Catholic priests in Rome have sent the internet into a frenzy on Thursday as a video of them tap dancing has gone viral on social media sites.

Their newly found fame follows the recent case of an Italian nun, whose impressive singing voice meant she won the Italian edition of The Voice and a record contract.

In the video, Rev David Rider, 29, of New York and Rev John Gibson, 28, of Milwaukee, have a 'dance off', with Rider showing off his tap skills before Gibson steals the show with a lively Irish jig.

Over the course of the video the pair battle it out, attempting to impress the crowd with their footwork.

Rome based journalist Joan Lewis recorded the event from the back of the room and later posted it on YouTube. This is not the first time the men have made the news. They were filmed in April doing a similar routine during a fundraiser at the North American College near the Vatican.

"All of a sudden the numbers started rising and rising," Lewis told The Associated Press. The video has nearly 260,000 views.

The internet fame has been compared to Sister Cristina Scuccia, who won the Italian edition of The Voice in June this year with a series of pop songs performed in full habit. Her first album features a cover of Madonna's 'Like a Virgin'.

But the online popularity of all three has been met with criticism by some who have said their performances are "disrespectful". Commenters on YouTube said the priests should not have been dancing under a crucifix and beneath the painting of Pope Francis.