Fake bishop tries to crash secret Vatican meeting

The imposter was wearing a cassock that was too short, black sneakers and a purple sash that turned out to be a scarf.

A man pretending to be a bishop was escorted out of a Catholic cardinals meeting in Rome  Monday by Swiss Guards after he tried to sneak into the closed-door gathering.

Ralph Napierski, a self-appointed bishop from what is reportedly a fictional order called Corpus Dei, was initially able to get past the Swiss Guards but was stopped before entering the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, where the cardinals were meeting, The Telegraph reported.

Napierski was dressed in fake ecclesiastical robes, including a purple sash, which turned out to be a scarf on closer inspection, The Telegraph said.

The Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud reported that the "bishop," whom they said was apparently Australian, was wearing a cassock that was too short, an unusual chain with a crucifix and black sneakers.

A photo taken of Napierski shows him shaking hands with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana, president emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See and a member of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta.

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According to The Telegraph, Napierski was smiling for photographers while mingling with more than 140 cardinals as they entered the hall to discuss the challenges facing the Vatican and potential candidates for the next pope.

Instead of wearing a red skull cap, a distinctive feature of elderly cardinals, Napierski is shown in the picture wearing a black fedora-style hat with a rim.

He told reporters that his name was "Basilius" and that he was a member of the "Italian Orthodox Church," which does not exist, Agence France-Presse reported.

Before being discovered as an imposter, he told reporters that Catholic bishops had "made a mistake by moving priests" accused of child abuse to different parishes.

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Napierski claims on his blog that the Corpus Dei is a Catholic order that he founded.

"Bishop Ralph is a slave and apostle like St. Paul," Napierski says on his blog.

He also says that he "comes out of a tribe of the Roman Catholic Church that is fighting the Heresy and false movements inside the Roman Catholic Church."

Napierski claims to have invented "a system to enable persons to control computers with the power of thoughts." He calls himself "an information activist and hacker for information freedom and information security."

Napierski also promotes something called "Jesus Yoga," and has a series of YouTube videos on it.

Twitter was buzzing with comments on the fake bishop right after the news broke.

"The fake pope can be recognized by his high top sneakers and extremely foul mouth," tweeted one user going by Simpsons Quotes.

Others called for a "fake pope" reality show.

 

 

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