• Germany edition
 
German fake bishop infiltrates Vatican
Photo:DPA

German fake bishop infiltrates Vatican

Published: 05 Mar 2013 16:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 05 Mar 2013 16:11 GMT+01:00

The imposter, who specializes in ecclesiastical disguises, introduced himself as "Basilius," and mingled with priests and cardinals gathered in the Holy City.

Before he was discovered, the man reportedly proclaimed that Catholic bishops had not dealt adequately with priests accused of child abuse.

"Basilius," whose real name is Ralph Napierski, managed to fool many, including cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana with whom he posed for a photograph. But keener observers noticed that he was wearing an unusually short cassock and a purple shawl rather than the trademark sash, as well as sporting a ring on the wrong finger.

Matthias Kopp, spokesman of the German Bishops' Conference told the Bild newspaper that the man was not listed in the Annuario Pontificio, the Pontifical Yearbook.

"The man only made himself a laughing stock worldwide," Stefan Förner, spokesman for the Berlin archdiocese said on Tuesday. The Church will not however be pursuing legal action against him as the title of bishop is not a legally protected term.

Napierski has a history of dressing up as church personalities. He claims to be part of an order in Berlin known as "Corpus Dei," as well as the "Independent Catholic Mission."

DPA/The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:20 March 5, 2013 by simski
That guy is my new hero. Obviously Stefan Förner, spokesman for the Berlin archdiocese, failed to recognize who was made a laughing stock here.
18:37 March 5, 2013 by Bigfoot76
"The man only made himself a laughing stock worldwide, Stefan Förner," Actually I think he made the Vatican even more of a laughing stock than it already is. They are having a rough decade in Rome.
18:42 March 5, 2013 by lucksi
"Before he was discovered, the man reportedly proclaimed that Catholic bishops had not dealt adequately with priests accused of child abuse."

Well, if you say stuff like that, it's no wonder you were discovered.
20:12 March 5, 2013 by raandy
yes fure sure , that was a red flag, why would he ask that?
20:28 March 5, 2013 by Bulldawg82
This dude rocks!!!!!
02:38 March 6, 2013 by Eric1
Silly man.
07:54 March 6, 2013 by ranjith54
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:16 March 6, 2013 by Zubair Khan
Dude should have studied more deeply how Bishops dress up properly.
14:58 March 6, 2013 by bwjijsdtd
So much for the Vatican security ... wonder who will lose their job over this little foul up ...
10:06 March 8, 2013 by TallGuy
Aren't bishops generally in a state of undress?
14:49 March 8, 2013 by Darra
"The man only made himself a laughing stock worldwide," Stefan Förner, spokesman for the Berlin archdiocese said on Tuesday.

Actually, no. We are not laughing AT him, we are laughing WITH him.

And may we see the photofraphs, please?
Today's headlines
Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?
Coming soon? Photo: DPA

Fourth time lucky for free Berlin WiFi?

Berlin's bid to set up a free city-wide wireless network has so far come to nothing. But city bosses are now trying for a fourth time - and hope to have the project running next year. READ  

Opinion
Do German unions have too much power?
Lufthansa passengers rush to change their flights at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

Do German unions have too much power?

Germany's pilots and train drivers are taking it in turns to bring the country to a standstill with strikes that have cost the economy tens of millions of euros in the last two weeks. Are unions abusing their power or standing up for their rights? READ  

Older workers can have extra days off, court says
Photo: Workers in a German shoe factory. Photo: DPA

Older workers can have extra days off, court says

Older workers in Germany are allowed more time off than younger ones, a court ruled on Tuesday, saying the difference was not discriminatory. READ  

Expat's family battles for answers four years on
Matthew Fitzpatrick died in 2010 in Mannheim. Photo: Fitzpatrick family

Expat's family battles for answers four years on

In 2010 an Irish computer engineer was found dead in his apartment in Baden-Württemberg. Four years on, his family are still pressing the German justice system for answers. They feel badly let down by police who they say have refused to examine evidence of foul play. READ  

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret
The judges of the Supreme Court announce their decision about weapons exports on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Court: Germany can keep arms deals secret

The government can keep arms deals secret and only tell the public about them after contracts have been signed, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. READ  

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Tourist finds €7,500 instead of cheesecake

Just how honest would you have to be to return €7,500 that you found in a box supposed to contain your favourite cheesecake? READ  

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel
Photo: DPA

Tanker fills up gas station with wrong fuel

Around 160 car owners are stuck after a gas station's storage tanks were filled with the wrong fuel, causing an estimated €100,000 in damage. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 1,500 flights

UPDATE: In the second day of their strike, Lufthansa pilots have, as promised, extended their industrial action to include long-haul international flights until the end of Tuesday. READ  

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts
Chancellor Angela Merkel in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. Photo: DPA

Merkel tells allies to pay Ukraine's gas debts

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called on Ukraine's allies to help the war-scarred nation pay off its gas debts to Russia, amid concern over gas supplies this winter. READ  

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force
Frank-Walter Steinmeier speaks at the World Health Summit in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier wants epidemic task force

At the World Health Summit in Berlin, the Ebola crisis took centre stage at talks meant to create plans for how to handle future outbreaks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,478
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd