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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

Berlin's Roman Catholic Archdiocese has condemned a German charlatan for masquerading as a bishop and sneaking into the Vatican to fraternize with cardinals as they prepare to choose a new pope.

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)

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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?
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