• Germany's news in English

German fake bishop infiltrates Vatican

The Local · 5 Mar 2013, 16:11

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.

Story continues below…

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd