Photo: YouTube Screengrab
With Cardinals in the Vatican for the upcoming papal conclave, things are a little tense in the Holy See.Thankfully security was on hand Monday, when a man pretending to be a bishop almost got into the Sistine Chapel, making it past at least one step of security.
According to USA Today, the man told people he was called “Basilius” and claimed he was a bishop in the (non-existent) Italian Orthodox Church. He apparently managed to convince some people he was a real bishop, even posing for a photo with Italian Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani.
However, USA Today reports that “Basilius had made some simple sartorial mistakes, such as “wearing a too-short cassock, a black fedora in place of a clergy’s skull cap and a bright purple-pink sash that turned out to be a simple winter scarf”. The Vatican’s security, the Swiss guard, caught the imposter before he made it in.
As he was led away, “Basilius” told reporters that Catholic bishops had “made a mistake by moving priests” who were accused of pedophilia around different parishes, according to AFP.
The imposter was later identified as a German man named Ralph Napierski. According to the Local, he claims to be part of an part of an order in Berlin known as “Corpus Dei,” apparently a play on “Opus Dei”, as well as the “Independent Catholic Mission.”
Napierski has something of an online presence. A YouTube account linked to his name offers spiritual advice, with Napierski surrounding himself with Catholic iconography and wearing the outfit of a priest. “Corpus Dei” has its own website, while German newspapers uncovered pictures of Napierski with a topless woman at a pornography conference.
On his personal blog, which features more photos of him posing with bishops, Napierski denies he was ever thrown out of the Vatican calling it the “scandal that never happened”.
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