What if he had been elected pope?

An imposter dressed as a bishop tried to get into the meetings being held at the Vatican prior to the papal conclave. Using easily obtainable clothing such as a fedora hat and a purple winter scarf, he managed to look enough like a bishop to fool at least some people.

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Wearing a makeshift bishop costume, he arrived at the Vatican with an entourage of fake clerics, even posing for photos with a real cardinal.

He then made it past at least one level of security before being stopped outside the Sistine Chapel.

The impostor was identified by Italian news agency ANSA as Ralph Napierski. He is a German who said he is part of a non-existent Catholic institution called Corpus Dei (a play on “Opus Dei,” a real Catholic group).

Napierski milled around the area outside the meetings for half an hour with no problems. He told onlookers his name was Basilius and that he was a bishop in the Italian Orthodox Church, which does not exist.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, would not comment on Napierski’s alleged attempt to enter the congregations. “All I can say is that everyone seated for the congregation is a real cardinal,” he said.

At least, that’s what Lombardi thinks, bwa-ha-ha!


  1. machintelligence says

    Wellll…If he is Catholic and a male, he has all of the necessary qualifications.

  2. Randomfactor says

    Ah, good. They caught the decoy. The maskirovka is working.

    Just wait till they announce Stephen Colbert as the new Pope…

  3. Anthony K says

    “All I can say is that everyone seated for the congregation is a real cardinal.”

    I really wish he’d tweeted that.

    And then moulted.

  4. Mano Singham says

    I had never heard of this film. I read the link you provided and was surprised at the controversy. I think that there might be less of a fuss now. Interestingly, according to IMDb, the film’s title was changed to The Pope Must Diet!

  5. Corvus illustris says

    Um … do you have information about Herr Napierski not available to the public? Some of his qualifications might have to be checked, for the Romans take Dt 23,1-2 as prohibiting the ordination of certain men. (In that quaint 17th c. translation beloved of some: “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation … “.)

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