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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Fake bishop crashes pre-conclave Vatican

Bishop Basilius, Ralph Napierski, Roman Catholic Church, Italian Orthodox Church, Vatican, conclave, Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana
"One of these is not like the others.  One of these
just doesn't belong."
No matter your religious persuasion (even my Catholic friends are finding this hilarious) you gotta admit that this is pretty funny!

On Monday a man identifying himself as "Bishop Basilius" of the Italian Orthodox Church arrived at the Vatican supposedly to attend the meetings in advance of the conclave of cardinals which will elect the successor of Benedict XVI, who stepped down from the papacy last week.

The problem is, there is no such thing as the "Italian Orthodox Church".  But that's not what aroused the suspicion of the Swiss Guard.  It was mostly because Bishop Basilius was wearing a cassock that was too short, black tennis shoes, a "strange-looking chain" holding his crucifix, and a purple scarf around his waist instead of the traditional sash.

Oh yeah, and he also donned a black fedora.

Basilius - who claimed to represent an organization called "Corpus Dei" - was already past the security checkpoint and found shaking hands with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana when the Swiss Guard apprehended him.  "Basilius" turned out to be in fact Ralph Napierski, a German citizen who apparently has a long history of pranking and mocking the Roman Catholic Church (he also lists himself as a practitioner of "Jesus yoga").

Click here for more about the strange but true tale of Bishop Basilius.

Of course this isn't the first time that someone has impersonated high-ranking members of the Catholic clergy...
The Simpsons, Kent Brockman, phony pope, high-top sneakers, incredibly foul mouth
"Authorities say the phony pope
can be identified by his high-top sneakers,
and incredibly foul mouth."