A child abuse protester has dressed up as a bishop and tried to infiltrate a meeting of cardinals at the Vatican.
Ralph Napierski, who claimed to be a bishop from the order Corpus Dei, managed to get through a checkpoint manned by Swiss Guards but was stopped before entering the Paul VI Hall, where the cardinals were gathering.
According to The Telegraph in London, Mr Napierski dressed in fake bishop's vestments, complete with a purple sash and smiled to photographers as he mixed with more than 140 cardinals from around the world as they filed into the hall to discuss the challenges facing the Church and possible papal candidates.
On closer inspection the sash turned out to be a scarf and unlike the elderly cardinals, who wore their distinctive red skull caps, the impostor wore a black fedora, The Telegraph reports.
He posed for photographs, shaking hands with Cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana, an Italian who is president emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See and a member of the Sovereign Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta, a charitable Catholic organisation.
When outed after someone noticed the purple scarf, Mr Napierski was escorted from the meeting by Swiss Guards.
He said that he was a member of the "Italian Orthodox Church", which does not exist, and said the Catholic Church had made grave errors by allowing priests accused of child abuse to move around different parishes, The Telegraph said.
On his website, Mr Napierski claims that he is a founder of the Corpus Dei Catholic order and describes himself as "a slave and apostle like St. Paul". His blog claims that "bishop" Napierski "comes out of a tribe of the Roman Catholic Church that is fighting the heresy and false movements inside the Roman Catholic Church".
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