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Ear to the Ground

A Fake Bishop Walks Into the Vatican and ...

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Posted on Mar 5, 2013
Wikimedia Commons / valyag

It might seem like the start of a hilarious joke, but Monday a man pretending to be a bishop really did try to sneak his way into the secret meetings Catholic cardinals are holding at the Vatican to decide who will become the next pope.

And despite the fact that he was wearing a cassock that was too short, he almost—almost—managed to infiltrate the super secret gathering.

The prankster, identified as Ralph Napierski, made it through at least one level of security and even managed to get photos snapped with Italian Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president emeritus of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, before he was caught.

USA Today:

Napierski was 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. He was accompanied by a small entourage of fake priest assistants, according to some Italian news reports.

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.

...Napierski was stopped by security before he was able to enter the auditorium hosting the meetings. It is not clear what his intentions were in trying to enter the meetings.

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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