In A Nutshell
Ralph Napierski has made a lot of claims. Here are just a few of them. He says he’s a bishop in the Roman Catholic Church and can trace his appointment back to Christ and the apostles. He says he’s founded a branch of the Knights Templar, that he’s developed a way to control computers with your mind, and that he’s unlocking the ancient practice of Jesus Yoga. We can be skeptical about those claims. But in 2013, he actually did stroll right past some security checkpoints and into the Vatican, where he spoke with reporters to condemn the church’s handling of sex scandals. He was escorted away by the Swiss Guard.
The Whole Bushel
When Ralph Napierski strolled into the Vatican in March 2013 along with the others that had gathered there for the papal conclave to elect Pope Benedict XVI’s successor, no one noticed that he didn’t quite seem to fit in until he’d made it through a manned checkpoint and started rubbing elbows with actual church officials.
Napierski introduced himself as a German bishop named Basilius and said that he came from an order called Corpus Dei and the Italian Orthodox Church. (Neither of these things exist.) The dress code must be a little different in the imaginary church, as he was wearing a short cassock and a nontraditional purple sash. Instead of the usual skullcap, he was wearing a rather jaunty fedora.
Eventually, the Swiss Guard escorted him out of the Vatican, but not before he posed for some pictures and spoke to representatives of the media regarding the shameful handling of sex scandals within the church.
In the wake of the fake bishop’s infiltration, the German Bishops’ Conference and the Berlin Catholic Diocese both issued statements saying he was not involved with them in any way.
Making that clear was a good idea, since Napierski makes some pretty outlandish claims.
According to his website, he’s part of an unbroken chain of consecrated bishops that had been consecrated by other bishops that had been consecrated by other bishops, right back to the original bishops consecrated by Christ’s apostles. This would make his appointment and education the latest in a long line of finely pedigreed officials.
He says he’s a sort of warrior, defending the church from heresy happening on the inside. This all started in earnest (says his website) when Petrus Nartinus Ngo Dinh Thuc was given all the appropriate permissions he needed to act as an independent pope in the event that the Nazis or the Freemasons gained a foothold in the church or outright attacked it.
And he says that did happen. The infiltration by the Freemasons was the basis for all the heresies and misconduct going on even today.
By the time he showed up uninvited at the Vatican, he claimed to be the only remaining bishop from Thuc’s line who was still allied with the pope and the mainstream church.
He makes some other claims, too, like the one where he supposedly developed and patented a system that would allow people to control computers with only the power of their minds. He ran an eBay auction that got the selling price of a small digital photo up to €10 million to highlight what he saw as a security risk.
He claims to have his own television station and to have founded a branch of the Knights Templar, and he crashed an erotic trade fair in Berlin to advocate on behalf of the use of sex toys as a healthy way to practice a little sexual freedom.
He’s also a proponent of a secret and ancient spiritual practice that he calls “Jesus Yoga.”
Perhaps most strangely of all, he doesn’t really talk to the press, and that means that the church has no idea what to think of him.
No one’s sure if he’s doing this all as a massive joke, if he’s really trying to start his own branch of the church, or if he’s trying to take a strong stand as a critic of the church.
Show Me The Proof
Spiegel: Famous Fake Bishop; German Imposter Sneaks into Vatican
Corpus Dei: About Us
Time: Fake Bishop Tries to Sneak into Vatican Meeting
Museum of Hoaxes: Ralph Napierski, Fake Bishop