July 6, 2008 in Nation/World

Vatican judge says faker tried to hear confessions

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

ROME – A fake priest was caught trying to hear confessions in St. Peter’s Basilica and was tried by a Vatican tribunal, a Vatican judge said in an interview published Saturday.

Judge Gianluigi Marrone, who is a member of the court system of the independent Vatican city-state, said the man was wearing clerical garb and carried documents alleging that he was a priest.

“He was caught by surprise in the basilica while he was trying to take his place in a confessional,” Marrone told the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. “He was wearing clerical garb, but the expert eye of our (basilica) personnel didn’t need much to sense something strange in his behavior.”

The man was stopped and his documents checked, and even though he had what appeared to be legitimate documents, including a Vatican pass, personnel were still suspicious, the judge recalled.

Checking with Italian authorities about the documents “unmasked him,” Marrone said, adding that the man had passed himself off as a priest in Italy.

“It was a case of usurping an ecclesiastical title, and thus he was tried by our tribunal,” the judge added.

Marrone didn’t say when the incident happened, what the tribunal’s verdict was or if the man received any punishment.


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