Earlier this week, Swiss guards at the Vatican caught a fake bishop trying to sneak into the College of Cardinals’ general congregation meetings.

The man, whose name is Ralph Napierski, had tied a fuchsia Pashmina scarf around his fake ecclesial robes, which Swiss guards noted were several inches too short. His fedora and tennis shoes also gave him away.

This sounds like a post from Eye of the Tiber (the Catholic version of The Onion, in case you don’t know).


But Ralph Napierski had an agenda. After Swiss guards escorted him out of the meeting, Napierski told reporters he believed the Church was gravely mistaken in allowing priests accused of child abuse to move from parish to parish.

Did Napierski – who runs an eccentric blog that makes ridiculous claims about the Church and his fictional religious order – plan on airing his grievance in the meeting, with the hopes of affecting cardinal-electors?

Unfortunately, his bizarre actions are only a hop, skip and jump away from what a lot of others are doing to try to influence the election of a new pope.

How many others are going to similar lengths in attempts to voice their opinions of the “necessary” characteristics of the next pope? And how often do those narrow-sighted characteristics involve rejecting established Church teaching for smothering political correctness?

Let’s pray in a special way for cardinal-electors over the coming days. May they remain fixed on Christ, so when the white smoke emerges, so also will the next leader of His church.