Becoming a Catholic cardinal (the only guys who get to vote for a new pope now) is a tad tricky at the best of times. You need to start by being ordained as a priest, then work your way up to bishop, and finally try to bring yourself to the notice – in a good way – of the prevailing pope, oh and being Italian would also really help.
Then again, you could also do what Ralph Napierski has just done, he skipped all the religious stuff, dressed up as a Cardinal and just turned up. You can see him there in the picture below, he is the one on the left.
He appears to be quite happily blending in there as he poses with cardinal Sergio Sebiastiana. To even get that far he needed to get past all their security, so he did quite well to make it as far as the entrance to the Sistine Chapel (the place where they will actually vote).
Slight flaw, he got the costume wrong, the Swiss guard (the guys who see Cardinals every day) quickly realized something was not quite right. If you look you can see it as well, the hem of his cassock was too high, his red sash was actually just a purple scarf tied round his waist, and in place of the traditional red skull cap he was wearing a black fedora.
So what was this all about? The HuffPo reports …
According to The Telegraph, Napierski told reporters he belonged to the reportedly non-existent Italian Orthodox Church. A blog that appears to be associated with Napierski claims he is a bishop of a Catholic order called the Corpus Dei, also said to be fabricated. Napierski’s contact information on the blog points to an address in Germany.
Agence France-Presse reports Napierski told members of the media that his name is “Basilius,” and that he took particular issue with the Catholic church moving priests accused of pedophilia to different churches.
One can only wonder just how far he might have managed to get if he had got the costume right.
It is of course rather ironic to make the observation that there is nothing real here at all, the Cardinal’s that he was busily attempting to impersonate and infiltrate are all guys who have have devoted their entire careers in servitude to a fictitious supernatural entity — in essence, a guy playing make-believe attempts to infiltrate a group that believe that their imaginary friend is real.