Christ among the Doctors of the Law



Thursday, June 28, 2007

Fake priests (version 2007)

Though the problem seems to be more acute in Europe and the Third World, when I was still in (American) diocesan work, I encountered a few cases of "fake clergy", with most of these charlatans appearing to be small time con-men. I've blogged on this problem before, and am not surprised to see it popping up again. In the most recent case reported here, the administration of the baptism would have been valid (though gravely illicit, 1983 CIC 861 and 1381).

Still, let this episode serve as a warning. If you have an uneasy feeling about whether some man is really a priest or deacon, contact your local arch/diocese. There are accurate lists of clergy for the United States, the best-known being the Official Catholic Directory, published annually by Kenedy & Sons. Better safe than sorry.