Imposter priests prey on vulnerable parishioners

imposter priests

Imposter priests are preying on parishioners, especially undocumented immigrants, the Diocese of Stockton in California warns.

Undocumented immigrants often fear approaching the Police because of the possibility of their unlawful residence status being discovered.

Many don’t know the Police aren’t concerned about complainants’ immigration status. They’re more focused on following up the crime being reported, the diocese reassures victims.

Warning – beware!

The diocese also has a warning for potential victims: “Beware of wolves in priestly clothes.”

Parishioners should be on the lookout for people “purporting to be Spanish-speaking Catholic bishops and priests”.

One way to do this is to take note of what these people are offering and considering it against what the diocese usually does.

As examples, the diocese says with few exceptions Catholic sacraments are typically administered within Catholic churches.

Celebrations of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion in outdoor locations like parks are not aligned with established Catholic practices, it says.

Furthermore, the Church doesn’t charge for sacraments and other services.

The imposter priests however “are charging these poor people thousands and thousands of dollars for things like health blessings. for communions and confirmations” the diocese says.

“They’re even charging people to use the seats they provide at these ceremonies.

“The Catholic Church would never do that.”

Bullying tactics

The diocese says the imposters are misappropriating the identities of genuine priests in Mexico.

Then, if challenged, they turn into bullies

They “resort to intimidation tactics against anyone questioning their identity or authority, often threatening legal action for defamation although these threats lack substance.”

The diocese says it has has alerted law enforcement authorities about this issue.

However, the authorities say only individuals who have personally fallen victim to these imposters can file complaints and initiate investigations.

The diocese is urging victims to “dial 911 and report the crime”.

The imposters’ unscrupulous activities are motivated primarily by financial gain, the diocese believes.


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News category: World.