Friday, January 12, 2007

Fake Priest Sells Phony Tickets For Pope's Speech

A man posing as a Catholic priest was arrested for selling phony tickets to get near Pope Benedict on his scheduled trip to Brazil in May, authorities said on Tuesday.

Erivandro Ferrer de Lima had charged believers 175 reais ($81.78) in cash and another 375 reais in installments for the possibility of "getting close and touching" the Pope, Police Inspector Rosicleide de Castro said by telephone from Fortaleza in the northeastern Ceara state.

Lima carried a false credential from the Brazilian Bishops Conference, held mass and heard hundreds of confessions to prey on his victims, Castro said.

"There are a lot of upset people," Castro said.

Brazil has more Catholic believers than any other country in the world.

In May, Pope Benedict will open the Latin American Episcopal Conference.

($1 = 2.15 reais)

Copyright © 2007 Reuters Limited.

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