One of many problems caused by the open southern border is an influx of Spanish-speaking conmen from Mexico posing as Catholic priests. They have charged hundreds of dollars to unsuspecting Californians to celebrate sacraments, teach classes and issue certificates.
“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 of Stockton said.
Lourdes Arvizu, a spokesperson for the diocese, said they discovered the scam after individuals called about the visiting priests.
“They called to find out if these priests had permission to give the sacraments here, and since everything has to happen through here, if a priest comes from another place, they have to inform the diocese that they are here, that they are going to do certain sacraments,” Arvizu said.
The conmen reportedly charge $600 per home visit, plus $70 for each child they bless. “They require a birth certificate from people who are performing their sacraments, so it can be used for human trafficking or to identity theft,” Arvizu said
The Diocese of Stockton noted that “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.”
Local police have been made aware of the ongoing swindle, but they need victims to come forward to begin an investigation.
“The Diocese of Stockton has alerted Modesto law enforcement authorities about this issue,” the diocese said. “However, it has been communicated that only individuals who have personally fallen victim to these imposters can file complaints and initiate investigations. Anyone victimized by these imposters is urged to dial 911 without hesitation and report the crime. It’s imperative to note that the police do not inquire about the caller’s immigration status; their primary concern is combatting criminal activities.”
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice