A COLOMBIAN who pretended to be a Roman Catholic priest for 18 years, hearing confessions and celebrating weddings, was exposed just before Christmas, the diocese in Spain where he was preaching has revealed.

Marriages and baptisms carried out by Miguel Angel Ibarra remain valid but confessions are not even though the “grace of God acted” on the faithful who were deceived, the spokeswoman for the diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta told AFP.

Ibarra moved to Spain from Colombia in October, 2017, and had been in charge of the church in the village of Medina Sidonia, which is home to some 11,000 people, in the southern region of Andalusia.

He had pretended to be a priest for the past 18 years, she added.

priest - fake priest Miguel Angel Ibarra 3 - Confessor confesses: ‘I’m not really a priest’
Miguel Angel Ibarra pretended to be a priest for 18 years.

Colombian church officials informed the diocese on December 13 that it had received a complaint that Ibarra had forged his ordination documents and that after carrying out a “thorough investigation” they had concluded that he had never been ordained, the Spanish diocese said.

He was ordered to go back to his archdiocese of origin in Colombia, Santa Fe de Antioquia.

The diocese of Cadiz and Ceuta said it regretted that “events like this could overshadow the work of parishioners and ordained priests, who serve the Church every day in an exemplary way.”

As in other increasingly secular European countries, Spain is finding it difficult to attract new recruits to the priesthood in recent years and has had to resort to importing priests, often from its former colonies in Latin America.

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Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.