Is the ordination of an imposter valid?

I was wondering what the Church teaches about an ordination where the person whom the bishop thinks he is laying his hands on is not actually that person.

Suppose there are two identical twins, Alfred and Bob. Alfred is a faithful Catholic seminarian, and Bob is an evil atheist. On the morning before Alfred is scheduled to be ordained, Bob ties his brother up in his basement, puts on his cassock, and walks into the church for the ceremony. Nobody ever suspects a thing.

Is Bob now technically a Catholic priest?

Anything obtained by fraud is usually invalid.

Such would be valid, albeit gravely illicit.

And of course he would answer for his actions while in front of Christ’s judgement seat.

Is an imposter valid matter for the sacrament of ordination? I would think not, since fake bread is not valid matter for the Eucharist, and fake water (whatever that might be) is not valid matter for Baptism.


The imposter is not a fake man. If the imposter has an intention to be ordained, then the ordination is valid. If he does not, it is not. The way the scenario is presented, it could be argued that the imposter is only attempting to make a mockery of the sacrament and/or play a farce. Again, if so, the sacrament is not valid.

And, if the evil atheist imposter is not baptized, it is not valid.


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