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After 18 years of practicing a sham “ministry,” a man pretending to be a priest has been outed in Spain and relieved of his duties by the Church, with all Communion and absolution given invalid.

In October of 2017, Colombian native Miguel Ángel Ibarra Marín arrived in the Andalusian port city of Cadiz, Spain from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe de Antioquia in northwest Colombia. His transfer was in accordance with an agreement signed by the Diocese of Cadiz and Cueta and the Archbishop of his home diocese. When he arrived, he was made parish priest of a church in Medina Sidonia with some 11,000 people.

Prior to his arrival in Spain, he said he had worked for many years in Colombia as a priest serving in several dioceses. During his year in Spain, Miguel baptized, wed, and gave absolution to unsuspecting churchgoers.

Suspicions were raised about the validity of his ordination when a complaint from his former diocese was filed. It is alleged he presented forged documentation to the diocese upon his arrival to the country after an investigation concluded on December 13th by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe de Antioquia found he was never ordained a priest.

“Following a false accusation in his ordination documents, an investigation had been carried out that concluded that Miguel Ángel Ibarra was not ordained a priest.”

Immediately following the investigation, he was relieved of his duties and ordered to report back to his home diocese in Santa Fe de Antioquia to appear in front of the archbishop. Miguel confirmed that he will fulfill the request, bringing a lawyer with him to challenge the claims.

In the wake of the revelations, the Diocese of Cadiz and Cueta announced that all Communion and confessions heard by Miguel are invalid. However, marriages and baptisms officiated by the false priest are still valid, with the diocese saying that “people do not have to remarry or be baptized,” as the “grace of God” acted on the deceived parishioners.

“The diocese of Cádiz and Ceuta regrets that, events like this, may overshadow the work of their priests and priests duly ordained, who serve the diocesan Church, every day, in an exemplary manner.”

You can read the full statement by the Diocese of Cadiz and Cueta here (in Spanish).

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