Fake Catholic Priest Sentenced to Jail...Again

'You can't go into a church and pretend you're a priest'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2016 5:08 PM CST

(Newser) – Good thing Catholics have a fairly relaxed forgiveness policy. The Los Angeles Times reports a 60-year-old man convicted last February after posing as a priest was arrested earlier this month for slipping back into the vestments. When Erwin Mena was originally arrested, he had been acting as a priest at a Los Angeles church for five months or so. Authorities say he delivered sermons, baptized babies, held funerals, gave confession, and presided over Mass. However what eventually got Mena a year in jail for grand theft was selling fake trips to see the pope during his East Coast visit last fall. According to Fox 11, Mena made more than $15,000 selling nonexistent trips to parishioners for $500 to $1,000 a pop.

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Mena was released from jail early last July. He was arrested at a different Los Angeles church Nov. 2 while going by the name Father Edwin Lima. On Friday, a judge sentenced Mena to another 265 days in jail, telling him, "You can't go into a church and pretend you're a priest." The judge also barred Mena from coming within 100 feet of any Catholic church in the city. Mena has allegedly been doing his faux priest routine since the 1990s. (Read more Catholic priest stories.)

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