Baptism and Communion Frauds Uncovered
In a recent statement, the Stockton Diocese expressed concern over fraudulent celebrations of sacraments like baptism, confirmation, and first Communion in outdoor locations such as parks.
These practices deviate from established Catholic norms, raising suspicions within the diocese.
According to diocesan officials, they are currently aware of only two individuals involved in this fraudulent activity but are closely monitoring the situation.
It remains unclear whether the baptisms conducted by these individuals were valid or if genuine Communion hosts were used in these ceremonies.
However, the diocese strongly emphasized that these individuals have not been acting in good faith and labeled them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”
As of now, the true identities of these individuals remain unknown.
The Stockton Diocese has notified neighboring dioceses of this scam, although no similar reports have been received by Stockton.
The diocese has pledged to maintain communication with neighboring dioceses to address this situation.
The diocese credited the proactive efforts of its community members and parishioners for bringing this matter to their attention.
These vigilant individuals played a crucial role in uncovering the fraudulent sacramental celebrations and received heartfelt recognition and gratitude from the diocese for their prompt reporting.
Previous Warning About a Dismissed Priest
In an earlier alert this year, the diocese had warned the faithful about a former Stockton priest, Leo Suarez, who had been dismissed from the clerical state.
Suarez had been conducting Masses in private homes, a situation that raised concerns among the diocese.
Leo Suarez was dismissed from the clerical state in 2016 after being credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor on two occasions.
He had even self-reported one of the abuses to the diocese in 2009.
A diocesan document revealed a credible accusation in 2014 as well.
At the time, the diocese advised parishioners not to participate in any ministry led by Suarez, as it could potentially disrupt their communion with the Catholic Church and result in the invalid administration of the sacrament.
In response to this situation, the diocese emphasized the need to educate parishioners and protect the administration of the sacraments, underscoring the importance of safeguarding the faithful from those who might exploit their faith.