Alberto Rivera

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Alberto Magno Rivera Romero, commonly known as Alberto Rivera (1935-1997) was a former anti-Catholic activist. He claimed to have been a former Jesuit priest who left the church, and was widely promoted by Christian Fundamentalist Jack Chick. However, investigations into Rivera's past have turned up numerous inconsistencies.[1]

Rivera claimed to have been brought to a Catholic seminary at age 7, and two years later claimed to have seen "creatures" surrounding his dying mother. After attending a seminary (purportedly, the Seminario Biblio Latinamericano) he was purportedly sent to destroy Protestants, but converted after learning that Catholicism was the (supposed) founder of Freemasonry and that the teaching of the Virgin Mary was contradicted by the Bible. After supposedly announcing to 50,000 people in a stadium in Guatemala in 1965 that he was recanting his Catholic faith, he was supposedly "kidnapped" by Jesuits and institutionalized in order to force him to return to Catholicism, even being tortured to the point of needing an iron lung due to lung damage. However, he was later "miraculously healed and released" and claimed to rescue his sister, a nun living in a London convent, after she was supposedly near death. He also claimed that the Catholic Church created Islam and staged the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

However investigators have pointed out numerous inconsistencies in his story. They noted that he had a history of financial crimes (fraud, credit card theft, bad checks, and even a stolen car) with no fewer than warrants issued for his arrest in at least two different states (Florida and New Jersey are known). He also gave differing dates for his conversion, giving both 1952 and 1967 (and meanwhile also defending Catholicism in a 1967 article promoting ecumenicalism). He also claimed two different release dates from his kidnapping: 1965 and 1967. Furthermore, his sister was never a nun nor lived in a convent, and also claimed on a 1963 employment application that he was married with two children (while claiming to have been a priest at that time; other records indicate that his first child wasn't born at the time, and that he had actually lived with his wife outside of any legal marriage -- claiming the marriage was "ordained by God"). He later admitted that his three doctoral degrees were, in fact, from a diploma mill, and his claims that the Jesuits were behind the medieval Inquisition were also false (the Inquisition having taken place in the 1300's while the Jesuits were not organized until 1534).