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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rivera was born in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain, in 1935 and died on June 20, 1997 of colorectal cancer in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, in the United States. Chick promised to promote Alberto's claims even after he died. Rivera claimed to have been a Jesuit before becoming a Fundamentalist Protestant, and many of the stories Chick published about Rivera involve Jesuit conspiracies.
Rivera is most notable for his claims about his time as a Catholic priest and the inner workings of the Catholic Church. Most of these claims are fiercely disputed by the Catholic Church and others. An exposé by Gary Metz in Cornerstone Magazine issue 53 questioned many of Rivera's claims about his life; the two conflicting versions are summarized below.
According to Rivera: After education at a Catholic seminary, he was sent to destroy various Protestant organizations and discredit Protestant leaders, but became disillusioned upon finding that the Vatican was behind Freemasonry and that its reverence of the Virgin Mary was contradicted by the Bible. In 1965, at an Ecumenical Conference in a Guatemalan stadium, he denounced the Catholic Church to an audience of 50,000 people. The Jesuits then sent him to a top-secret sanitorium in Spain to make him recant his faith. Here he was tortured and given drugs until he nearly died, eventually being put into an iron lung because his lungs had broken down from the abuse. Nearly at death, he asked Jesus to forgive him and was miraculously healed. A senior Jesuit attempted to persuade Rivera to return to Catholicism, but instead was himself persuaded to give Rivera the passport and papers he needed to escape Spain. Afterwards he flew to London and rescued his sister María, a nun, after she nearly died in a convent.
Cornerstone Magazine's account
According to the Cornerstone article: Rivera had a 'history of legal entanglements' including fraud, credit card theft, and writing bad checks. Warrants had been issued for his arrest in New Jersey and Florida, and he was wanted by the Spanish police for 'swindles and cheats'; while in the USA in 1967, he claimed to be collecting money for a Spanish college which never received this money. The details of his claims changed — in 1964 he said he had left the Catholic Church in July 1952, but later put the date at March 20, 1967; despite this, he was still promoting Catholicism in a newspaper interview of August that same year. Although supposedly placed in the sanitorium in 1965 and held there for three months, he gave the date of his release as September 1967, leaving a period of over a year unaccounted for.
The document exhibited by Rivera to prove his status as a Catholic priest was fraudulently obtained and the Catholic Church denies his claims of having been a Jesuit priest or a bishop. He had only one sister in London; she was not called Maria, was not a nun, and did not live in a convent. In an employment form dated 1963 he claimed marriage to Carmen Lydia Torres, and the couple had two children in the USA when his own account had him a celibate priest in Spain.
Cornerstone also questioned Rivera's claim to various degrees including three doctorates (Th.D., D.D., and Ph.D.), reporting that his known chronology did not allow enough time for him to have completed these degrees and that he had admitted to receiving them from a Colorado diploma mill.
Allegations against Catholicism and Islam
According to Rivera, Jesuits are responsible for the recession, communism, Islam, Nazism, the World Wars, the Jonestown Massacre, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln; he further claims that the Catholic Church wants to spread homosexuality and abortion, that the Charismatic Movement is a front for the Catholic Church, that the Popes are antichrists, that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Revelation, and that the Prophet Muhammad was used by the Catholic Church to create Islam and destroy the Jews and other groups of Christians.
Presence in "Chick Tracts"
Six of Jack Chick's comics feature Rivera specifically: Alberto , Double Cross, The Godfathers , The Force, Four Horsemen, and The Prophet . Some people dismiss them as out of hand, though Chick also printed a series of counterclaims in reply. Chick's comics and tracts came to be removed from many Christian bookstores on the grounds that his anti-Catholic charges were false and bigoted. Chick then withdrew from the Christian Booksellers Association after the CBA began considering whether to expel him. Chick calls Rivera the most godly man he has ever met and claims that the charges against him and Rivera are themselves a plot by the Catholic Church.
Rivera's last place of residence and place of death—Broken Arrow, Oklahoma—were not revealed until after Rivera's death; Chick now says that Rivera's body was secretly taken out of Oklahoma and buried in a secret location in a private funeral service out of fear that the Jesuits would exhume his corpse and desecrate it. This fear, while somewhat bizarre sounding, may have been related in some way to the infamous Cadaver Synod of 897, in which the corpse of Pope Formosus was exhumed and "tried" by a later Pope, Stephen VI. This trial had nothing to do with the Jesuits, however, whose order was not founded until the 1540s.
Rivera's funeral was conducted by Moore's Southlawn Funeral Home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to their records, he is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in north Tulsa, at the corner of Admiral Street and Yale Avenue, in the northeast corner of the cemetery.
According to the records at Rose Hill, Rivera is indeed buried in the cemetery, in the section marked out for Moore's Funeral Homes, Inc., in an unmarked grave, (28-14-3), between Tony Hubanks, Sr. (28-14-4) and Maria Albin Bonieki (28-14-2).
A Mass was celebrated at that spot on the eighth anniversary of Rivera's death, June 20, 2005, with the intention of the mass being a petition that God have mercy on the man's soul. (The location listed as Rivera's grave had been blessed by a local Roman Catholic priest at an earlier date.)<--citation needed
- Chick Publications website, including comics and other tracts based on Rivera's testimony.
- , Web page of author Gary Dale Cearley, who wrote a book refuting Alberto Rivera's testimony regarding the Vatican and Islam.
- Defense of Alberto Rivera on Chick's site: presents documents and testimony in support of Rivera's claims.
- Catholic Answers To Chick Tracts Catholic Answers presents documents and testimony challenging Rivera's claims.
- Alberto Rivera, Jack Chick, and a False Story From Cornerstone Magazine, from the author of an expose of Rivera that appeared in Christianity Today magazine.
- Records for burials at Rose Hill Cemetery, Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Ellos preparan difamadores, vigilantes, e incluso visitan con calumniadores.
Sin embargo, no espere que estos calumniadores vengan como apariencia de lobos, sino que viene vestidos de ovejas y de piedad, incluso dentro de iglesias y plataformas cristianas.