"Chick tracts" are a series of comic books by cartoonist Jack Chick. The publisher estimates that is has printed over 800 million tracts since its founding.

An issue in this series from 1981, called Double Cross, purports to be "based on a true story". It goes on to claim that the protagonist, Alberto Rivera, is a former "Jesuit priest". On the other hand, Adventist Today says that he "claimed, falsely, that he had been a Jesuit priest".

Was the real Alberto Rivera ever a Jesuit priest, or even a Jesuit of any kind?

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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Aug 23, 2020 at 17:49
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    I'm questioning notability here.
    – user11643
    Aug 23, 2020 at 18:29
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    They are, regrettably, well-known enough to be notable. Aug 23, 2020 at 19:31
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    Note that saying "based on a true story" does not make every detail true, even if the author was being honest. Aug 23, 2020 at 22:53
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    @fredsbend It's certainly notorious, but the entirety of its 'fame' is how hilariously inaccurate, ham-handed and generally tasteless they are. During the final stages of the Iraq war, the Iraqi Information Minister certainly became world famous, but I don't think any of his claims would have been considered notable here.. Aug 24, 2020 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


The Catholic church denies that Rivera was ever a priest. According to an exposé by Gary Metz in Cornerstone magazine, an evangelical newspaper and later a magazine published by Jesus People USA:

Alberto's claim to have been a Jesuit priest and bishop are denied by the Catholic church. They state that the document he exhibits as proof of his priesthood is little more than a form letter giving permission to travel abroad. The document was fraudulently obtained. Alberto's accounts of his ordination are contradictory. In 1967 when Alberto was visiting his family in Las Palmas, he said he had been ordained a priest in Costa Rica; in 1978, while at the Faith Baptist Church in Canoga Park, California, he said he was ordained In Las Palmas.

In addition to Catholic denials, mainstream Protestant periodicals (which can be expected to have a different set of biases), such as Christianity Today, also deny Rivera's claims, saying:

Although Rivera claims to have been raised and trained in a Spanish Jesuit seminary, his hometown friend, Bonilla, said Rivera was living at one point with a woman in Costa Rica named Carmen Lydia Torres.

...Rivera later stated on an employment form that he and Torres were married in 1963. Their son, Juan, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1964, while Rivera was forking for the Christian Reformed Church there. Juan died in El Paso in July 1965, after his parents had fled New Jersey leaving numerous debts and a warrant for their arrest on bad check charges. The couple had two other children, Alberto and Luis Marx. The first two children were born during the time Alberto claimed to be a Jesuit priest in Spain.

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    It'd be better to link the Cornerstone article directly. But is there good reason to consider Cornerstone as a reliable source? I don't know anything about it, and the article isn't very thorough. They don't say how they know the document is fraudulent, they don't give any details on the Catholic Church's claim that he wasn't a priest (e.g. name of spokesperson), and the Church doesn't seem to be an impartial party here. Aug 24, 2020 at 3:00
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    This is a good start. One flaw is that the comic book author is more or less accusing the Jesuits themselves of lying, so repeating their denial isn't exactly a knock down response. Supplying additional, less interested, sources would be an improvement. Also, it isn't clear why the Cornerstone magazine should be taken as a more reliable witness than Rivera and Chick, so a bit about who and what they are might help. Aug 24, 2020 at 4:00
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    Also, given that much of the story relies on the personal testimony of Rivera, it might not be unwarranted to focus on his track record of truth-telling or not, if such information is publicly available. Aug 24, 2020 at 4:04
  • I updated the answer per the advice from @NateEldredge. Aug 29, 2020 at 21:41

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