The Papal Situation

edited version of an article by K. J. Mock, a Catholic layman, kmock@on-ramp.ior.com

The question has been posed … “Do we have a pope?” The answer in a nutshell is that the last true pope was Pope Pius XII who died on Oct. 9, 1958. The 4 men following him, each claiming to sit on the Chair of St. Peter were impostors. This article by a traditional Catholic layman shows why.

The Creation of a New non-Catholic Religion

What really occurred during the “pontificate” of John XXIII was the coming into existence of a new non-Catholic religion. It began at the very focus of unity, the highest office itself, in the person of the man pretending to hold the Chair of St. Peter. Now as every Catholic cleric worthy of the name knows, the Church founded by Christ on St. Peter and his successors cannot publicly and officially teach error to the faithful.

Papal Infallibility – Proves a man to be non-Pope

This fact, that a pope cannot teach error, is guaranteed by the dogma of Papal Infallibility and is matter of faith for every Catholic. If, however, as was the situation in the early 1960’s, a man believed to be pope was found to teach error via the official magisterium of the Church, the only possible conclusion that could be reached was that the man simply was not a pope. If he was not pope, the institution which he was continuing to preside over was not the Catholic Church. Once these facts were realized, anyone who remained in communion with him and continued to recognize him as the head of their Church, became a member of his new, non-Catholic religion.
Due to the wording of the dogma of Papal Infallibility, a true pope is protected from promulgating both heresy and error when he teaches officially. Heresy involves the denial or doubting of truths classified as dogmas — truths divinely revealed and infallibly affirmed as such by Church authority. Truths other than dogmas have been officially and infallibly defined by the Church, as well. Among these are truths classified as “certain.” To deny or doubt one of these “certain” truths would place one in “error.” This would involve, not an automatic excommunication, nor loss of membership in the Church, as would heresy, but would comprise a mortal sin against the faith and thereby loss of the supernatural virtue of faith. A true pope is prevented, by the divine assistance of the Holy Ghost, from ever teaching either heresy or error, since even one error of misbelief on one’s soul would result in eternal damnation. Therefore, it was not necessary for a “pope” to officially proclaim heresy to the world.
This has been proven to be the case with John XXIII in his Encyclical “Pacem in Terris” of April 11, 1963. Once this error was recognized, every knowledgeable Catholic should have known that the man was not a pope and that all of his acts of “authority” were invalid.

An Invalid Papal Election

The only possible cause was an invalid election, despite the fact that the man was accepted as pope by all the Catholic clergy of the world. Invalidity of the election could be caused by some canonical defect in the election process or ineligibility of the man “elected.” Christ’s promise to Peter and his successors in the office of the papacy precludes any possibility of any of the true successors, e.g., any validly elected pope, of ever teaching error to His Church. To hold the opposite — that a man who was seen to teach error to the Church publicly and officially could in some measure still be considered a validly elected pope is to fall into heresy — by denial of the dogma. For what cause makes a man pope other than a valid election? How can it possibly be claimed that a man who is seen to teach error officially — a man who clearly does not possess the prerogative of God-given infallibility — could still have been validly elected? How can anyone maintain that such a man still holds (or ever held) a claim of any kind to the office, or See, or chair or powers, etc., of the Vicar of Christ?

To Be Pope — And Later Not a Pope?

Thus we can safely say that no man who ever was regarded as pope and was later seen to teach error officially and publicly ever possessed the papal dignity. This means it is impossible to regard such a one as a pope — whose actions were valid for a while — but who later fell into error. A true pontiff can never at any time prior to his death teach error officially and publicly to the Church. It appears that, even if a man who was validly elected pope could fall into formal heresy sometime later, God’s promise would ensure that he would never be allowed to teach his errors ex cathedra. God would use other means to prevent such from happening even if the man was determined to do so, possibly even allowing death to ensue. The dogma of Papal Infallibility does not proscribe the possibility of a true pope falling into error or heresy as a private individual, as some have maintained. This can be held as a pious opinion, however, as St. Robert Bellarmine points out.
This means that John XXIII never, from the day of his “coronation” on, ever actually exercised the power of a Supreme Pontiff. All of his acts are as if they never existed — appointments of Cardinals, bishops, the calling of Vatican II, etc. Once the facts of his erroneous teaching were in the public domain a new religion was born. This knowledge became a critical crossroad for each and every Catholic priest who was forced into a decision of whether to remain faithful to Christ, Who is the Truth Itself, or to accept the lie and join the new religion. In this case, the nature of joining or adhering to a non-Catholic religion presented itself to these priests in an unusual manner. If a true pope had been elected in 1958 upon the death of Pius XII, most of them would likely have remained Catholic, because their faith would not have been put to the test. But God allowed Satan to seemingly secure the highest office in the Church to sift them like wheat — to see exactly what love of the Truth there was in the poor excuse for alter-Christi who supposedly were serving Him. We must not forget that the reason St. Paul gives for the Apostasy is “because they have not loved the truth, they shall be given the operation of error.”

Priests in the new non-Catholic Sect

The priests were faced with an unusual situation in that, instead of leaving their comfortable situations to join a previously identified non-Catholic sect, a new one was coming to them from the Vatican itself. In this case, joining up did not mean taking an action to leave, it meant rather to stay and be identified with the new dispensation. It was a sin of omission rather than a sin of commission. What God was requiring them to do was to depart their positions once they would become identified as officers of the new religion. To stay was to subscribe, by their silence or inaction, if nothing else, to a new religion and to the heresy/error that the Catholic Church or the Roman Pontiff could teach heresy/error to the faithful, a tacit denial of Christ’s own promise to His Church.
Therefore, once it became obvious to the clergy in the early to middle 1960s, that error was being taught by their “pontiff,” if they wished to remain Catholic, they had no alternative but to depart from the new Church before being identified as one of its officers by repeated acts in concert with its head — the antipope. This of course assumes that the individual priest had adverted to the error being taught, and was not laboring under some misconception of what the nature and extent of Papal Infallibility was.
The surfacing of the error in April of 1963, just two months before the death of John XXIII, may have caused a number of priests to hold on in the hope that the new pontiff would correct the errors and call an end to the proposed council. When Paul VI reopened Vatican II, suspicions should have been aroused that things were again amiss and a careful eye should have been directed at the new “pope’s” actions and the early official teaching from the council. The official teachings from the V-II council in 1964 should have been proof enough for any clergyman to know that he was dealing with something other than the Catholic Church. [I have personal knowledge of a Colomban missionary priest who departed from his order in 1965 for just this reason. He returned to his motherhouse in Los Angeles and resigned, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind about his reasons.]

The Clincher – Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism

The Vatican II Decree on Ecumenism, promulgated officially under Paul VI’s signature on November 21, 1964 should have been the clincher, however. This decree, which gave credence to non-Catholic religions as means of salvation, clearly violated previous defined doctrine, and could not be digested by any Catholic priest who wished to retain the name. One who with knowledge remained after this had willingly joined or adhered to a non-Catholic sect and suffered loss of all offices in the Church. There may, however, be exceptions found among priests who, because of their circumstances were uninformed, and each case must be considered individually. Certainly, no one could be considered to have joined or adhered to a non-Catholic sect without the requisite knowledge of its non-Catholicity. The official publishing of this Decree provides us with a convenient point about which to pose questions and set presumptions. It seems that it could be safely presumed that a priest had departed the Church by this date, or shortly thereafter, unless he could provide evidence that would stand up in a Church Tribunal to the effect he was ignorant of the promulgation of this teaching. Likewise, he should be queried in regard to his understanding of the teaching of John XXIII — did he realize that something was in error in “Pacem in Terris”? If so, he departed the Church at an earlier date — the date when he adverted to that error.
The Condition of Priests

It would seem that God has given us another safe indicator to determine the condition of the priests of our time, namely, that those who acted innocently throughout the temptations of the Apostasy and the Traditionalist sects have found their way through all of the deceptions and are affiliated with none of them at this time. The others, who accepted errors in order to remain comfortably with one group or another have now been struck with spiritual blindness and cannot see their way to the end of the tunnel, where safety is to be found. May God yet find a way to have mercy upon their souls! “Because they have not loved the truth, they shall be given the operation of error: to believe lying.”
In Defense of a Future Papal Election
A Primary Position Paper for The Catholic Conference of 1993

by K. J. Mock, February 18, 1993, kmock@on-ramp.ior.com
updates –February 1995
This article by a Catholic layman is written at a scholarly level for Traditional Catholics who need or want to know how and why the proceedings for a papal election could be transacted in the present state of the Church. The article is highly technical with specific references to Church laws and documents on Papal succession.

The Seat is Vacant
The vacancy of the Apostolic See is a fact that can no longer be questioned by any serious student of modern Church history. Irrefutable proofs have been given by various authors which make this conclusion unshakeable. This fact is therefore not part of what will be proven in this paper, but the fact constitutes the starting point for the following thesis, namely, that a true pope can be returned to the See of St. Peter by lawful action on the part of the remnant members of the Universal Church.
As the fact of the vacancy of the See became obvious, certain individuals began to assume the supreme pontiff’s title, or various factions attempted to elect or appoint one of their own partisans to the supreme office of the Church. The vacuum of authority provided a certain breed of ecclesiastical impostors with the opportunity of their lifetimes. By snatching episcopal orders from some spurious source, and providing around themselves the strappings of a devout Catholic atmosphere, they were able to delude groups of pious and ingenuous followers into accepting them as the new leaders of the Catholic Church.

The False Claims to the Papacy

To this less-than-illustrious collection was added the name of David Bawden in July of 1990.

As we write, those false popes who have added their own names to that of John-Paul II in Rome include: Hadrian VII (Francis Schuckardt), the two Gregory XVIIs — of St. Jovite in Canada and Palmar de Troya (now deceased), Emmanuel I in Italy, Peter II in Brussels, Leo XIV and Clement XV (deceased) in France. To this less-than-illustrious collection was added the name of David Bawden in July of 1990. Bawden assumed the name Pope Michael I, only to defrock himself upon the news that yet another antipope, Linus II, elected by the Thuc sectarians in June of 1994, was in the ascendant. God alone knows how many more have sprung up in various parts of the world, or have already gone on to meet their maker, whose vicars they were not.
The phenomenon of such a multiplicity of antipopes is a new one for the Catholic Church, un-precedented in Her history. It is in itself a proof that a great apostasy has taken place. Certainly, a study of these groups would be warranted on the grounds that they are a novelty of our times, but we entertain no hope that any of them have seriously captured the office of Supreme Pontiff, being, as they all are, sectarian claimants (the election of Bawden being the one exception in which some effort was made, entirely inadequate, however, of marshalling electors).

The Method for an Election

To begin this study, I propose to discuss the method of electing a pope, from the aspect, first of all, of the prevailing ecclesiastical law of Pope Pius XII, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, which requires that a future pontiff be elected only by the Cardinals of the Roman Church, which law has been intrinsically cessated because of the apostasy of the Cardinals. Following upon this I will discuss the nature of the Church as a perfect society, and the rights and duties of its members under the Natural Law to return to Her a visible Head. The means to do such have been discussed by a number of theologians, and I will give their views on this eventuality, discussing the use of the principle of devolution as the proximate means to accomplish such. The practical means of effecting the election of a pope will be subject of another study.
1. Present Ecclesiastical Law
“The right of electing a Roman Pontiff belongs only and exclusively to the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, any intervention on the part of any other ecclesiastical dignity or of any lay power of whatsoever rank or order being entirely excluded and ruled out.” (Pope Pius XII Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, par. 32, AAS, 1945).
Thus, according to the present law of the Church, only the Roman Cardinals have the right to proceed to the election of a future pontiff. That this law is purely ecclesiastical law is proven by the following quote from Msgr. Charles Journet: “If the power to elect the pope belongs, by the nature of things, and therefore by divine law, to the Church taken along with her Head, the concrete mode in which the election is to be carried out, says John of St. Thomas, has been no-where indicated in Scripture; it is mere ecclesiastical law which will determine which persons in the Church can validly proceed to election.”
2. The Principle of Intrinsic Cessation of Ecclesiastical Law
Since this law is purely ecclesiastical, it is subject to the principle of intrinsic cessation as expounded by Cardinal Amleto Cicognani (Canon Law, Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Second, Revised edition, The Newman Press, Westminster, MD, 1949. p. 625).
“Canon 21 and the two Canons following treat of the cessation of ecclesiastical law. Here it is asked: How is one to presume that the legislator revokes his law and that therefore the law ceases to exist?
“In treating of the elements of law we saw that it is proper and fitting that a law should be stable and firm. However, every law has its element of uncertainty, for the reasons and the purpose for which the law was made can change, and consequently, since law is an ordinance in accordance with reason, it ought to be revoked if it becomes useless, harmful, or unreasonable; and if it has not actually been revoked, it is to be reasonably presumed to be revoked. For its purpose is the soul of law, and a law without a soul lapses, ceases to exist, dies.”
And from p. 627: “A law ceases intrinsically when its purpose ceases; the law ceases of itself… The law ceases extrinsically when it is revoked by the Superior;…The end (either its purpose or its cause) of the law ceases adequately when all of its purposes cease; inadequately, when only some particular purpose ceases… The purpose of the law ceases contrariwise when an injurious law becomes either unjust or impossible of observance; or negatively, when the law becomes useless; universally, when the purpose of the law ceases with respect to all subjects or the majority of subjects; or particularly, with respect to some individual. Three cases can occur: (a) If the purpose of the law ceases inadequately only, the law ceases neither for the community nor for the individuals, for the reason or soul of the law still exists. (b) If the purpose of the law ceases adequately and contrariwise for the community, the law ceases for the entire community. If it ceases adequately though negatively for the community, in practice we can hold that the law ceases, according to the majority of canonists.5”
On this basis, we can conclude that the ecclesiastical law governing the election of the pope has ceased intrinsically, adequately, contrariwise (because impossible of observance) and universally. Therefore (b) applies, namely, the law ceases for the entire community.
Given the cessation of Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis, other means must be sought for the future valid election of Pius XII’s successor. Let us investigate further and determine just who possesses this right (and duty) in the event of the default of the normally qualified Cardinal electors.
3. The Nature of the Church as a Perfect Society
During the preparation for the Spokane Conference of 1993, various individuals among our world-wide circle of correspondents began to assail our right to convene, claiming, among other things that we could not dare to transgress the present ecclesiastical law for the election of a pope. In my correspondence with them I pointed out a fundamental problem with their position — which admits that Satan has so totally hamstrung the Church that nothing beyond the direct intervention of Our Lord again could restore a visible head to Her. I argued that their position denies the basic nature of the Church as a perfect society, as She was constituted by Christ. I quoted the following passage from Rev. Timothy Mock (in The Disqualification of Electors in Ecclesiastical Elections, Catholic University Press, 1958).
“The Church, as is known from Fundamental Theology and Public Ecclesiastical Law, was established by Christ as a self-sufficient society (societas perfecta), that is, as a society which has as its end the complete good of its order and which has de iure all the means necessary for attaining that end.” Rev. Timothy takes this quote from Cardinal Ottaviani (Institutiones Iuris Publici Ecclesiastici).
Would not a Church which could not recover, (with God’s help of course, but not requiring His returning to earth to rebuild it completely) from Satan’s assaults — no matter how well-contrived — be a Church lacking in some means necessary for its own existence and continuance and would it not be, indeed, a less-than self-sufficient society? Could it be claimed that such a Church — which requires God to come and refound it over again — is the one and same Church that God had already founded on St. Peter and the Apostles? Don’t all of the other phony churches claim some kind of ‘miraculous intervention’ on God’s part to establish their ‘legitimacy’? Could we then claim that this was the same Church that the gates of Hell had never prevailed against? It escapes me how one could still consider the Catholic Church a perfect society, while at the same time admitting that She could find Herself in a condition whereby She could no longer restore a visible Head to Herself. This is tantamount to claiming that She was lacking in some thing necessary for Her continued existence and could therefore not be considered a perfect society.
It seemed obvious, therefore, to this writer at least, that the Church must at all times possess the means of restoring a visible Head to Herself, even when the normal means of accomplishing this are deprived Her. This power and right are Hers inalienably. Let us proceed to discover what these alternative means are.
4. Our Catholic Rights and Duties under the Natural Law
In this section, I will provide several quotes from famous Church authorities who have expounded on the question of how the Church would proceed to restore Her visible Head given the impossibility of the normal mode of election. Let us begin with the following quotes from Cardinal Louis Billot, S. J. in De Ecclesia Christi:
“The legitimate election of a pontiff today depends de facto on pontifical law alone, as is easily demonstrated by the obvious argument that the law regulating the election was promulgated by the supreme pontiffs. Therefore, until such time as it is abrogated by the pontiff himself, it remains in force and there is no power in the Church, even when the See is vacant, by which it can be changed.” (This refers obviously to the normal state of affairs, when the law has not cessated and is capable of still being fulfilled. KJM)
“There can, therefore, be only a hypothetical question, namely whether any authority besides the pontifical authority might in any circumstances be able to assign the conditions of an election. (What was hypothetical in Cardinal Billot’s day, is no longer so today! KJM) In this matter, indeed, no doubt is raised concerning the authority of an oecumenical council which cannot be distinguished from pontifical power, since it is of the nature of oecumenical decrees that they are confirmed by the pontiff. Hence there is matter for doubt only in the case of some lower authority. But in all such cases the conclusion must be negative, since the primacy, for himself and his successors, was granted to Peter alone, and to him alone, therefore, i.e., to the supreme pontiff alone, does it belong to determine the mode of transmission of the power which is to be passed on and, consequently, the mode of the election by which this transmission takes place.
Any law, moreover, related to the order of the Universal Church, exceeds by its very nature the scope of any power less than the supreme power. But the election of the supreme bishop pertains without doubt to the order of the Universal Church. It is, therefore, reserved, by its very nature of the determination of him to whom the care of the entire community was committed by Christ. And indeed it is incontrovertible that these conclusions are valid in normal circumstances. Let us now investigate, nevertheless, how the law would apply if perchance an extraordinary situation were to arise in which it was necessary to proceed to the election of a pontiff while it was no longer possible to comply with the conditions determined by previous pontifical law; as some think was the case at the time of the Great Schism in the election of Martin V.
“Well, once we grant the occurrence of such circumstances, it is to be admitted without difficulty that the power of election would devolve upon a general council. For the Natural Law itself prescribes that in such cases the attribute of a superior power descends, by way of devolution, to the power immediately below insofar as it is indispensably necessary for the survival of the society and for the avoidance of the tribulations of extreme lack. ‘In case of doubt, however (e.g., when it is unknown if someone be a true cardinal or when the pope is dead or uncertain, as seems to have happened at the time of the Great Schism which began under Urban VI), it is to be affirmed that the power to apply the papacy to a person (the due requirements having been complied with) resides in the Church of God. And then by way of devolution it is seen that this power descends to the Universal Church, since the electors determined by the Pope do not exist.’ (Cajetan, De Auctoritate Papae et Concilii, cap. xiii). This, I say, is understood without difficulty if the occurrence of the case be admitted.”
Secondly, we shall quote from Msgr. Charles Journet, whose work is highly authoritative, having been granted the Apostolic Benediction of Pope Pius XII.
“During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Church, as far as the supreme jurisdiction is concerned, possesses only the power of proceeding to the election of a new pope; either through the cardinals, or, in default of them, by other ways: ‘Papatus, secluso papa, non est in Ecclesia nisi in potentia ministerialiter electiva, quia scilicet potest, sede vacante, papam eligere, per cardinales, vel per seipsam in casu’ (Cajetan, De Comparatione Auctoritatis Papae et Concilii, cap. xiv, no. 210).
“(1) Nature of the election. All that the Church can then do, as far as supreme jurisdiction is concerned, is to designate him on whom God, in virtue of the Gospel promises, will send it down directly. ‘The power to confer the pontificate belongs to Christ alone, not to the Church, which does no more than designate a particular subject’ (John of St. Thomas, II-II, q. 1-7; disp. 2, a. 1, no. 9, vol. VII, p. 218).
“(3) In whom does the power to elect the Pope reside? If the Pope is not concerned to designate his successor directly, it belongs to him, on the other hand, to determine or modify the conditions of a valid election: ‘The Pope’, says Cajetan, ‘can settle who the electors shall be, and change and limit in this way the mode of election to the point of invalidating anything done outside these arrangements’
“In a case where the settled conditions of validity have become inapplicable, the task of determining new ones falls to the Church by devolution, this last word being taken, as Cajetan notes (Apologia de Comparata Auctoritate Papae et Concilii, cap. xiii, no. 745) not in the strict sense, (devolution is strictly to the higher authority in case of default in the lower) but in the wide sense, signifying all transmission even to an inferior.
“It was in the course of disputes on the respective authorities of Pope and Council that the question of the power to elect a Pope came up in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. On this point Cajetan’s thought is as follows.
“He explains first that the power to elect the Pope resides in his predecessors eminently, regularly, and principally. Eminently, as the ‘forms’ of lower beings are in the angels, who, however, are incapable in themselves of exercising the activities of bodies. Regularly, that is to say as an ordinary right, unlike the Church in Her widowhood, unable to determine a new mode of election save ‘in casu’, unless forced by sheer necessity. Principally, unlike the widowed Church, in whom this power resides only secondarily. During a vacancy of the Apostolic See, neither the Church nor the Council can contravene the provisions already laid down to determine the valid mode of election. (De Comparata, cap. xiii, no. 202). However, in case of permission (for example if the Pope has provided nothing against it), or in case of ambiguity (for example, if it is unknown who the true Cardinals are or who the true Pope is, as was the case at the time of the Great Schism), the power ‘of applying the Papacy to such and such a person’ devolves on the Universal Church, the Church of God.
“Cajetan affirms next that the power to elect the Pope resides formally — that is to say in the Aristotelian sense, as apt to proceed directly to the act of electing — in the Roman Church, including in that Church the cardinal bishops who, in a way, are suffragans of the Bishop of Rome. That is why, according to the canonical rule provided, the right to elect the Pope belongs in fact to the cardinals alone. (Apologia, cap. xiii, no. 742). That again is why, when the provisions of the Canon Law cannot be fulfilled, the right to elect will belong to certain members of the Church of Rome. In default of the Roman clergy the right will belong to the Church Universal, of which the Pope is to be Bishop.”
In the above sources, mention has been made of transmission of the power to elect by application of the principle of devolution, applied in its broad sense to lower bodies of electors.
While Cardinal Billot claims that, he thinks an oecumenical council would be an unquestionable body for determining the conditions for validity of a future papal election, this is obviously not possible in our times. We must therefore go beyond this to the other alternatives proposed by various authors via the principle of devolution There appears to be a consensus among theologians that a valid election could be managed by the clergy of the diocese of Rome. This is also an impossibility in our times.
It should be noted that even in the above two cases we are dealing with speculative matter beyond the certain ground of ecclesiastical law. It is dangerous to proceed upon such a grave matter on speculative bases alone. What appears to be certain, and non-speculative is that the Natural law takes effect upon the cessation of the Ecclesiastical law. Under the application of the Natural Law we digress to the society as a whole as the active entity and not some subset of the society. This effectively means one member of the society = one vote.
It seems obvious from this that to deny any of the members of the remnant Church the right to elect their future visible Head, one would not only be denying the Church’s nature as a perfect society, he would additionally be restricting the Natural Law from its God-given freedom of action, as was done in the case of “Linus II.”
If action is “indispensibly necessary for the survival of the society and for the avoidance of the tribulations of extreme lack” as Cardinal Billot notes, then it follows that those who remain capable of taking action have, under the auspices of the same Natural law, an indisputable right to convene, to discuss the manner and mode of the action to be taken, and subsequently to convert those deliberations into action.
Who Can Elect a Pope in Today’s World?
Who then can elect the successor to Pius XII? As the above quotes have shown, under the Natural Law itself the members of a society have the intrinsic right to elect their head when the normal provisions of human law have failed to produce a valid successor. The individuals who can determine the new conditions for the validity of a future papal election are, quite simply, the remaining members of the Catholic Church. It remains to be determined just who these members are.
I believe that the above conclusively demonstrates our right as Catholics to convene, to discuss these issues, our right to discover the method of proceeding, to establish conditions for the validity of a future papal election, our right to establish the means of conducting such election and, ultimately, of accomplishing our Catholic duty, the election of the future Roman Pontiff.

Resurrection of the Catholic Church

Page 220: “The Home-aloner group has gone through an extrarodinary (and very bad) transition from trying to create poeps to giving up and deciding that Jesus Christ is shutting down His Church. For a number of years, prominent Home-aloner and Conclavist Ken Mock had travelled the countryside seeking some sufficiently untained clergyman to be made into a pope. After one failure with Michael Bawden (“Pope” Michael I), he had to move on to making another with Fr. Lucien Pulvermacher (A brother of Fr. Carl Pulvermacher and other priests), who declared himself to be “Pope” Pius XIII.”

True or False Pope

Page 7: “Some Sedevacantists have even convened a “Conclave” and elected their own “Pope” (They are called “Conclavists”), There have been well over a dozen “Popes” elected by the Sedevacantist sects to date, with each purported Pope competing against the others for the office of Vicar of Christ.
“… David Bawden, a seminary drop-out who lives with his mother in a farmhouse in Kansas, was elected “Pope” Michael by six lay people including his parents in 1990. During his “reign” Bawden has had to compete with various other Sedevacantist groups who have elected their own “Popes” – namely, Linus II (in 1994), Pius XIII (in 1998), Leo XIV (in 2006), Innocent XIV (in 2007) and Alexander (X (in 2007).”
On page 665 they write: “We previously mentioned seminary drop-out David Bawden of Kansas, who has his Mom and Dad elect him as Pope Michael I on July 16, 1990.”

Father Cekada

Article A Question of Authority – Fr. Cekada (“Follow me or die!”)
A FEW WEEKS AGO, I was invited to attend a conclave and help elect a pope.
Thirty years ago, the offer would have been irresistible, but these days any traditional Catholic priest whose name appears on a number of mailing lists receives at least one such invitation a year. This year’s conclave will convene somewhere in Kansas during July. Needless to say, I plan to be elsewhere.
A home-made conclave strikes us as bizarre or even comical. Who are these people in Kansas –last year, it was Canada — to elect the Successor of Peter and Christ’s Vicar on earth? Why propose such nonsense?
The outlandish example, nevertheless, illustrates a very real dilemma which traditional Catholics face: The Church’s very nature is hierarchical, founded on an authority which comes from Christ Himself. But where do we turn when men of the Church in positions of authority defect from the faith, as happened in our own time? How then do we resolve pressing issues in, say, theology or canon law or pastoral practice — questions which only someone with real authority can resolve?
The organizers of the Kansas conclave would answer: It’s simple; elect a pope. Once you’ve got a pope, you’re home free. He’ll have supreme authority, he’ll appoint a Catholic hierarchy, and he’ll resolve all the questions.

Most Holy Family Monastery

Question 15– What about “Pope” Michael?

Dear bro Dimond , Grace and blessing of the Lord be upon you for the work you are doing for souls. Since I discovered your website I have been challenged to seek the truth of the catholic faith. As a result of this I visit many traditional catholic sites .i understand that you maintain that the see of peter is vacant. I wish to seek for your opinion on the issue of antipope and the various claimants to the chair of Peter apart from JP11.who is the pope? I recently got a publication titled WHERE IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. In the publication it is argued that pope Michael is the true pope of the catholic church.What is your advice on this. Does he have credibility? Does he have canonical status?pls dont be offended if I ask too many questions. I will appreciate a prompt reply to this. Pls find attached for WHERE IS THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Frank

MHFM: Frank, “Pope” Michael has no credibility, nor does any person who claims to be Pope today. One cannot just elect himself Pope, as he has done. If I recall correctly, “Pope” Michael was “elected” by a conclave consisting of his mother and two of his relatives! The true Catholic Church still exists with that remnant of Catholics which maintains the deposit of Faith whole and inviolate, just like it did during the Arian crisis, although today’s crisis is even worse because it is the Great Apostasy.

Appendices

Catholic Controversy

by Saint Francis de Sales

First, I say then that no one should allege an extraordinary mission unless he prove it by miracles: for, I pray you, where should we be if this pretext of extraordinary mission was to be accepted without proof? Would it not be a cloak for all sorts of reveries? Arius, Marcion, Montanus, Messalius — could they not be received into this dignity of reformers, by swearing the same oath?
Never was any one extraordinarily sent unless he brought this letter of credit from the divine Majesty. Moses was sent immediately by God to govern the people of Israel. He wished to know his name who sent him; when he had learnt the admirable name of God, he asked for signs and patents of his commission: God so far found this request good that he gave him the grace of three sorts of prodigies and marvels, which were, so to speak, three attestations in three different languages, of the charge which he gave him, in order that any one who did not understand one might understand another. If then they allege extraordinary mission, let them show us some extraordinary works, otherwise we are not obliged to believe them. In truth Moses clearly shows the necessity of this proof for him who would speak extraordinarily: for having to beg from God the gift of eloquence, he only asks it after having the power of miracles; showing that it is more necessary to have authority to speak than to have readiness in speaking.
The mission of S. John Baptist, though it was not altogether extraordinary, — was it not authenticated by his conception, his nativity, and even by that miraculous life of his, to which our Lord gave such excellent testimony? But as to the Apostles, — who does not know the miracles they did and the great number of them? Their handkerchiefs, their shadow, served for the prompt healing of the sick and driving away of the devils: hy the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done amongst the people (Acts xix. V.); and that this was in confirmation of their preaching S. Mark declares quite explicitly in the last words of his Gospel, and S. Paul to the Hebrews (ii. 4). How then shall those who in our age would allege an extraordinary mission excuse and relieve themselves of this proof of their mission? What privilege have they greater than an Apostolic, a Mosaic? What shall I say more. If our sovereign Master, consubstantial with the Father, having a mission so authentic that it comprises the communication of the same essence, if he himself, I say, who is the living source of all Ecclesiastical mission, has not chosen to dispense himself from this proof of miracles, what reason is there that these new ministers should be believed on their mere word? Our Lord very often alleges his mission to give credit to his words: — As my Father hath sent me I also send you (John xx. 21); My doctrine is not mine, hut of him that sent me (ibid. vii. 1 6); You doth know me, and you know whence I am; and I am not come of myself (ibid. 28). But also, to give authority to his mission, he brings forward his miracles, and attests that if he had not done among the Jews works which no other man had done, they would not have sinned in not believing him. And elsewhere he says to them: Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? Otherwise believe for the works themselves (ibid. xiv. 11, 12). He then who would be so rash as to boast of extraordinary mission without immediately producing miracles, deserves to be taken for an impostor. Now it is a fact that neither the first nor the last ministers have worked a single miracle: therefore they have no extraordinary mission.
Let us proceed.
I say, in the second place, that never must an extraordinary mission be received when disowned by the ordinary authority which is in the Church of Our Lord.
For, (i.) we are obliged to obey our ordinary pastors under pain of being heathens and publicans (Matt, xviii. 17): — how then can we place ourselves under other discipline than theirs? Extraordinaries would come in vain, since we should be obliged to refuse to listen to them, in the case that they were, as I have said, disowned by the ordinaries. (2.) God is not the author of dissension, but of union and peace (l Cor. xiv. 33), principally amongst his disciples and Church ministers; as Our Lord clearly shows in the holy prayer he made to his Father in the last days of his mortal life (John xvii.)
How then should he authorise two sorts of pastors, the one extraordinary, the other ordinary? As to the ordinary — it certainly is authorised, and as to the extraordinary we are supposing it to be; there would then be two different churches, which is contrary to the most pure word of Our Lord, who has but one sole spouse, one sole dove, one sole perfect one (Cant, vi.) And how could that be a united flock which should be led by two shepherds, unknown to each other, into different pastures, with different calls and folds, and each of them expecting to have the whole. Thus would it be with the Church under a variety of pastors ordinary and extraordinary, dragged hither and thither into various sects. Or is Our Lord divided (i Cor. i. 13), either in himself or in his body, which is the Church? — no, in good truth. On the contrary, there is but one Lord, who has composed his mystic body with a goodly variety of members, a body compacted and fitly joined together hy ivliat every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part (Eph. iv. 16). Therefore to try to make in the Church this division of ordinary and extraordinary members is to ruin and destroy it. We must then return to what we said, that an extraordinary vocation is never legitimate where it is disapproved of by the ordinary. (3.) And in effect where will you ever show me a legitimate extraordinary vocation which has not been received by the ordinary authority. S. Paul was extraordinarily called, — but was he not approved and authorised by the ordinary once and again? (Acts ix. xiii.) And the mission received from the ordinary authority is called a mission by the Holy Spirit (ibid, xiii. 4). The mission of S. John Baptist cannot properly be called extraordinary, because he taught nothing contrary to the Mosaic Church, and because he was of the priestly race. All the same, his doctrine being unusual was approved by the ordinary teaching office of the Jewish Church in the high embassy which was sent to him by the priests and Levites (John i. 19), the tenor of which implies the great esteem and reputation in which he was with them; and the very Pharisees who were seated on the chair of Moses, — did they not come to communicate in his baptism quite openly and unhesitatingly? This truly was to receive his mission in good earnest. Did not Our Lord, who was the Master, will to be received by Simeon, who was a priest, as appears from his blessing Our Lady and Joseph; by Zachary the priest; and by S. John? And for his passion, which was the principal fulfilment of his mission, — did he not will to have the prophetic testimony of him who was High Priest at that time. And this is what S. Paul teaches when he will have no man to take the, pastoral honour to himself, hut he, that is called ly God, as Aaron was (Heb. v. 4). For the vocation of Aaron was made by the ordinary, Moses, so that it was not God who placed his holy word in the mouth of Aaron immediately, but Moses, whom God commanded to do it: Speak to him, and put my words in his mouth; and I will he in thy mouth, and in his mouth (Ex. iv. 15).
And if we consider the words of S. Paul, we shall further learn that the vocation of pastors and Church rulers must be made visibly; and so with Our Lord and Master; — who, being sovereign pontiff, and pastor of all the ages, did not glorify himself, that is, did not take to himself the honour of his holy priesthood, as S. Paul had previously said, hut he who said to him: Thou art my Son, this day have I hegotten thee; and. Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. I beg you to ponder this expression — Jesus Christ is a high priest according to the order of Melchisedeck. Was he inducted and thrust into this honour by himself? No, he was called thereto. Who called him? His eternal Father. And how? Immediately and at the same time mediately: immediately at his Baptism and his Transfiguration, by this voice: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him; mediately by the Prophets, and above all by David in the places which S. Paul cites to this effect from the Psalms: Thou art my Son, this day have 1 begotten thee: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech. And everywhere the vocation is externally perceptible: the word in the cloud was heard, and in David heard and read; but S. Paul when proving the vocation of Our Lord quotes only the passage from David, in which he says Our Lord had been glorified by his Father; thus contenting himself with bringing forward the testimony which was perceptible, and given by means of the ordinary Scriptures and the received Prophets.
I say, thirdly, that the authority of the extraordinary mission never destroys the ordinary, and is never given to overthrow it. Witness all the Prophets, who never set up altar against altar, never overthrew the priesthood of Aaron, never abolished the constitutions of the Synagogue. Witness Our Lord, who declares that every kingdom divided against itself shall he brought to desolation, and a house upon a house shall fall (Luke xi. 17). Witness the respect which he paid to the chair of Moses, the doctrine of which he would have to be observed. And indeed if the extraordinary ought to abolish the ordinary, how should we know when, and how, and to whom, to give our obedience. No, no; the ordinary is immortal for such time as the Church is here below in the world. The pastors and teachers whom he has once given to the Church are to have a perpetual succession for the, ‘perfection of the saints . . . till we all meet in the unity of faith, and of the know- ledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fulness of Christ. That we may not now he children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, in the wickedness of men and in their craftiness (Eph. iv.) Such is the strong argument which S. Paul uses to prove that if the ordinary pastors and doctors had not perpetual succession, and were liable to have their authority abrogated by the extraordinary, we should also have but an irregular faith and discipline, interrupted at every step; we should be liable to be seduced by men, who on every occasion would boast of having an extraordinary vocation. Thus, like the Gentiles we should walk (as he infers afterwards) in the vanity of our mind (ibid. 17), each one persuading himself that he felt the movement of the Holy Ghost; of which our age furnishes so many examples that this is one of the strongest proofs that can be brought forward in this connection. For if the extraordinary may take away the ordinary ministration, to which shall we give the guardianship of it — to Calvin or to Luther, to Luther or to Paciomontanus, to Paciomontanus or to Brandratus, to Brandratus or to Brentius, to Brentius or to the Queen of England? — for each will draw to his or her side this pretext of extraordinary mission.