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When multiple popes ruled Christianity
Apologizing for centuries of pandemonium caused by popes at war, and giving a smear of whitewash to their actions, the Vatican admitted that at the time of Pope Alexander II (1061-73) ‘the Church was torn by the schisms of anti-popes, simony, and clerical incontinence’¹ and the mayhem continued unabated. An anti-pope was a face-saving title given to popes who the Vatican later presented as unlawfully appointed while another pope reigned. However, that distinction is purely arbitrary for all papal contenders were legally elected opponents, each with a formidable military faction, armed Curias and blood-sodden prelates. This confession from the Vatican:
‘At various times in the history of the church illegal pretenders to the Papal Chair have arisen, and frequently exercised pontifical functions in defiance of the true occupant. According to [Cardinal] Hergenrother (d. 1890), there are 29 [doublet and triplet sets] in the following order [naming them] beginning about 200 A.D. and extending down to 1449.²
The Vatican has yet to answer these simple questions; ‘Which pope of the double or triple inhabitants of the papal chair(s) was the ‘true occupant’, and what factors made him the legal pope? Contenders for the office were elected at formal and uncontested enclaves, sometimes on the same day, and on many occasions multiple popes shared the Lateran Palace in Rome.³ From what records are available, it appears that for centuries a plurality of ruling popes was standard Catholic operational procedure, and that makes a mockery of the Vatican’s claim of a singular ‘apostolic successor’.
Four papal chairs
There is more to this peculiar side of Vatican history and it is found in an old book called Secrets of the Christian Fathers, written in 1685 by Bishop J. W. Sergerus. The author provides evidence from Vatican documents that at some periods in Church history there were four popes occupying the papal chair(s), each in separate buildings, operating independently with his own staff, and he names them. One example is that of the self-declared Pope Benedict XIV (1425) who for years rivalled popes Benedict XIII (1427), Clement VIII (1429), and Martin V (1431). Church historians today ingeniously refer to the fourth member of the quadruple grouping of popes as ‘a counter anti-pope’.4
¹Catholic Encyclopedia, i, 541
²Catholic Encyclopedia, i, 582
³The Criminal History of the Papacy, Tony Bushby, NEXUS Magazine article, 2006
4The Popes, A Concise Biographical History, Burns and Oates, Publishers to the Holy See, London, 1964
Quote of the day:
"The Church, by its own admissions of false pretenses, has no legal standing in our society".