Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Pius to the 13th Degree?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Pius to the 13th Degree?

Article excerpt

Did I read it wrong? Pope Pius XIII? Was there really an extra Roman numeral "I" there, or was I just seeing things? The last Pope Pius, the XII, died in 1958, and since then we have had one John (XXIII), one Paul (VI), two John Pauls (I and II), and now a Benedict (XVI) serve as popes. So what's this business about a Pope Pius XIII?

Would you believe that in 1998 Pope Pius XIII was elected in the mountains of Montana? White smoke puffed out of a stove chimney on top of a rustic cabin announcing his election. But no mobs of people gathered, no TV cameras beamed their signals across the world, and there was no "we interrupt this broadcast with the following bulletin ..."

There were yet other peculiarities about this papal election. No cardinals participated, nor were the electors physically present in Montana. Instead they cast their votes electronically. Each elector had a PIN number to use so that each vote could be verified. A conclave committee triple-checked the proceedings to ensure no monkey business was afoot.

All this happened on Oct. 24, 1998 when Father Lucian Pulvermacher was elected. He took the name Pius XIII to emphasize that the last validly elected pope was Pius XII. The others, all pretenders to the papal throne, were allegedly frauds because they were in some way, shape, or form non-Catholic, and as everyone knows non-Catholics cannot be elected pope.

Wait, there's more.

All the cardinals appointed by Pius XII were long dead. None of the cardinals appointed by the pretender popes could be considered valid. …

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