Priest “elected as pope” in Montana?

By Kathleen Plumb

Editor, The Northern Light


Because it is controversial, or seen as seditious, many avoid it. An obscure war of 43 years, between traditional and modern views has split the Catholic Church. Modernists gleefully brought down the historic, artistic, (and some would add sacred) character of the Church, remodeling with preschool art banners, and trite slogans. But having conquered, they are closing their own churches and schools, in what appears to be self-destruction. The media hides the traditional side, which initially lost all ground, but has rebuilt and is fighting back. Meanwhile, a priest who claims to be pope turns attention to the conflict in Montana.


 KALISPELL — On Oct. 24, 1998 followers worldwide voted to elect as pope (then) 80-year-old Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher O.F.M. Cap. According to their web site, an announcement was made “to the world via any and every means available, including Newspapers, TV and Radio Stations, Internet, and Short Wave Radio.” 


It’s no joke. To those who love the Church, it’s terribly serious. Even so, very few Catholics believe “Pope Pius XIII” was validly elected, but many sympathize with the underlying reasons for his desperate election.


Many Catholics believe that the last true pope died in 1958. At issue are changes in core beliefs and worship, adopted and continued under popes since that time. These controversial changes would be completely null and void, as specifically referred to in Catholic law, if these popes were not validly elected. Additionally, traditionalists contend that even popes don’t have authority to change the particular things involved.


No other Christian religion has as many adherents as the Vatican claims, and these are found in every country. Whether you are Catholic or not, what their leader does affects the world. Challenges to that leader have been concealed and the public deprived of the right to consider the facts. If it’s not serious, why would anyone so thoroughly black-out this story, and who is responsible?



Earl Pulvermacher born April 20, 1918, made solemn vows in the Capuchin Order (Franciscan) in 1942, and was given the name Lucian. He was ordained a priest in 1946. His seminary course was typical: 4 years Minor Seminary, 1 year Capuchin Novitiate, 4 years philosophy, and 4 years theology.  He spent 28 years in foreign missionary service, 21 years in Japan (the Ryukyu Islands - Okinawa) and the rest in Australia.


John Daly is a translator whose specialty is ecclesiastical Latin, and Canon Law.  In correspondence with The Northern Light he says, I met Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher several times in 1983 when he visited Europe three times.” The translator and Catholic author, gives his perspective:  The man he knows is, “definitely not an intellectual”, but he is  “detached from money, hard-working, [and] regularly on his knees.” Daly notes that although Fr. Pulvermacher was born in 1918, “his mother is still alive!”. Certainly  Pius XIII came from a devout family, and told The Northern Light (7-6-97), “I have three brothers who are also Capuchin priests…” who follow the “new order”. One of these may now be a member of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), an order originally founded to preserve the traditional priesthood.


From Kalispell, Fr. Pulvermacher moved to Spokane, Washington sometime after his election. And now resides in Springdale, a small town about 60 miles northwest of Spokane. Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt of Spokane, speculates that Pius XIII came there hoping to draw from the large number of traditional Catholics in the area. However, he says Pius XIII has gained few, if any, new followers.


Robert Hess, the editor of SFN  (Saint Francis Newsletter) tells The Northern Light,  “The entire group is sincere and means well, but, in my opinion, they are mistaken that they can validly elect a pontiff ...”1


 “I have known him for about ten years,” says Hess, a Third Order Franciscan. Initially, he was impressed and followed Fr. Pulvermacher for a year previous to his becoming Pius XIII. Perhaps because he was ordained in 1946, Hess says Fr. Pulvermacher readily saw “the disaster of following John XXIII’s reforms”.


Post Vatican II Church

In his writings, Pius XIII says there is a serious conflict, which can only be understood by examining and comparing teachings before and after the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). “...there is a great difference between the doctrines of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church and those of the post-Vatican II ‘Catholic Church’. Once you recognize this, you are forced to admit that they are not one and the same Church.”


Fr. Pulvermacher and others faced a dilemma. If the leader of a religion reverses its doctrines and changes its practices, how can it be the same religion that he heads?


After the death of Pope Pius XII (12th) in 1958, a new Vatican II Church was born, and the “old” Church mostly died with him. Under his (apparent) successors the new Vatican Church stopped old practices and set up new ones. In the same way that Anglican and Lutheran Churches made changes when they branched off. However, in this case, the changes were instituted from the leadership in the Vatican, and the council. Traditionalists say the turning point was when the original Sacrifice of the Mass was abolished by Paul VI in 1969 and was replaced with a vastly different “new order of mass”.


The Apostolic Constitution, “Quo Primum” was the culmination of the Council of Trent, the longest council, which was continued during the reigns of several popes. In the constitution, Pope St. Pius V forbid any changes in the original Mass, saying that it “cannot be revoked or modified, but remain always valid and retain its full force” and sanctioned this form in “perpetuity” in the strictest of terms. Just as the Council of Hippo determined which books are included in the New Testament (393 A.D.), the Council of Trent determined what prayers and actions are in the Sacrifice of the Mass. These and no others are to be to be used, and nothing is to be removed. 


Regardless, the Vatican abolished the original Mass in 1969. But not to appear unfair, they permitted  their own traditional version (with restrictions and altered) in 1982, on an extremely limited scale. This is available in selected cities, but not in Montana, nor for hundreds of miles.


Some think, traditional-minded Catholics are just old-fashioned. But traditionalists say they are clinging to the mind and heart of Christ’s Church. It’s nonsense to think as some do, that those who are loyal to the earlier beliefs have left their religion.  And for those who may have been misinformed, it must be stressed that, traditionalists question only the lawfulness of the changes, and the facts concerning the elections -- not the office of the pope itself. The validity of new laws depends on the valid elections of those popes who institute them. Still, popes have no authority to discard books of the Bible and certain other things.


Among the Vatican’s adherents are many who feel a painful loss, question changes, or are disturbed by innovations. But because of the confusing circumstances, or the threat of excommunication, they remain in turmoil without a solution.


Today, some estimate more than 7 million Catholics steadfastly adhere to the (earlier) laws, beliefs and practices of the Church. Most have serious doubts concerning whether John Paul II was lawfully elected. Some have accepted his election, but don’t accept his authority in areas of conflict.  In the past 2000 years, there have been 37  “anti-popes”2  (i.e. those not validly elected), but the number of men now claiming the crown is unique in history.


 “It's been some 43 years of interregnum - the time between popes,” Hess explains. “Some are concerned that the Church will fail because popes consecrate bishops, bishops ordain priests, and priests minister to the faithful. Thus some groups are eager to elect a pope so that valid and licit prelates and clergy do not become extinct. Some study the procedure of a papal election and try to come as close to a real election as possible. But, in my opinion, they have gone too far. Their methods are not in keeping with established rules. I believe God will correct the disaster…” he says, adding that this must be the subject of the “Fatima secret”, which was to be revealed in 1960. But John XXIII did not release it. “Rome insulted our intelligence,” Hess says, “by releasing a fake ‘Fatima Secret’ last year.” This position is shared by the “Fatima Priest” Fr. Gruner, who angered Rome by his outspoken assertions.


The SFN editor believes there’s perhaps 100  “Pulvermacherites” today. “They seek to live the Catholic life with their pope and to expose the Conciliarist Church [i.e. Church in union with John Paul II] as heretical. They seek change through prayer and education …While most traditional Catholics know there is trouble in the Conciliarist Church, they know to avoid the quick fixes that such groups as this one has taken.”


Hess says that, aside from accepting Pius XIII as their pope, Pius’ followers are much like  “sedevacantists” speaking of himself and others – “those traditional Catholics who do not regard John XXIII (1958) through the present John Paul II as true popes. “We, from study and prayer, believe them to be anti-popes. That the seat (sede) of St. Peter is vacant (vacante).”


The election of  Pius XIII follows almost 20 others who, attempting to fill the void,  have claimed the crown since 1958. “[It] seems like they are looking for something and are willing to fall for anything that seems to give some possible answer to the chaos of the Novus Ordo [new order],” says Fr. Martin Skierka, a traditional Catholic priest in Montana. Fr. Skierka serves four parishes in the state, including Pompey’s Pillar. His primary parish is in Black Eagle. Other traditional priests also serve Montana.


Other popes

Speaking for the publication Veritas, editors Mrs. Margaret Riley and Catharine Riley,

tell The Northern Light that they were aware of several elections in Canada, and Bawden in Kansas. Veritas notes the wealth of information on the Forte in Fides web site – perhaps the first of its kind, created by the late Jim McNally, a leader in the traditional Catholic movement.3  


Catholic, a traditionalist magazine, lists ten men (not including John Paul II or other disputed popes since 1958). Names are given and the dates on which their claims were made: “Peter II, Maurice Archieri, 1995, Paris, France;  Peter II, Julius Tischler, Germany;  Peter Romanus II William Kamm (Little Pebble), Australia;  Gregory XVII Gaston Tremblay, St. Jovite, Canada, 1968;  Gregory XVII Clement Diminquez y Gomez, Palmar de Troya, Spain, 1978;  Hadrian VII, Francis Konrad Schuckardt, 1984;  Valerian I, Fr. Valerio Vestini, Avezzano, Italy, 1990;  Linus II, Victor Von Pentz, England, 1994;  Pius XIII, Fr. Lucien [sic] Pulvermacher, Springdale, WA, USA, 1998;  Michael I, David Bawden, Delia, KS, USA, 1990”



“My investigation,” says the SFN editor, “has uncovered exactly sixteen people who have decided to become ‘pope’. Some claim God made them pope, and others have been elected by their followers.” He adds that “Pope Hadrian VII”, who once had established a wide following in Spokane before his election, now travels between Arizona and Washington State. “Today, there are eight living men who are claiming to be pope. […] This is a great scandal in the Church, but [at this time] I know of yet another group that plans an election, and one man in Australia that plans to come forward as the pope when John Paul II dies!”


Why would so many traditional Catholics want to elect a pope when there appears to be one already? Because according to a vast number of sources and authorities John Paul II is not a validly elected pope of the Catholic Church. And because this conclusion is seen with such certainty, some have rashly sought to elect a pope without adhering to the lawful procedure. One solution would create an investigative body that could verify the lawfulness of John Paul II’s claim. An investigation is truly warranted by the millions who question the election of John Paul II or his orthodoxy.


Has John Paul II responded?

 “No  [John Paul II] never has responded to any of the charges made against him,” Veritas answers The Northern Light.


 “Definitely not,” says SFN. “…[To non-Catholics] John Paul II opens his arms and exchanges gifts and hugs. He has even kissed the Koran, the holy book of the Muslims.” But, says Hess, he ignores traditional Catholics.


Although there have been several books written, Daly believes, “There still exists no serious book setting out the sedevacantist case, so we don’t know whether it would have been taken notice of if it had been written.  We do know that the Vatican is aware of sedevacantism and has been for a long time…”


The mainstream media does not report anything concerning this issue of international magnitude at all. When the religious press reports an important related issue, Mr. Hess says, “We are presented as a small number of discontents who will not accept change. But our position is as previous popes taught back to the time of Christ. It is the new Conciliarist Church - that follows the Second

Vatican Council - that has broken with the past and adopted new teachings, some of them previously condemned.


SFN editor Robert Hess sums up the traditionalist position, asking Catholics to weigh it:


We are what you once were.

We believe what you once believed.

We worship as you once worshipped.


If we are wrong now, you were wrong then.

If you were right then, we are right now.

(Author unknown.)



To find out more about Traditional Catholic Masses in Montana:

Fr. Martin Skierka


2200 Smelter Ave., Black Eagle, MT 59414

See also


SFN -- St. Francis Newsletter

1554 Kay Court

Paradise, CA 95969-4303

Subscriptions are free, only by email:

Papal Claimants site:


Pope Pius XIII:

Papal Office of the tCC

P.O. Box 133

Springdale, WA  99173


John Daly

Le Bouchillou, 24410 Servanches, France



is affiliated with the Society of St. Pius X, published at

Golgatha Monastery Island

Papa Stronsay

Orkney Islands  KW17  1AR

Scotland  UK

and distributed in the USA by Richard Bullard, POB 1789, Post Falls, ID  83877-1789  email:


Info online popes:

Veritas: email:



Fr. Kevin Vaillancourt

Spokane, WA   Publications available from this email:


For more info, check our links page at The Northern Light Online.

Check our link to The Catholic Encyclopedia for info on “antipopes” and volumes of other topics!

Subscriptions available at this address for $29 per year:

The Northern Light

Box 77, Molt, Montana  59057


Look for books on this subject available from TAN Books, POB 424, Rockford, Illinois, 61105




  1. Those in contact with The Northern Light, say perhaps hundreds of followers (including those from other countries) emailed , or faxed votes “electing” Pius XIII.
  2. The 1958 National Catholic Almanac lists 37 antipopes under their chosen name, with the birthplace, and dates of alleged reigns. (Rev. Felican A. Foy O.F.M., editor, © 1957) Other Catholic sources do not list the “Clementine Popes” of the “Schism of the West” as antipopes, nor as true popes, usually with some explanation for that unusual era.
  3. A link to Forte in Fides is found at The Northern Light online.




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