In Defense of The Laity's Right
To Supply The Widowed Church With A Valid Pope
Against the Sectarian John Lane

How I Broke With John Lane's Sect

© Lúcio Mascarenhas, Bombay, India. URL:
PUBLISHED on the Internet: December 12, 2000. Revised May 29, 2004; Nov., 19, 2006.


John Lane, Anti-Papalist or Acephalist sectarian
John Lane, Acephalist sectarian
For the original form of this document, see:
  1. In Defense Of Attempted Elections of The Pope
For the background to this document, see the following articles:
  1. How I Came To Acknowledge Pope Michael
  2. Acephalism OR The Anti-Papal Conspiracy
I found an article by John Lane which I saw was rife with grave theological errors, and so, I wrote to him the substance of this article in refutation. In response, he cut off relationship with me. In doing so, he inadvertantly did me a great favor, by destroying his cultist hold over me and forcing me to think for myself.

John Lane's article was originally written specifically against the pretended election of the Occultist heretic and pretended priest, Earl "Lucian" Pulvermacher, as the Antipope Pius XIII: John Lane: Some Comments On 'Lay' Papal Elections.
Position 1: Canon Law does not outlaw lay papal elections.

John Lane: "A lack of negative canonical provisions is hardly proof that something is permissible. Canon Law does not state clearly that a heretic cannot be pope, either, but divine law does. But in this matter there is something more. There are the positive canonical provisions governing papal elections. Electing a pope any other way is certainly contrary to ecclesiastical law. Of course, I am not arguing that canon law cannot ever be set aside, for grave reasons. But the burden to justify their actions is upon those who wish to do so. The first count against all of the "elections" so far held is that the arguments in favour of them have been entirely too superficial and unconvincing."

Lúcio Mascarenhas: The burden of justifying an election: I think that this is a matter that is sufficiently proved. I make out the case in my article Orthopapism. His Holiness Pope Michael I also makes it more than convincingly at his website, The Vatican In Exile.

Position 2: The pope is the head of the Church, which retains the power to provide herself with a visible head. Therefore the members of the Church must have the power of electing a pope.

John Lane: "The first sentence of the Position is perfectly true. The second is erroneous by lack of precision. The question is how a valid election can and must be done. The divine law is that the election of the Roman Pontiff is, firstly, the election of the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome is automatically the Supreme Pontiff. In other words, possession of the papal supremacy is an effect, a concomitant effect, of possession of the See of Rome. And the rightful electors, by divine law, are the Roman Clergy.

"Ecclesiastical law has reserved this right to the senior Roman Clergy, the Cardinals (the parochial clergy of Rome). That is, those possessing offices in the Roman diocese. A reasonable approach to our current situation would surely be to work from that point down, progressively. Certainly I think we have to show that one thing is impossible before we consider less traditional things. Now there is no difficulty in showing that an election carried out by cardinals is impossible, since the ones which claim the title are all products of the V2 church."

Lúcio Mascarenhas: As I found out in 1993-94 in the Catholic Encylopaedia, the right of electing the Bishop of Rome, passes from the College of Cardinals, to the other Roman Clergy (see Election of the Pope: Catholic Encyclopedia article)

But further, the Catholic Encyclopaedia taught me, that given that they cannot or would not act, for whatever reason, the universal Church has the right to act without waiting for them, and the Pope properly elected by them is the true Pope and this election and Pope binds on all, unto their salvation. This is the Precedent of Constance.

Position 3: If there are no cardinals then obviously the laity must and can act.

John Lane: "Not so fast. It is un-Catholic to do anything radical unless it is proved that less radical things are impossible. Therefore firstly we must consider less radical possibilities. For example, we might postulate that in the absence of office-holding Roman Clergy the duty and right of electing a replacement bishop devolves upon the rest of the Roman Clergy. Now at first sight we might presume that there are no longer any such, due to the fact that they have all left the Church through heresy.

"But in view of the seriousness of the allegation (that Rome no longer has a single true Catholic priest remaining), and the implications for the indefectibility of the Church which that allegation has, I would think that a presumption, even one which appears on the surface to be so reasonable, is not sufficient. I would think proof would be required. And for anyone who has been to Rome (or any large, European city), the difficulty is compounded by the fact that Rome is a labyrinth.

"Personally, the idea that various retired priests are living in obscurity in some corner of Rome or other, having remained Catholic, is hardly difficult. Rome has countless suburbs, filled with massive high-rise flats, not to mention almost 1000 churches, most of which had clergy attached to them in the past."

Book 'Will The Church Survive The Twentieth Century?'Lúcio Mascarenhas: The need of the Church (to supply itself with a legitimate Head) is urgent, and this is not my teaching, but that of the Church itself.

This is demonstrated by the quotes given in Benns & Bawden’s book, Will The Catholic Church Survive The Twentieth Century?.

"... the safety of the Church becomes the supreme law, and the first duty of the abandoned flock is to find a new shepherd...."J. Wilhelms, Entry General Councils in the 1907-1913 Catholic Encyclopædia, as reproduced in Will The Catholic Church Survive..., page 328 & 361
See also Charles Journet, as quoted by the Sedevacantist bishop, Mark Pivarunas, C.M.R.I., and by His Holiness, Pope Michael I:
"(Cajetan)... 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 (Apologia, cap. xiii, no. 736). 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 (no. 737).

"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 (ibid., no. 204)."
— Charles Journet, The Church of the Word Incarnate
We cannot wait for somebody to come in like a magician’s rabbit pulled out of a hat. That someone will come out and do this is only Probable and not Certain. It is wiser and safer to follow the Known Methods, following the Precedents of the Church.

Position 4: But in the absence of proof that there are such priests, surely then we can say that there are none, and proceed to other possibilities, such as lay elections?

John Lane: "Not at all, because there are the Roman priests who have left the Church by heresy and/or schism, who may yet recover their membership in the Mystical Body by public repentance. I have yet to see a convincing argument which proves that a priest who has lapsed into public heresy, and subsequently publicly repented, is not a member of his diocese. He may not be able to reclaim any offices he might previously have held, but does that mean he is no longer incardinated in the diocese of Rome? That seems to be an extraordinary claim.

"It appears that in fact there is nothing to say that a number of former clergymen may not at some point wake up to their errors, repent, and then act to repair the situation.

"Certainly grace can do anything, and will, if only we pray and sacrifice sufficiently."

Lúcio Mascarenhas: A person who falls from the faith, retains his orders but loses his jurisdiction. That is lost, really and truly. He cannot regain it AUTOMATICALLY by repentance, but must be given it back, either explicitly or tacitly, by being allowed to exercise it unquestioned. This is my understanding of Church Traditions and teachings.

See also John Lane's own statement:
(Pope Paul IV's Bull Cum ex apostolatus officio)... laid down that if any heretic was elected to the papacy, the election would be null and void, and incapable of future ratification even by obedience accorded by all, or through the lapse of any period of time. John Lane, Pope St. Pius V
Lane is also fully aware of Canon Law and its provisions concerning defectors to heresy and schism: One is degraded and loses all offices (See John Lane: The Loss of Ecclesiastical Offices; H.H. Pope Michael: Schism, Heresy & Apostasy & H.H. Pope Michael: Pope Paul IV's Bull 'Cum ex...' Retained In Canon Law). Loss of office due to schism annihilates "incardination", for the very simple reason that to be incardinated, one must first of all be Catholic. Unlike the sacramental character of the priesthood, incardination is not a permanent mark, and so can and is be lost, for example when a priest migrates from being incardinated in one diocese to being incardinated in another by following the canonical procedures (See David Dunford in the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910, Entry Incardination & Excardination). There is NO Canon Law provision that automatically restores incardination or any kind of status to a person returning from heresy and schism. So where does Lane get his strange ideas from?

Besides, the matter of urgency is there. We cannot keeping on waiting indefinitely, when we are capable of acting. To refuse our duty is not virtue but a sin, and there is no excuse for it. Remember the longer we wait, the more souls are lost. And the rejection of a certainly valid though controversial election would not be our fault but of those who reject it, so we shall be innocent if they are damned. But otherwise, since we are liable one to another, we become responsible for the loss of souls as a result of our resisting or obstructing a valid election.

[See also the question of "true & false scandal"].

And while it is necessary to pray and make sacrifices towards this end, the Church will not be supplied by this means but by positive actual action. Prayer has its place, in that it helps, but it cannot exclude action — the fulfilment of one’s duties. To deny the right and duty of action is the Heresy of Quietism!

Position 5: What if it can be proved that all of the above solutions are in fact impossible?

John Lane: "If no election by the clergy of Rome is any longer possible, then other possibilities may be considered. One possibility, countenanced by numerous canonists and theologians, is an election by an extraordinary general council (an "imperfect general council" — so called because it would lack the pope's sanction, required for any council to be truly ecumenical). Evidently it remains to be shown whether there are any bishops who retain their offices in the Catholic Church, and who could meet in such a council. To deny that there are any such bishops is implicitly to deny a dogma of the faith — that Holy Church will continue essentially unchanged until the end of time. And her constitution includes the office of bishop as an essential element. Certainly we know she has never been without any bishops at all prior to this era."

Lúcio Mascarenhas: Not only was Constance not truly speaking an Authorized Ecumenical Council, it was not even, properly speaking, an Ecumenical Council at all, in the sense that Council has — a council of Bishops. Rather, it was PRECISELY in nature the same thing as the assembly that elected His Holiness Pope Michael I, or the assemblies that attempted the elections of the Antipopes Linus 2 & Pius 13, only on a much larger and grander scale, for Constance comprised of comparatively few bishops but many doctors of theology and of canon and civil law, procurators of bishops, deputies of universities, cathedral chapters, provosts, etc., agents and representatives of princes, etc.

And, let us remember, neither the convokers of the Council of Constance or this Council itself, either waited or went down on bent knees asking the Particular Church of Rome, in and through its clerics, to do their duty of supplying the Church with a valid head.

Position 6: What if it can be shown that there are no bishops?

John Lane: The election of bishops is reserved to the clergy by right. This would appear to be divine law, however that is not certain, other possibilities would then be considered. But there remains the traditional clergy to consider. One would think that before proceeding to such a doubtful, and therefore hazardous, solution, as a lay election, an election by a council of junior clergy, the traditional priests, could be considered. Even this presents serious problems. These men appear unable, for the greater part, to claim the positive sanction of Holy Church. A great deal of research would be needed before such a solution could produce a clear and secure designation of a pope.

Lúcio Mascarenhas: If it were in any manner true that the elections of bishops and the Pope were restricted solely to clerics, the Particular Roman Church would never have tolerated the alleged interference — and participation — of the laity in these elections.

Never have any Catholic canonist or other teacher ever claimed that the election of bishops is reserved to the clerics... by divine law. On the contrary, they have always testified against precisely such a claim. Thus, we have:
"The mode of designation (i.e., election of the Pope) has not been determined by God by any divine law, and so it remains free to be determined by ecclesiastical law." — Rev. William Humphries, Urbs et Orbis, 1919.
But, as a matter of fact, we know that for the full first thousand years of Church history, elections were jointly done by clerics and laity, and that the practise of solely clerical elections was an innovation by the Hildebrandine Reformers (led by Hildebrand or Pope St. Gregory VII).

Moreover, the Hildebrandine Reformer Pope, Nicholas II, who altered the law of the Church to impose the innovation of Elections of the Popes by Cardinals in Conclave, also provided, upon lay protest, that the Church has the right to return to the older law (See The Laity May Elect A Pope).

Moreover, these laws restricting election to the clerical state give way to necessity (See Journet & Wilhelm, etc., above).

Position 7: Why not simply avoid the difficulties engendered by the status of the traditional clergy, and consider a lay election instead? Perhaps it will prove more reasonable and safe?

John Lane: A lay election is unheard of in Church history. It is true that on occasion laymen have participated in episcopal elections, even papal elections, but always the clergy also sanctioned the result. Clearly then, these occasions prove nothing - it is entirely possible that the laymen added nothing to the validity of such elections. What would be needed would an example of an election in which the clergy did not participate, and it is not too much to claim that there has never been such an election in the Catholic Church.

Suffice to say that lay elections must be shown to be both licit and necessary. These are two completely separate points, to be proven separately. And the home-election pamphleteers haven't yet done the work required to prove that thesis, in my humble opinion.

Lúcio Mascarenhas: That is, at least most probably true, that there have never been a purely lay election of a bishop, although there is some possible doubt about that, since it is possible that some Popes were nominated by the Ottonian German emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Then again, we have Statements from before this timethat say that a lay electee would be supplied to be made legitimate. What did those statements mean?

However, the matter does not end there. The Church is not a prisoner of Precedents, but has boldly MADE them when necessary. History, of any kind, is the history of the making of precedents, not of their being followed, and that is just as certain of the Church as it is of anything else.

Logically, every precedent must have had a beginning. Now it is certain that not all Church precedents were commenced by Christ and His Apostles...

Therefore, the Church commenced them... at some time or the other. If the Church could commence one precedent, it has the power to negate it and to commence a different practice.

Obviously, because of the nature and constitution of the Church, it cannot do so arbitarily, but that the making of precedents must be imperated by the necessity of the Church, and must accord with the Fundamental Law of the Church.

Let us ask, what was the precedent for Pisa and Constance, in Church law, teachings, traditions or precedents? NIL! Yet Constance did succeed, and saved the Church.

[Lane's statement that "it is entirely possible that the laymen added nothing to the validity of such elections" is something that can only be described as being breathtakingly malicious and ignorant.

There is no logical reason why the Church would permit, for more than a thousand years, the laity to participate in the election of bishops and the pope, if, as Lane claims, their presence added nothing. Besides belittling the laity without good cause, Lane mocks those ancient clerics who co-participated with the laity in such elections of being implicitly superstitious idiots, for we cannot adduce any other reason than pure superstition for these clerics so permitting the laity to co-participate, when their (laity's) presence added nothing to the value of such elections!!!

And, in answer to Lane's bald claim — which he has made in his 2000 A.D. article — that "the home-election pamphleteers haven't yet done the work required to prove the thesis that lay elections are both both licit and necessary, in my humble opinion," I would point out to Benns & Bawden's 1989 book, "Will The Catholic Church Survive..." as proof against this cocky pretension!!!]

Position 8: If any extraordinary solution were adopted, how would Catholics be sure of its validity?

John Lane: I think it follows from the loving providence of the Almighty that He would want simple Catholics to be able to identify the Roman Pontiff with some security. So that any extraordinary election must surely be accompanied by some sort of unmistakable signs from heaven, not to give it validity, but to ensure that good men could be certain about so essential a matter as who their pope was.

None of the "elections" so far conducted have resulted in anything like a public and benevolent sign from Heaven. Instead each of them has tumbled from scandal to scandal, not to mention absurdities of the first order. Fr. Pulvermacher, for example, has gained "episcopal orders" by the interesting expedient of simply declaring a man a bishop, by his own "papal" authority, and then having that newly-created "bishop" consecrate him a "bishop" in turn. One would not have believed anything so infantile could be attempted if it hadn't been actually done.

Lúcio Mascarenhas: There is nothing in Church law or anything else, to justify such a claim — that an extra-ordinary election will be certified, proved or adverted to by some miracle.

Constance was not.

But more importantly, such a position is extremely dangerous, and can lead to one’s ruin. God has guaranteed no miraculous signs, and when we look for them nevertheless, instead of doing our duty according to the reasons of the Faith, we run the risk of having our sought-for miracle supplied, not by God, but by the Devil, and one that will, naturally enough, lead us to him rather than to God.

And how does one know which sign is from God and which one is from Satan? That work of scrutinising the spirits is of the Magisterium, and obviously, the Magisterium is reduced to an inactive state at this time, so that it cannot guide us in this matter. Do we really want such a ‘sign’?

There is no real scandal at the spectacle of so many people claiming to be pope. The Church has always taught us to use our brains and to reason out the faith in such circumstances. Given that, the only "real" scandal is Pharisaical, not real.

There are basically only three Papal Claimants: In chronological order: David Allen Bawden, Viktor von Pentz, Earl "Lucian" Pulvermacher. Now it is obvious that when one man is legitimately elected pope, and he remains pope, there cannot be another election until he dies, abdicates, resigns or has demonstrably lost the Papal Office.

Therefore, we are obliged to enquire which of these three was elected first; then enquire as to the procedure utilized.

David Allen Bawden was elected first; and the procedure utilized was legitimate. Therefore, our search ends here, and it is only the dishonest who will deny or who will reject this fact. To reject that Bawden is the true Pope is factually, not to reject Bawden, but to reject Catholicism and Christ...!

PUBLISHED on the Internet: December 12, 2000. Revised May 29, 2004; Nov., 19, 2006.


Written with the purpose of educating people in matters concerning the Catholic Resistance to the Modernist Apostasy, and based on the principles elucidated by the Church, that the truth is never afraid, and that the Church is never afraid of the Truth, and on the principles elucidated by Frs. Rumble & Carty and by Fulton Sheen in his essay, "The Art of Controversy". — Benedicamus Deus, Lúcio.

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