Were John XXIII and Paul VI Popes?

John XXIII (Pope from 1958 to 1963) and Paul VI (Pope from 1963 until his heresy in 1964) were Catholics. For one loses membership in the Church ONLY by heresy, schism, excommunication or apostasy. None of this can be found among these popes until 1964.

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Jesus favored His Church with the gifts of infallibility and indefectibility.

The Church has unanimously accepted John XXIII and Paul VI as popes, during several years, even after their death.

– The Church is infallible when 100% of its members and bishops (including the Pope if there is one) believe something about faith, morals or dogmatic facts (passive infallibility).

– Also is the Universal Ordinary Magistry infallible. This are all the bishops of the Church, together or spread over the world, are teaching the same truth about faith of morals and putting their source in the past, they are infallible. Of course, if they were not, the Church itself would be in error, what is impossible because of the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ “the gates of hell will not prevail against it”.

– All the bishops after the conclaves of 1958 and 1963 accepted John XXIII and Paul the VI as popes (until 1964). So in this dogmatic facts they were infallible.

– All the bishops after the heresy of 1965 of Vatican II continued to accepted John XXIII and Paul the VI as popes (until 1964). They were only two, Mgr Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and Mgr Castro de Mayer ; so very small in number because all the others felt in heresy by accepting Vaticanum II, and lost their membership of the catholic Church. So in this dogmatic facts this two bishops were infallible. If they were not, the Church itself would be in error, what is impossible because, again :

– Jesus promised this infallibility of the Church in the Holy Scripture: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16.18)

This is more than enough ! These are a fact and a dogma. We cannot refuse them.

One can put it in this way:

– Jesus is God.

– So He always tells the truth.

– So his promises are true and forever.

– Jesus promised: “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

– So the whole Church is infallible.

– So it is never unanimously mistaken about a “dogmatic fact”. See D.T.C. on this subject: whether a person is pope or not, is a dogmatic fact.

– So the Church is not mistaken in accepting John XXIII and Paul VI as popes, for never will the (whole) Church fall into error.


We said already that one loses one’s membership in the Church through heresy, schism, excommunication or apostasy. None of this happened during the entire life of John XXIII. He was never convinced of heresy either during his lifetime or now. Not even Pope Pius XII ever condemned him, expelled him or excommunicated him for heresy. He has never been accused or condemned for heresy by anyone during his lifetime and the time of his Papacy.

He was accused by some sedevacantists for heresy in the encyclical “Pacem in terris” (“every man has a right to his religion“) (1), but in the original Latin text there is (“every man has a right to religion“) (2).

The expression in (1) is heretical, but that of nr (2) is not !

BUT he was not a good catholic and he did a lot of harm to the Church. There is a long series of all the things he did wrong, he was on a list of “heresy suspects” under Pius XII, he was free mason, he was initiated among the rosicrucians in the Near East etc. He was a friend of the free masons, he received his cardinal’s hat from a f*m*, etc. Much has been written about it.

But hereby I quote St. Alphonsus: “Even if an intruder is elected pope and accepted by the whole Church, he is pope, for the whole Church cannot be mistaken”. A free mason infiltrated in the Church is an intruder. So we must not allow ourselves to be guided only by a holy hatred against all error, and be careful not “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”, otherwise we risk falling into…. errors. St. Alphonsus Liguori, Verità della fede, in Opere…, vol. VIII, p. 720, no. 9.

For to refuse a pope who has been accepted by the entire Church (in this case of John XXIII : from his election in 1958 to his death in 1963 and long after his death) is a schismatic act, and to advocate “that the entire Church can go wrong” is heretical, for it goes against the promise of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is indeed for love of truth and hatred of heresies and schisms that we must denounce all the errors of John XXIII but also by this same love of the truth accept his Papacy.

About the missal of 1962 : most of the abrogated vigils, were abrogated by Pius XII in his last years, and not by John XXIII, and the introduction of the name of St. Joseph in the canon of the 1962 missal was requested by a petition from people all over the Catholic world, among whom was Bishop Joseph Sarto (the future Pope St. Pius X).

The Church is infallible in matters of liturgy

The traditional doctrine of the Church presents as a certain doctrine the infallibility of the universal laws of the Church in general, and of the liturgical laws in particular. If the Church allowed or a fortiori ordered practices that were useless, dangerous or harmful to souls, what would remain of her holiness? Its rites would no longer be holy and sanctifying, as Christ Himself had willed them. What would then remain of his apostolicity? The Church today would no longer be the same as that of the apostles. Consequently, what would remain of his indefectibility? The gates of hell would have prevailed over her. Let us see, however, what is the opinion of the holy doctors and of the very Magisterium of the Church.

To those who denied that children had original sin, St. Augustine replied that the Church baptized them, and “who can ever advance any argument against such a sublime mother?” (Saint Augustine, sermon 293, n°10).

Saint Thomas, wondering if the rite of confirmation is suitable, after having advanced all the possible objections, simply answers: “on the contrary, the use of the Church, which is governed by the Holy Spirit, suffices” ; finally, he adds, “the Lord made this promise to his faithful: ‘where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am in the midst of them’ (Mat 18,20). It must therefore be held firm that the orders of the Church are directed by the wisdom of Christ. And therefore we must be certain that the rites observed by the Church in confirmation and in the other sacraments are proper.” (Summa Theologica, IIIa q72 a12.)

This is, substantially, the answer that the Church has always given to all those heretics who criticized one or another of her rites, or all of them. Thus, were condemned, by the Council of Constance (1415) and by Pope Martin V (in 1418), the Hussites who refused the use of communion under a single species (D 626 and 668) and depreciated the rites of communion. Church (D 665). The Hussites are the disciples of the priest Jan Hus (1369-1415), the Bohemian reformer who, influenced by the ideas of the English reformer John Wycleff (1320-1384), condemned the worldliness of the ecclesiastics. Fighted by the archbishop and censored by the university (1412), he radicalized his theological and social positions. He refused to recant his own heresies at the Council of Constance and was burned as a heretic. Against his disciples, also called utraquisti (the more moderate wing which wanted communion under both species) or taboriti (from Tabor, the city in which the harder wing of the movement settled in 1420), the Church organized 5 crusades, alas all in vain.

Thus the Council of Trent (1545-1563) condemned the Lutherans who lowered the Catholic rite of baptism (D 856), the practice of keeping the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle (D 879 and 889), the canon of the Mass ( D 942 and 953) and all the ceremonies of the missal, the ornaments, the incense, the words pronounced in a low voice, etc. (D 943 and 954), communion under a single species (D 935)… In the same way, the Jansenists gathered at the Synod of Pistoia (1786) were condemned by Pius VI (1794) for having led people to think that “the Church, which is directed by the Spirit of God, may constitute a discipline not only useless […] but also dangerous and harmful…” (D 1578, 1533 and 1573). So, to be brief, it is impossible for the Church to give poison to her children (Vatican Council I, D 1837). This is a truth “so certain theologically that to deny it would be a very serious mistake or even, in the opinion of the majority, heresy” (Cardinal Franzelin).

So because John XXIII was pope, the missal of 1962 he imposed and that has been accepted and celebrated by every bishop and priest, must be accepted as a catholic rite by the new generations also.

Paul VI

The same arguments apply to Paul VI until his public heresy of November 21, 1964 (Lumen Gentium). He has been Pope until this day, because until then he was accepted by the whole infallible Church.

« It does not matter that, in past centuries, some pontiff was illegitimately elected or took possession of the pontificate by fraud; it is enough that he was later accepted as pope by the whole Church, for by that fact he became the true pontiff. But if for a certain time he had not been truly and universally accepted by the Church, then, during that time, the Papal See would have been vacant, as it is vacant at the death of the Pope.»

(St. Alphonsus Liguori, Verità della fede, in Opere…, vol. VIII, p. 720, no. 9).

And Saint Alphonsus is not the only one.

The doctrine of “universal and peaceful acceptance” (here of John XXIII and Paul VI as Popes) is taught by the universal ordinary magisterium, that is, by the moral unanimity of the theologians; therefore it is infallible. When all the textbooks of theology, or almost all the theologians of the time, teach a doctrine, it is infallible; this is the case of the doctrine of peaceful acceptance, which is taught by :

Cicognani (Canon Law, 1947) ;

Cardinal Billot (De Ecclesia Christi, Quaest. XIV Th. 29, § 3) ;

Father Smith (Dr Littledale’s Theory of the Disappearance of the Papacy, 1896) ; 1

Father Connell (American Ecclesiastical Review, 1965) ; 2

Ferraris, who was the lexicographer of the Church of Rome, therefore a renowned theologian ;

Sylvester Joseph Hunter (Outlines of Dogmatic Theology, 1896) ;

Cardinal Journet (L’Église du Verbe Incarné) ;

Dom Guéranger (L’année liturgique, Vol XII, p.188)  ; 3

Ludwig Ott (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, 8-9; 299, 1953) ;

Wernz-Vidal (Jus can., II, p. 437, note 170) ;

Saint Alphonsus Liguori (Verità della fede, in Opere…, vol. VIII, p. 720, n° 9).

1 « The Church cannot err when it recognizes its leader. Nor can it recognize a false leader, nor can it separate itself from the true leader. The reasons for this assertion have been indicated to us by Ferraris, but it may be useful to repeat his explanations in greater detail. By virtue of the fundamental promises of Our Lord, it [the Church] has two prerogatives: indefectibility and immunity from error, and the permanent presence of the Holy Spirit, who prevails over the movements of the heart and mind and over the course of events, in order to ensure the continuity of these two prerogatives. The pontificate is an essential element of the constitution of the Church. Therefore, if the pontificate fell, the Church would lose its essential characteristics and would prove to be non-indefectible.»

(Dr Littledale’s Theory of the Disappearance of the Papacy, 1896)

2 «…we have an infallible certainty… This is an example of a fact which is not contained in the deposit of the Revelation, but which is so intimately connected with the Revelation that it must be within the competence of the Church’s magisterial authority to declare it infallible. The whole Church, teaching and believing, declares and believes this fact, and it follows that this fact is infallibly true. We accept it in ecclesiastical faith, according to the authority of the infallible Church.»

(Fr. Francis Connell, American ecclesiastical Review, 1965)

3 « The inevitable play of human passions, interfering with the election of the Vicar of Christ, can probably make the transmission of spiritual power uncertain at times. But when it is proved that the Church, always in possession of her freedom or holding it again, recognizes as the true Supreme Pontiff a Pope who was doubtful until then, this precise recognition is the proof that from that moment on at least, the occupant of the Apostolic See is invested by God himself.»

(Dom Guéranger, O.S.B., L’année liturgique, Vol XII, p.188)

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