This revised story is one of a truly anonymous alternative pope and a howling banshee. I can only know he exists, because there is a website and my own writing has caused this person to write reams of shrill and incoherent “apologetics”.
Some years ago, an Englishman by the name of Thomas Sparks was running a website. His main thesis was that of Fr Leonard Feeney who favoured a rigourist interpretation of the doctrine extra Ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the Church there is no salvation”). He took the position that baptism of blood and baptism of desire are unavailing and that therefore no non-Catholics will be saved. It would also seem that he promoted anti-Semitism and racism. Thomas Sparks went further and promoted full-blown Jansenism, which is based on a theory of predestination and grace based on Saint Augustine that is strikingly similar to Calvinism. The site was eventually closed down and no one heard any more from Mr Sparks. I am led to believe that he lost his Christian faith entirely and went into seclusion.
The same site was taken over by someone claiming to be pope under the name of Boniface X, undoubtedly inspired by Boniface VIII who issued the bull Unam Sanctam in 1302. This act of the papal magisterium represented the apotheosis of the claims of a pope to absolute political and temporal power.
This is quoted from his Twitter page:
In case there are liars who say otherwise, The Apostolic See acquired the electronic domain http://romancatholicism.org recently, and began actively using the domain in 2019. It does not approve of any errors taught by the original owners of the domain prior to 2019.
This American claiming to be pope Boniface X also runs a Twitter page on Pope Boniface X (Twitter).
It turns out that there are several claims to this name, but only one running this website. The name of Phillip Barlett is mentioned, but it could well be false. IP addresses and given phone numbers indicate that the centre of activity is Florida in the USA.
Published on 21st October 2019 on Twitter:
Boniface X wears the normal modest clothes of a layperson as often was done by Peter the Apostle. This is because there are no regular ceremonies in the Church at this time. In the event ceremonies are required and a bishop enters the Church, this may radically change.
The true Pope, Boniface X, is the one who holds to the medieval dogmas and can prove his jurisdiction. At this time there are no regular ceremonies happening due to the fact that there are no orders, and emphasis is placed at this time on holding the proper faith.
I have to conclude that, like Pope Michael in the USA, this is a layman waiting for a bishop to come from somewhere, confer the necessary ordinations (presumably in exchange for being “canonically regularised”) and making it possible to restore the sacramental life of that church. In the website, he writes “At this time the Pontiff is a layman“.
It is unlikely that this great pontiff was elected by any kind of shadowy conclave, more likely named himself. He has appointed a great emperor “His Imperial and Most Catholic Majesty, Michael Ioannes“, who even has the authority to condemn adult homosexuals to death by burning at the stake. No such executions have been known to have happened. It is unknown whether Boniface X has any followers other than the emperor.
A little research indicates several persons claiming the same name. The scholar Magnus Lundberg has “collected” about 55 alternative popes, of which some 20 would be jokes or hoaxes like Alexander IX. I received a very heavy barrage of feedback from the American Boniface X as a result of the previous version of this posting. According to Magnus Lundberg:
As I understand it, he has claimed the papacy for 13 years and all of a sudden he becomes extremely active in his internet ministry. There is one main difference between him and the other claimants. Boniface is clearly racist.
I wonder if this claim is not also a troll with a perverse sense of humour. In his feedback to me and in his site, he seems quite knowledgeable in Tridentine-style apologetics and polemics and scholastic methods of argumentation and refutation. This style is usually only to be found in the shrillest of traditionalists and sedevacantists.
Who is Boniface X? I did some searching on Google and found a number of radical traditionalist forums suggesting the name of Phillip Bartlett. Sources for such information are spurious and not from men I would trust. There is a certain Clayton, himself claiming to be pope Athanasius, who mentions Phillip Bartlett by name, saying that he was possessed by the devil! A South American source mentions the same name. Still, we are left uncertain.
To follow this new version of the posting, I have removed all the comments of Boniface X – not because I am afraid of his “truth”, but because they are extremely verbose and angry in tone. He threatens to publish them on his website against the “heretic” Chadwick, so they can be read there if you wish. I am honoured with the following promises / threats on Twitter! (I don’t use Twitter.)
The Schismatic and HERETIC Anthony Chadwick, who passes himself off as an “Anglican priest”, was devoid of any logical or legal/dogmatic proofs in his arguments, as expected from a liar and an heretic. When dogmatic arguments were given to him, he censored the most recent reply.
To anyone who reads the lies written by the SCHISMATIC ANGLICAN Chadwick, be sure to read the comments below the article as the Apostolic See ably responded to him. Of course, he blocked the most recent messages, but they will be posted at http://romancatholicism.org
A false and heretical priest by the name of “Anthony Chadwick” wrote some kind of screed against Boniface X and he will be thoroughly and clearly refuted at http://romancatholicism.org shortly in an epistle written by the Roman Pontiff against him, also exposing his obscene errors.
This posting attracted 78 views yesterday!
To resume the deleted comments, I am naturally a modernist and an apostate. I am also unstable. He seems to think the accusations of his being under diabolical possession came from me, but I was quoting pope Athanasius, a man I do not know in any way. Boniface X goes on to try to justify his claim against the others (Palmar de Troya, Michael Bawden, etc.). He then exposes my position, which is usual for an Anglican. The papal claims from Boniface VIII to Vatican I are bunk – and I will give him that one for free. He’ll have a hell of a job burning me at the stake or sawing me in half!
Of course, the Papacy could assure the unity of the Church – through constraint, political totalitarianism and terror. Dostoevsky characterised the attitude in his Great Inquisitor. The way of Christ is clearly other… Also, the Roman Catholic Church itself has changed in a more liberal direction. I abstain from commenting on the present pontificate. It is not my “thing”.
We get our fair share of conspiracy theories featuring Freemasonry. Perhaps I sympathise with the Revolutionary Jacobin Collot d’Herbois. That was a new one on me. Indeed many Jansenist bigots in the 1790’s flip-flopped and joined Robespierre. As a citizen of France, I accept the Republic and its principles of human rights. That seems to me to be fundamental. There were two main phases in the Revolution, the first elation on being rid of oppressive power in France, and then there was the fanatical and totalitarian regime of Robespierre and the Terror from 1793. Only in the late nineteenth century did France begin to find a new balance, and anti-clericalism faded away more or less after World War I. Perhaps I would see Boniface I on the guillotine, but here in Europe we don’t have capital punishment in any form or for any reason. I am not afraid of attempts to demonise me! I also have a sense of gallows humour…