Lucian Pulvermacher

A Capuchin priest turned antipope, leading a small group to elect him as Pope Pius XIII.

Lucian Pulvermacher, born Earl Pulvermacher on April 20, 1918, was a traditionalist schismatic Roman Catholic priest who became known as a modern-day antipope. He led the True Catholic Church, a small conclavist group that elected him Pope Pius XIII in Montana in October 1998. His story is part of a larger phenomenon within the Catholic Church known as sedevacantism, where individuals or groups claim that the papal office has been vacant due to various reasons, including alleged heresies of the post-Vatican II popes.

Early Life and Ordination

Born in Wood, Wisconsin, Pulvermacher joined the Capuchin Order and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1946. His religious journey took a significant turn following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), which he, along with other traditionalists, rejected. They opposed the Novus Ordo Mass, viewing it as a departure from traditional Catholic practices.

Formation of the True Catholic Church

Disillusioned with the direction of the Roman Catholic Church, Pulvermacher became involved with the sedevacantist movement. In 1998, a small group, mainly consisting of his family and supporters, elected him as Pope Pius XIII in a conclave held in rural Montana. Pulvermacher claimed that the church had been without a true pope since the death of Pius XII, asserting that all subsequent popes were invalid due to various conspiracies and heresies, including alleged affiliations with Freemasonry and deviations from traditional Catholic doctrine​​​​.

Theology and Claims

Pulvermacher’s claims were rooted in a rejection of the Vatican II reforms, the Novus Ordo Mass, and the legitimacy of the popes from John XXIII onwards. He argued that these popes were impostors and that the true teachings of the Church had been abandoned. His views reflect a broader critique found within radical traditionalist sects of Catholicism, which challenge the validity of modern papal authority and Church practices based on interpretations of sacramental theology and canon law​​.

Legacy and Controversy

Lucian Pulvermacher’s election as Pope Pius XIII is a notable instance of conclavism, where individuals or groups conduct their own papal elections outside the established procedures of the Roman Catholic Church. His stance and actions highlight the tensions between traditionalist and modernist interpretations within Catholicism. Pulvermacher’s legacy is intertwined with the ongoing debates about authority, tradition, and reform within the Church, serving as a case study in the extremes of religious belief and the search for authenticity in faith practices.

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