Pope Michael of Kansas
But to me this guy in the state just north of mine, is sorta cool, in a quirky kinda way. Gotta admit, he's likable. I'm willing to stake my blogging stats and go out on a limb with this one. The guy is more of a knowledegable sage than say the Dimond bros., or whoever is running Traditio.com.
Pope Michael on Youtube
To me, the guy is harmless, and in a way I can understand his mental universe. I mean, if I were a sedevacantist (only this current pope could tempt me to consider that thesis), and if the Church is supposed to have permanent successors to St. Peter--right?--then logic would dictate to me there'd need to be an extraordinary papal election of some sorts. Would make sense.
I suppose if I had thought the chair was empty for several decades, I'd probably have been a "conclavist" too. David Bawden, pardon me Pope Michael the First, took the next step and researched the issue, wrote a book about it, sent it out around the world. But only a few people responded showing up to the Kansas conclave back in 1990. So by default, he got the vote. At least there's some logical consistency in the narrative.
And then the poor guy gets no followers, but continues to believe he was validly elected pope, so he plugs away since 1990! at his Vatican-in-Exile from rural Kansas. And he's still pluggin' away in 2016. Man oh man, think about it. What if he were somehow actually pope (he's not, I'm being ironic), can you imagine the absurdity of living in his shoes when no one will believe you, but you are actually the Vicar of Christ?
The Moral of the Story:
I emailed him once out of curiosity and to challenge him, and he responded with manners and civility. A wacky friend, tempted by idleness I suppose, visited him once from Oklahoma for kicks just to get out of town. Pope Michael put him up for the night, allowed him to attend his Mass (it was a "dry Mass," this was before somehow he got ordained a priest and later a bishop), the guest bedroom was laid out very nicely, and the pope's mother made a fine dinner, and breakfast the next morning. I hear she is a good cook.
Every time I hear the story of Pope Michael its about an eccentric, anomalous guy from Kansas, a sedevacantist (i.e. until he filled the chair), traditionalist Catholic with the idiosyncratic belief he is somehow the pope. But I think this characterization misses a deeper story. His story is that of a lot of traditional Catholics out there--including me--understandably crazed by the Crisis in the Church, shifting back and forth across the traditionalist, polemic spectrum, yet trying to be faithful and holy. Some just go a bit too far.
I think this soul doesn't even rise to the level of an anti-pope. He's an interesting, at times edifying fellow from rural Kansas who has a few things to say to Catholics.
A few years back, some students from Notre Dame made an entertaining, sleepy kind of documentary about David Bawden, uhum I mean "Pope Michael." I think its somewhat telling of the absurd times we are in, and I bet some of you could kinda relate to this guy, as traditional Catholics. Without further ado...
Full Documentary. Pop some Popcorn!
As Always, the Comment Box is Open!