I have heard about antipopes. There are lists with their names.
I heard about a man calling himself pope Michael but he is not considered an antipope.
Who is an antipope?

The whole thing about condemning heresy is very interesting. Some people doesn't even know they are wrong. Do do people who teach strange doctrines even evil trying to fool people? Aren't they just mislead themselves?

I also hear people saying that doctrines won't save us. I say yes to that idea!

What is the Catholic view on this?

ANSWER: An Anti-pope is a person who sets himself up in opposition to the legitimate pope and makes a competing claim to the papacy with significant support. As far as I know there has not been an "anti-pope" since the Western Schism.  

As for Pope Michael--there have been many popes with that name.  Which one are you asking about?  There is a person living in Kansas who has taken the name "Pope Michael" and claims to be the real pope.  He was elected in a "conclave" of six people--including his parents.  He claims every pope since Pius XII has been an anti-pope.  They claim all popes since Pius XII are evil modernists.  This is laughable.  This would be analogous to six people (including my parents) claiming that Obama's election to the presidency was invalid and that I am the real president. I don't understand how anyone can take "Pope Michael's" claim seriously-yet he has a following of 30! His real name is David Bawden.

The thing about doctrine is this: sometimes people enter into heresy through an honest mistake.  They either didn't know something or just made an error.  I have done that--most if not all Catholics have done that.  However, there are those who teach heresy intentionally--that is even after their error has been pointed out they continue teaching it and publicly disagree with the Church. These people sin in doing so.

As for the statement "Doctrine won't save you" it depends on what is meant.  While it is true--a perfect knowledge of doctrine is not necessary for salvation, and it is also true that a perfect knowledge of doctrine alone will not save you---what IS necessary for salvation is that our will be inclined towards reception of the teaching of the Universal Church.  We need to be receptive to Church teaching as contained in the sources of Revelation: Scripture and Tradition and as clarified over the centuries through the bishops in communion with the pope.  

Hence if someone's will is not inclined to receive Church teaching, if one's will is inclined against the Church--that person cannot be saved without repenting and coming back to communion with the Church.  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: You are right. I was asking about the person in Kansas. What is the reason he isn't considered to be an antipope?

About doctrine. I have hear that the most important problem is ingratitude. That's why people sin. Then how does the Church define gratitude?
If one learn all the Theology about God (and all the evidence for God) one may not even have had a real meeting/encounter with Him. All the wise people of the Old Testament did in fact have some sort of fear when they had their revelations. People often fantasies about God but they refuse to meet Him. That would be too scary. Am I right?

Actually he IS at least in theory an "anti-pope."  The reason no one officially needs to say this or put him on a list is that he is relatively unknown.  There is no serious confusion on who the real pope is.  There is no sane person who actually believes Pope Michael is the legitimate pope and Pope Francis is an anti-pope.  The whole idea of Pope Michael is actually laughable.  

I have NEVER heard about "ingratitude" being the most important problem or the reason people sin.  It is not part of the seven deadly sins.  

All the knowledge of theology in the world is nice--but knowing theology and knowing God are two distinct things. Knowing theology means knowing things about God.  Knowing God means having a personal relationship with God.

I can't speak for other people and what they imagine about God.  What I do know is this:  All holy people understand that while God loves us and God is our Father, nevertheless we must never forget that we are God's creatures.  Consequently when approaching God we must approach with with a sense of reverence, wonder and awe. This is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit: "Fear of the Lord" meaning "Respect and reverence for God"  God does not want us to fear him in the sense that we should feel terror, but WE should always approach God with a sense of reverence and respect.  


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

©2016 All rights reserved.