Walking In The Faith:
Is David Bawden The Pope?

Dear Madame,

Thank you for your letter of 17th September 2002. Following the receipt of your letter, I went over my article assessing the Bawden-Benns Papal Claim, and have updated it. (See here for the Updated version.)

I have been searching for the true pope or advocating his election since September 1993, when I exited from the sect, that, for convenience sake, I call the New Catholic, when I realized that it was not the Catholic Church but that it had defected from the Christian faith in the period 1958 - 1965.

However, while witnessing to members of this sect, I always ran into this roadblock: "We have our pope, where is yours?"

For this reason, and also for the reason that the pope is absolutely essential for the Church, I have been diligently searching for the true pope.

In September 1993, I learnt, from Lefebvrist and Sedevacantist sources, rumours of a man elected as pope Linus II. I could find nothing about him. In the meantime, I found the papal claim of Clement Domingues-Gomes, of Palmar of Troy, Seville, Spain, corresponded with a Cardinal Corral, and came to reject that claim for its foundation, not in an election of any kind, but in a purported Private Apparition.

I wrote a tract, Repair My Church, (to which a Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher replied, saying he received information about it from a Dr. Charles Mendoza), asking for help to find if a pope had been elected, and advocating that he be elected, if this had not yet been done.

In about February 1999, I began to surf the Internet for the first time. As the possibilities of the net opened out to me, I began to search out for this fabulous Pope Linus II. The first papal claim I found on the net, however, was that of David Bawden.

From the internet, I found lists, such as those of the French anti-Catholic Pontifictionology and also of Robert Hess, of Papal Claimants. Thus I learnt that there were three persons claiming to have been elected Pope: David Bawden, taking the name of Michael I, a Fr. Victor von Pentz, South African citizen of German origin, and a priest in the Byzantine Catholic rite, taking the name of Linus II, and Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher, taking the name Pius XIII.

I discarded the others from consideration because they were either obvious frauds, such as Pope Claudius and Chester Olzewski, one of the rather large group of persons claiming to be Pope Peter II, or pretended to have been constituted pope in purported private apparitions, such as the purported apparitions at the Pilgrim of Troy (Palmar de Troya), with one of the purported visionaries, Clement Domingues-Gomes, taking the name of Pope Gregory XVII.

From the website, the Pontifictionology, I got Linus II's postal address in England: the Byzantine Catholic Community, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England. I wrote them and received, among others, a reply from a David A. Castelnuovo and a Dr. Elizabeth Gerstner, who, it seems, was the initiator of von Pentz's Claim Party. I corresponded a few times with Dr. Gerstner by e-mail, and kept, as a matter of courtesy, Bawden abreast, by Cc.ing him these correspondences. (Later, when I learnt of a third such claim party, that of Lucian Pulvermacher as Pope Pius XIII, I also Cc.ed them, particularly sending copies to a Gordon Cardinal Bateman). Perhaps as a result of this, Bawden posted me his book, and my article was my response to his claim as put forward by his book.

On receiving your co-authored book from Bawden, I read it thoroughly, from end to end, and then wrote him a letter, dated 4th November 2000, giving my initial reactions and pointing out difficulties, etc. Then I began a more detailed and systematic study of the book. In the meantime, I received Bawden's reply to my letter, on 7th November 2000, in which he promised me clarifications to my problems.

Frankly, to put matters in perspective, it doesn't matter at all to me whether the pope is a white man or black, red, blue, green or yellow; whether he is European, American, African, Asian, or whatever. It does not matter to me if the pope is immoral but it matters to me that he is Catholic. Therefore, I have no objection, as such to any papal claim whatsoever. What I seek is that the claim must be true.

Searching for the pope is not a sport or amusement for me.

As far as I am concerned, it would give me great joy to have discovered that the claim of Bawden, or for that matter, any other man, was true, and I would have hastened to apply myself to him for being accepted into his flock. However, when a man's claim cannot stand, for me to submit to it is to sin, and sin grievously against God. That I will not do.

I believed that my article was a sincere assessment of Bawden's claim. However, going back in my mind, over the events of the time when I originally composed this article, I recall that I succumbed to the pressure of a certain person, whom I will not name, so that I did not wait upon Bawden to produce the clarifications that he had promised me in response to my first letter I wrote him after receiving your co-authored book and my first reading of it.

Perhaps, as a result of this, Bawden did not send me the promised clarifications.

In this, I can see clearly enough, that I have done wrong and behaved in an un-Christian manner, making an unnecessary compromise owing to human considerations.

I therefore sincerely apologize for the same, and for the distress that the pre-emptive posting of my assessment may have caused Bawden.

I request Bawden to please excuse me, and I request that the clarifications originally promised, be sent, so that I can re-evaluate his claim.

Incidentally, in your letter, you state that I have made, in my article, "rash statements that we manufactured some of our research and could not back up what we wrote." After going over the article, I fail to find what exactly you are quoting or referring to. Can you please point out the exact place or wordings that, you claim, I use, in this matter?

I request both of you, since you are, as I understand, Bawden's chief co-operator, that you provide the clarifications to the issues I have raised, both in my letter of 4h November 2000 and in my article assessing Bawden's claim.

As for this article, I am willing to have you point out specific problems, and if I see the merit of your objections to those texts, I will revise them. I am even willing to incorporate your rewordings, if you desire it, and if I find them acceptable, into the revised article, giving you the credit for those rewordings, etc.

Yours sincerely,

Prakash J. Mascarenhas, Bombay, India.