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  • Writer's pictureFr. Vili Lehtoranta

My take on Viganò: the Bergoglian Church is a False Sect


When I studied for the priesthood in Bishop Donald Sanborn’s Most Holy Trinity Seminary, we put in a request for financial support every time we sent out our monthly newsletter. In that pledge we asked the faithful to support the training of uncompromising Catholic priests.

I remain faithful to that pledge even today, twelve years after my ordination by Bishop Daniel Dolan. And because I have pledged to be an uncompromising Catholic priest, I maintain that the group led by Jorge Mario Bergoglio, aka. “Pope” Francis, is a false, heretic sect.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has recently been “excommunicated” from this sect because he has said that: “No Catholic worthy of the name can be in communion with this ‘Bergoglian church,’ because it acts in clear discontinuity and rupture with all the Popes of history and with the Church of Christ.”

While I certainly applaud Archbishop Viganò for his recent stance against this Bergoglian or conciliar church, he is not the first Bishop to declare this. Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc declared the then papal pretender John Paul II as false pope already in the early 1980s, and also consecrated true Catholic Bishops, who had nothing to do with the sect of John Paul II or with the men who succeeded him as leaders of this sect.

True Church or False Church?

Despite his recent excommunication from this false church, what is lacking in the actions of Viganò, though, is the complete separation from the said false sect. Most of the Traditionalist groups in the world, who want to retain the true Tridentine Mass, and the Traditional Catholic Faith, still hold that the church organization led by Bergoglio is the same thing as the Catholic Church.

While in reality, it is not. Bergoglio is not the successor of St. Peter, but the successor of Angelo Roncalli. The false conciliar church was established on October 28, 1958, when Roncalli was supposedly elected as the apparent new Pope under the name John XXIII as the result of an invalid election. It didn’t take long for him to show that he was a false shepherd of a false church. In his “encyclical” Pacem in Terris in 1963 he wrote: “Also among man’s rights is that of being able to worship God in accordance with the right dictates of his own conscience and to profess his religion both in private and in public.” (DH 3961)

This teaching goes against the infallible teaching of the true Catholic Church. She teaches:

We now come to another important cause of the evils with which we regret to see the Church afflicted, namely, indifferentism, or that wrong opinion according to which - - man can attain the eternal salvation of his soul by any profession of faith, provided his moral conduct conforms to the norms of right and good. - - From this foulest source of indifferentism there flows the absurd and wrong view, or rather insanity, according to which freedom of conscience must be asserted and vindicated for everybody.

Indeed, this absolutely pestilential error paves the way of that complete and unrestrained liberty of opinion which rages far and wide to the ruin of sacred and civil communities, whereas some still claim with the greatest impudence that some advantage to religion is gained from it. But “what worse death is there for the soul than the liberty of error?” as Augustine said. (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos, DH 2730-2731)

We who say that the group of Bergoglio, using the words of Archbishop Viganò, is the “conciliar and synodal church,” and a false heretic sect, are called Sedevacantists. According to the definition of Father Umberto Benigni (1862-1934), the founder of the anti-Modernist society “Sodalitium Pianum,” sede vacante is the time “between the death of the pope and the election of his successor.”

We Sedevacantists believe and profess that Bergoglio was invalidly elected, because he, as a public heretic, was not eligible to receive the papacy. (See Father Anthony Cekada: Bergoglio’s Got Nothing to Lose, 2014)

Why I adhere to Sedevacantism is that I believe what Pope Boniface VIII wrote in the opening words of his encyclical Unam Sanctam:

That there is only one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church we are compelled by faith’s urging to believe and hold, and we firmly believe in her and sincerely confess her outside of whom there is neither salvation nor remission of sins. (DH 870)

Furthermore, Pope Pius XII taught:

Therefore, no one will be saved who, knowing the Church to have been divinely established by Christ, nevertheless refuses to submit to the Church or withholds obedience from the Roman pontiff, the vicar of Christ on earth. Not only did the Savior command that all nations should enter the Church, but He also decreed the Church to be the means of salvation, without which no one can enter the kingdom of heavenly glory. (DH 3867-3868)

For further proofs, that the conciliar and synodal church does not teach the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, see Bishop Donald Sanborn: The New Ecclesiology Vs. Catholic Doctrine (PDF)

When I look at the group of Bergoglio, I do not see a church which is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Instead I see a group which is heretic, unholy, non-Catholic, and schismatic.

To prove this, all it takes is to take the Baltimore Catechism, look at the marks of the true Church, and see if the group of Bergoglio possesses these marks.


When the compromising Traditionalists look at the group of Bergoglio, they see a church where “all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, the Pope.” (Baltimore Catechism, Question 156)

When a Sedevacantist looks at the group of Bergoglio, he sees a heretic sect, founded by Angelo Roncalli in 1958, who “was not able to become pope, for since modernism is the synthesis of all heresies, as was defined by the Holy Father Saint Pius X, Roncalli, as a modernist, was outside of the Catholic Church and was thus in no way able to become Pope of the Catholic Church.” (Declaration of Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc, Acapulco, Mexico, May 26, 1983)


When the compromising Traditionalists look at the group of Bergoglio, they see a church which was “founded by Jesus Christ, who is all-holy, and because it teaches, according to the will of Christ, holy doctrines, and provides the means of leading a holy life, thereby giving holy members to every age.” (Baltimore Catechism, Question 157)

When a Sedevacantist looks at the group of Bergoglio, he sees a sect whose leaders are outside the Church. When a man is ordained Subdeacon, his ordaining Bishop instructs him with the words of the Pontifical: “Be firmly grounded in the true Catholic faith: for, as the Apostle says: ‘All that is not of faith is sin, and schism, and outside the unity of the Church’.”


When the compromising Traditionalists look at the group of Bergoglio, they see a church which is catholic “because, destined to last for all time, it never fails to fulfill the divine commandment to teach all nations all the truths revealed by God.” (Baltimore Catechism, Question 158)

When a Sedevacantist looks at the group of Bergoglio, he sees a group opposed to the true Catholic Church, against whom Saint Peter warned that “lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom.” (Pope Leo X: Exsurge Domine, 1520)


When the compromising Traditionalists look at the group of Bergoglio, they see a church which is “apostolic because it was founded by Christ on the apostles and, according to His divine will, has always been governed by their lawful successors.” (Baltimore Catechism, Question 159)

When a Sedevacantist looks at the group of Bergoglio, he sees a group which consists of “those bishops who meekly and without voicing any protest whatsoever obey the usurpers of the Throne of Saint Peter and follow them in their perverse deviations have apostatized from the True Faith and have ceased to be the true pastors of the Church, and with their heretical preaching are bringing about universal apostasy.” (Declaration of Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngo Dinh Thuc, Acapulco, Mexico, May 26, 1983)

The Solution?

As long as Archbishop Viganò stays within the boundaries of this false church, his resistance is futile. There are those who hope that he could convince Bergoglio’s Cardinals to declare his (Bergoglio’s) election invalid and elect another papal pretender to replace him. But all the Cardinals have been appointed either by Bergoglio himself or by his modernist predecessors, so this “election” would merely result in another modernist papal pretender, coming from the false Bergoglian sect.

And even if this false “election” would proceed, there remains the exact same question that Father Anthony Cekada asked, when some Novus Ordo hierarchy members attempted to “correct” Bergoglio in 2019: what is the endgame if Bergoglio simply ignores the conclavists?

Obviously, it would simply end up in a situation where individual Sedevacantists think they have the authority to claim that the election of a supposedly true Pope is then binding on the consciences of all Catholics. This absurdity has been attempted again and again by misguided souls, among them Mr. David Bawden in 1990 as “Pope Michael,” and Fr. Lucian Pulvermacher in 1998 as “Pope Pius XIII.” Did it actually accomplish anything (other than lead to more confusion and doubt, and make Sedevacantists look foolish)? Of course not.


Archbishop Viganò’s words that the group of Bergoglio is a false church are certainly courageous and worthy to be recommended. But, as the Americans say: “Don’t talk the talk, unless you’re ready to walk the walk.” So far I have heard lots of talking, but seen very little walking. All talk, no action, in other words.

If Archbishop Viganò wants to do some walking besides talking, he must walk away from the conciliar sect, founded by Roncalli and now headed by Bergoglio. Unless you are like our former President Bill Clinton, who had difficulties in comprehending the meaning of the word “is,” you have to come to the conclusion that the group of Bergoglio either is the Catholic Church or it is not. And us Sedevacantists, who have not compromised our positions, say that it is not.

The true Church has the Holy Ghost as her soul, as Pope Leo XIII teaches:

That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendor and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned and whose author and giver is the Holy Spirit. Let it suffice to state that, as Christ is the Head of the Church, so is the Holy Spirit her soul. (Pope Leo XIII, Divinum Illud Munus, DH 3328)

For me it is blasphemy to claim that the church organization of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has the Holy Ghost as its soul.

So that’s why this recent controversy about the views of Carlo Viganò is not of big importance to me. It concerns what is going on in a heretic sect, not in the Catholic Church. It is interesting in the sense that I might be interested in what is going on in the Anglican Church, headed by Justin Welby, or in the Mormon Church headed by Russell M. Nelson, or in the Jehovah’s Witnesses headed by Robert Ciranko. But to get excited about the Viganò controversy is a waste of time. The sect of Jorge Mario Bergoglio has exactly the same amount of unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity as have the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely none.

Fr. Vili Lehtoranta

West Chester, Ohio

July 6, 2024

Octave Day of Sts. Peter & Paul

Magisterial and conciliar sources:

Denzinger, Heinrich & Hünermann, Peter (DH)

2012 Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals. Forty-Third Edition. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press.

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