November 22, 2023
John C. Pontrello
Anyone who has spent time on the TradCat forum cathinfo.com has encountered this fellow named Ladislaus. Ladislaus permanently haunts the forum and has a post tally topping 39,000 so it’s unlikely anyone has escaped his appearance. Lately he’s been using the forum to post derogatory statements about me. Here’s one link that I will discuss shortly.
For the record I don’t know this guy and to my knowledge I have never interacted with him. But he claims to know me. He’s been reciting his version of my bio. Also for the record, I'm not a member of cathinfo.com. Some members of the forum, including the moderator, are claiming that I have been setting up profiles and making posts. No, these accounts are not or were not me. But I’ll take it as a compliment since their posts were good enough to get them banned from the forum.
Ladislaus, whose real name appears to be Laszlo Szijarto although I’m not certain of the spelling, is an intelligent, bitter, confused individual. With a little digging I learned that he sort of holds the Sedeprivationist position. In recent posts he praised “The Thesis” and seemed to indicate that this was his newfound position. But then in a subsequent post, just as I was writing this, he wrote:
“I agree with sedeprivationism in principle, but I don't believe this is the explanation. I believe that the root cause goes back to the illegitimate election of Roncalli, since I believe Siri was the legitimate Pope from 1958 - 1989 (when he died). So this is yet a different explanation for the crisis that's completely separate from sedeprivationism. I don't believe these guys even had material possession of the office. So, in a sense, sedeprivationism is moot for me, but I agree with it in principle.”
Ladislaus supports Sedeprivationism but the Cardinal Siri (Pope in Red) theory is still his all time favorite. So he’s a partial Sedeprivationist.
While Sedeprivationism is not new, it never got off the ground in Traddie Land. Most Sedevacantists recognized the problem in the R&R / SSPX position that claims a heretic pope is sufficient to carry on *some* necessary functions of the church. Of course, “necessary functions” means whatever any given TradCat arbitrarily determines them to be. In Sedeprivationism it means that the impotent heretics sitting in the papal chair retain the capacity to consecrate impotent bishops & appoint impotent cardinals. In return the impotent heretic cardinals retain the capacity to elect future impotent heretic popes. Supposedly, this has been ongoing since 1958. The proponents of this thesis maintain that it carries on legitimate apostolic succession and that it theoretically allows for an end to the crisis if and when a future pope converts to some version of pre-1958 Catholicism. I call this the partial pope theory because it posits material only popes that lack authority due to a defect in intention upon their elections. But since they’re lacking the form (authority) of the position, this makes them only “partial” popes. The result of this wacky theory is an impotent Holy See and by extension all of the dioceses throughout the world. Yet the proponents of this position are very proud to say what just about everyone in the world already knew: the chair of Peter isn’t vacant after all.
According to the Sedeprivationists, the pope’s one and only useful function is to continue making impotent cardinals for the continuance of papal elections in the future. While the partial popes they produce are all powerless heretics, eventually they say, one of the men they elect will have a miraculous conversion and become a class of 1958 traditional Catholic who will suddenly receive full papal power from heaven, condemn Vatican II and the modernist changes, undo all the post conciliar canonizations and “restore” the papacy. It’s a fanciful theory that does absolutely nothing to save the Roman Church from what I correctly identified as defection more than a decade ago.
I predicted that Sedevacantists would begin migrating to Sedeprivationism because I and others have proven beyond a shadow of doubt that certain things belong to the divine constitution of the Roman Church and that no Sedevacantist sect has them. One of the biggest problems of course is that some of these missing essential components make electing a Roman Pontiff impossible. In fact, the Sedevacantist history of electing antipopes is one of the most disturbing aspects of the entire Sedevacantist movement. It’s downright embarrassing if you are a Sedevacantist and hilarious if you aren’t. John Salza & Robert Siscoe, authors of "True or False Pope" put a piece together titled “Meet the Sedevacantist Antipopes.” I recommend it. This obscene history exposes Sedevacantism as the farce it is. Our obnoxious friend Ladislaus seems to understand this, at least to the extent of the Church’s fourth mark, and he believes Sedeprivationism presents a legitimate solution to the problem. He’s not alone. Sedeprivationism is starting to appeal to other Sedevacantists who are finally waking up to the reality that the Church cannot ever lose its capacity to elect a pope but that Sedevacantists just cannot pull it off. Sedeprivationism eliminates that problem because no election is even necessary on their part. The future full pope is partially in place with every papal election by the powerless heretics who comprise the College of partial Cardinals.
The Sedeprivationists are also notably cocky too. We saw this with Filotto (The Kurgan) in the recent past, another arrogant partial pope Sedeprivationist bigmouth. For some reason these guys really think this is it. They think it’s the one position that can explain apostolic succession and produce a true pope. But does it? Sure it does if apostolic succession is redefined and reduced by 50%. So much for the Four Marks of the Church. With 65 years under their belt, one half of apostolicity is the best they could do. Ladislaus thinks it’s awesome. This is the guy who has repeatedly called me an idiot.
Now I’ll comment on some of Ladislaus’ statements concerning me.
L: “Pontrello has gone off the deep end”
Projection. Traditional Catholics went off the deep end a long time ago and I’ll tell you exactly when. As soon as they took matters into their own hands. It’s one thing to recognize the problem of Vatican II and its line of modernist popes, but quite another to create your own churches bearing no material connection to the Roman see. The late William F. Strojie understood this and was critical of taking certain schismatic actions in contradiction to the Holy See. Some Traditional Catholics had other ambitions. The Sedevacantists broke from Rome entirely and started making bishops, priests, chapels, etc. The first sedevacantist to pull this stunt was Francis Schuckardt in the early 1970s and what followed was his inevitable insanity. He eventually went on to claim that he was miraculously coronated pope. The movement has been nothing but insanity ever since and I do not exaggerate in the least.
L: “and has basically become Orthodox”
L: “Pontrello's been all over the map and, yes, a sedevacantist at one point, and everywhere in between and then some”
Not any more than this hypocrite, who admittedly has held numerous positions dating back as far as the early 1990s. He claims he was SSPX, Sedevacantist, bounced back and forth for years, did some time in the Novus Ordo, now highly favors Sedeprivationism while still identifying as a Cardinal Siri (Pope in Red) guy. After reading several of his posts I am certain of his uncertainty about what he believes today. This is no surprise to me. As I said many times over the years, there is no place to go in Traditional Catholicism without contradictions. This is why Ladislaus can’t really commit to any one theory with confidence. Deep down he’s intelligent enough to know they’re all stupid. Best to be a partial Sedeprivationist than a full one in case someone refutes it later. But the main difference between Ladislaus and myself is that I worked through all of this in approximately 5 years while this fool has been bouncing around Traddie Land for at least 33 years and probably more. It’s an embarrassing number of years for someone who has been deeply committed to understanding the crisis. And look at him now. After all these years he’s still uncertain of what he believes and is awaiting the next best theory to save the church. Someone other than me ought to tell him…
I will also mention something else. The Dimond brothers were my initial introduction to traditional Catholicism. But I began to see through them early on. Within approximately 7 months I discerned that they were full of crap about some of their staple positions and also that they were people of reprehensible character. Seven months! Ladislaus has been doing this for more than three decades and he still gets as excited as a Taylor Swift groupie every time MHFM makes a new hit piece video. I know non-Christians with more wisdom and discernment than Ladislaus.
L: “But each time he ends up at any position, he writes books and publishes content promoting his latest one”
I wrote one book.
L: “He raises no good points, and his stuff is utter garbage”
Ladislaus is well aware of my influence in blowing apart traditional Catholicism for at least the past 8 years & counting. His statement is stupid.
L: “Everything he's ever blathered about has been repeatedly addressed and refuted by the "Traditional clergy" myriad times.”
Obviously, the traditional clergy aren’t persuasive enough. And not just concerning my arguments. They haven’t even been very effective in persuading the much larger traditional movement in general which remains fractured. For instance, the much larger SSPX organization, the “totalist” Sedevacantists and the Dimond brother cult are still largely unconvinced of Ladislaus’ new love, Sedeprivationism.
(Uh oh watch out! This is where he gets really mad at LeDeg for mentioning my name.)
L: “So are you promoting heretical/schismatic Eastern Orthodoxy along with Pontrello?”
How dare anyone promote a heretic in Ladislaus' arena! Nobody promotes heretics here except Ladislaus!
L: “There's no overreacting to your having promoted a schismatic/heretic as having raised questions that have not been answered by Traditional Catholics. You would be accounted as suspect of heresy for doing that. This is no light matter or some casual post. If you don't think heresy is a big deal and objecting to it is overreacting, then you're more suspect than before this post.”
That one was funny. And look at the outrage my name drew. Ladislaus’ animosity towards me isn’t because he’s the hammer of heretics that he pretends to be; it comes from his pride and envy. I also wonder how LeDeg feels about being scolded by Ladislaus and then placed on the cathinfo inquisition list. He better toe the line.
L: “Pontrello has raised no good points ... it's all trash.”
Get lost. The many people who read my book & writings and subsequently left Sedevacantism contradict his statement. Many are now Orthodox Christians today. He knows this.
L: “Sure, maybe the Church was overreacting in putting heretics to death too. Heresy is no triviality, and it's worse than bodily murder.”
He thinks heretics should be put to death again lol. Does that include Fred and Robert Dimond? Are deniers of the Church’s teaching of BOD & BOB not heretical enough for execution just because they continue to make Ladislaus’ favorite movies?
L: “Pontrello is just another run-of-the-mill schismatic and heretic.”
Ladislaus can’t even prove he’s a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
L: “He's been pushing and promoting Eastern Orthodoxy for years now.”
Successfully. But even this comment is overstated. I am not even an Orthodox apologist. Nor am I in the social media spot light. I wrote a book more than 8 years ago and I post articles and comments so infrequently that I probably lost a good portion of my regular readers.
L: “Uh, yeah. I'd love to see the Dimonds release a full video ripping this guy to shreds.”
His heroes. But wait a second. A few paragraphs ago this guy berated one of his subordinates (LeDeg) for promoting a heretic. Look at the hypocrite sucking up and appealing to heretics to come beat me up now.
L: “He basically opened his foray into Orthodoxy by claiming that Pius IX supported heresy…”
This is the kind of lie that made me write this. If he read my book or some of my other writings then he knows why I began looking into the Orthodox Church. But more importantly, if he sincerely wanted to know something about my past, I’ve had a website and public email address for over 8 years. He could have asked me instead of making up BS.
L: “due to his one grossly-misinterpreted mention of "invincible ignorance" (totally buffooning what Pius IX actually wrote) and then denying papal infallibility.”
Pius IX’s statements on Invincible Ignorance had nothing whatsoever to do with my conversion to Orthodoxy.
L: “That's his "unanswered" challenge to Catholicism.”
No clue what he’s talking about here.
L: “This guy is a joke, and a bad-willed heretic.”
A good Dimond disciple masters the language & style of the cult.
L: “Of course he's trying to appropriate DR's point as a defense of Orthodoxy”
Because it is.
L: “but his dismissal of the distinction between potency and act (which he obviously knows nothing about) for him reduces to "imaginary". This discredits him immediately.”
Ladislaus’ imaginary church is the one identified by one half of a mark today & as many as three and a half later.
L: "Analogy is that same as between the body and soul. Souls in Heaven still have it of their essence to have a body, even though they currently lack one. This then translates into their having "imaginary" bodies? What an idiot ... but then heresy does that to people. They have bodies in potency, thought not currently in act. This does not mean they have "imaginary" bodies."
I think I get it. Four marks belong to the Church’s essence but sometimes it lacks one or more down here?
L: “From what I can tell, Pontrello started his journey into heresy by falsely claiming that Pius IX taught salvation by invincible ignorance.”
From what he could tell. Funny.
L: “I actually knew a guy, a sedevacantist, who decided that Pius IX was a non-pope for this same (misinterpretation of his) teaching.”
L: “That's what actually gave me pause about dogmatic sedevacantism and led me ultimately toward sedeprivationism”
It took Ladislaus 3 decades to go from the SSPX to partial Sedeprivationist. Progress.
L: “which finds the right balance between a heretic being disqualified from papal office and the need for the intervention of Church authority.”
Church authority, good one. Remember it’s still there, just not here. Ladislaus is working on it.
L: “In any case, though, Pontrello took it to the next step, rejecting papal infallibility, and then ended up in Eastern Orthodoxy.”
He’s been fabricating my bio as he goes along.
L: “But, yes, this great apostasy has been foretold from the early days of the Church and is to be expected. If you acknowledge this, and then examine the claims of the Catholic Church to be the True Church of Christ objectively up until the great apostasy time of Vatican II (which was also foretold short term by Our Lady of Fatima)”
When Roman Catholicism forces you into contradictory positions you can always fall back on apparitions and prophecies to pull you through.
L: “the claims of Eastern Orthodoxy don't stand up. EO is a joke, where they have fragmented "doctrine", make up stupidity out of thin air like about how people can get divorced 3 times, etc.”
Ladislaus doesn’t understand EO. Few Traditional Catholics do.
L: “And the Patristic evidence is overwhelming in support of the Primacy of the See of St. Peter over the other Sees. If one objectively examines the evidence, Eastern Orthodoxy is a joke.”
He hasn’t objectively examined the evidence. He can’t because he’s completely biased. Furthermore, the primacy of Rome is not disputed by the Orthodox. The primacy of jurisdiction is.
L: “Since Pontrello seems to read CathInfo, I appeal to you, John, to put aside your heresy. You cannot save your soul as Eastern Orthodox.”
I’ll take my chances. In the meantime, Ladislaus will be working out a better theory to explain the crisis in the church. So far they all suck.
L: "And what's making it worse is that you're attempting to spread this heresy publicly to others."
Pope Francis and the Traditionalist Catholic movement are competing for first place to see who drives the most converts to the Eastern quote unquote Orthodox Church. I’m a distant third.
L: "Please recant and return to the True Faith established by Our Lord Jesus Christ."
***December 19, 2023 update: Some additional comments and responses to Matthew & Ladislaus from Cathinfo.com.
I’ll begin with Matthew, the forum moderator, who writes:
M: Just for starters, 99% of sedevacantists are of the non-Conclavist variety, which makes them a joke. So they're basically saying "we don't need no pope!" like the Orthodox. I mean, no Pope for 65 years, and there have been no effort(s) to elect one? I'd have to conclude, quite honestly and correctly, that their position is "we don't need no pope" at least PRACTICALLY speaking.
Matthew’s frustrated that the Sedevacantists act as if they don’t require a pope. He doesn’t get it. The moment TradCats severed communion with Rome and began making their own bishops was the moment of their declaration of independence. Why do they need a pope now? They believe they have everything they need: bishops, priests, sacraments, chapels, and salvation. If you have Jesus Christ and the prospect of eternal salvation what more is needed Matthew? Matthew will have to come up with a darn good reason for the necessity of a pope and sell it to the Sedevacantists since they get on just fine without one. The Orthodox Church would also love to have a Pope of Rome again since they haven't had one for a 1,000 years, but just like the Sedevacantists they understood they don't need one.
Matthew’s also certainly wrong that the Sedevacantists haven’t attempted a papal election. Does he mean a conclave of all the world's Sedevacantist bishops together? If so, he’s deluded to think that would make a difference. Conclavism can only produce antipopes and I explained why elsewhere. But since Matthew won’t read the material of a quote unquote Orthodox “schismatic” he should at least pay attention to leading partial papist Fr. Desposito who explains it quite well.
Ladislaus then asks a question that he himself has recently answered. He must have forgotten what he believed just two weeks prior:
L: OK, so please explain what we "needed" Montini, Wojtyla, and Bergoglio for. What good did they provide for the Church? So SSPX chapels could put their picture up in a vestibule but then constantly denounce them?
The answer according to one of the theories Ladislaus sometimes supports- Sedeprivationism, is that these heretic partial popes allegedly provided the church with Apostolic Succession. Because Apostolic Succession in the Petrine Office is one of the most critical functions of the Catholic Church, a picture of these heretics in every Sedeprivationist chapel vestibule should be mandatory.
L: Yeah, someone has to declare him deposed and elect another to SOLVE the crisis. But the reason SVs cling to the SV theory / hypothesis / position is to salvage the integrity of the Holy See and the indefectibility of the Church. There are other potential hypotheses that would do the same: e.g. the theory that Montini was being blackmailed and not acting freely, etc. (some of these were listed by the Achbishop).
No. None of their theories salvage the integrity of the Holy See and the indefectibility of the Church. They all do the opposite and expose Roman Catholicism’s faux foundation in the papacy. That's why Ladislaus can't fully commit to any of them.
L: In one sense, neither SVism or R&Rism is going to "solve" anything, but, as Bishop Williamson hammered into us, ideas matter. Our view of the Church and of the Papacy matter. It would be a great tragedy if in our attempts to preserve our Catholic faith we actually end up undermining it and slide into a form of Old Catholicism.
The tragedy Ladislaus hopes to avoid has already been realized. He’s too blind to see it. In their efforts to save the church they inadvertently proved Orthodox Christianity. I have said numerous times that Sedevacantism only gained traction because it borrowed / stole Orthodox ecclesiology which was enough to fool desperate Catholics in the aftermath of Rome’s defection. Above all else it fails on the grounds that Roman Catholics are bound to the Roman see in all times and places, including interregnums. Why? Because it’s the foundation of their Church and as such it's supposed to be indefectible. There’s no such thing as a Roman Catholic church separated from the Holy See. That such a separation was deemed necessary by these guys is an incontrovertible indication that TradCats believe that a defection of Rome had taken place, which of course is supposed to be impossible.
It’s also important to point out that Ladislaus completely ignores the fact that apostolic succession requires both material & formal succession, which neither Sedevacantists nor Sedeprivationist have. And almost all Sedevacantist bishops readily admit this. Hello? This fact destroys Sedeprivationism. Where there is no Apostolicity there cannot be a Roman Catholic Church. Hence, according to Sedeprivationism there’s not a Roman Catholic Church in existence...yet. That’s defection folks. There’s no other name for it. That’s why Ladislaus and other Sedevacantists are now claiming that certain marks and attributes of the Catholic Church are not always necessary at any given time or place.
L: See, I think of myself not as a sedevacantist, but as an indefectibilist.
This is sad to me. They’re words of a confused man after decades of abuse. As we’ll see in a moment, he refuses to believe that he was betrayed by his church via defection.
L: If someone wanted to argue that Montini was replaced by a double with big ears and kept in a dungeon, as far as I'm concerned, more power to you. I can neither prove nor disprove that. I don't really care. But don't tell me that legitimate Catholics Popes have corrupted the Catholic Magisterium and promulgated a Protestant Rite of Public Worship and polluted the entire catalogue of saints, etc.
He doesn’t want to hear that legitimate popes did this. But it's the truth. And not only are they legitimate popes but a few of them are now canonized. At present, Francis is the legitimate pope. Understand that it matters not whether he should be the pope. What matters is that he is. This is objective reality. If TradCats cannot stomach this truth then they need to disavow Rome as the entire Eastern Church was forced to do 1,000 years ago for similar reasons. There is no other way out of this except by capitulation to Francis, the Novus Ordo & Vatican II. And I'll stray a moment to say something else. As for my friends who understood my message and still chose the Francis route, I am truly sorry for them. There is no honor in defending a false church that invents dogmas and binds its members to them. These people are risking their eternal salvation for an idea that has long passed. God help them.
L: I'm a Siri theorist myself.
Ladislaus is a sedeprivationist/Cardinal Siri theorist/indefectibilist. I don’t care how many titles he gives himself, he’s not a Roman Catholic. So what’s the point? He’s going nowhere. He’ll still be trying to figure this out on Cathinfo.com long after Pope Francis’ reign of terror has ended.
L: I think sedeprivationism makes sense in theory, but I don't think the V2 papal claimants were even material popes. I believe that Siri was the legitimately-elected pope (until his death in 1989). In any case, yet another theory, but to me the key is preserving the integrity of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Magisterium, the Catholic papacy, etc. I'm not willing to throw the Church and the Papacy under the bus (legitimizing all the complaints of Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Old Catholics that the popes have become corrupted in faith) in order to salvage Jorge Bergoglio, just so I can put the guy's picture up in a vestibule and find some strange "comfort" in seeing a guy prancing around the Vatican gardens in a white cassock.
Ladislaus think’s accepting Bergoglio as pope would mean he threw the papacy under the bus. Dead wrong. The only infidelity here is on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. This is what all TradCats must come to understand.