What is an Anti-Pope?

During the medieval ages, there were a few Anti-Popes. Them challenging the Rightful Heir of St. Peter was often a threat to the church.

What is an Anti-Pope?

How do they come about?

How did the Real Pope deal with them?

Is there any more danger of there being another Anti-Pope?

Someone who makes a spurious claim to be the pope.

How do they come about?

A variety of ways: usually, there are political reasons (whether secular or ecclesial or both!) that give rise to this kind of situation.

How did the Real Pope deal with them?

It varies. A good book on the history of the Church would give you the historical data. :wink:

Is there any more danger of there being another Anti-Pope?

Is there ‘danger’? In fact, there are currently, in our own time, a number of anti-popes.

An anti-Pope is someone who appears to have a claim to the Office of the Papacy, but the claim is not clearly established or accepted.

There have been many anti-Popes. One anti-Pope (namely Hippolytus of Rome) is actually a Saint of the Church. So being an anti-Pope is not the same as being an anti-Christ. Most anti-Popes were godly men who believed they were acting in accordance with God’s will.

A person becomes Pope by virtue of being recognized by the Church as the Bishop of Rome. But, in times past, the process of naming the Bishop of Rome was not as clearly defined as it is today.

The biggest crisis in Papal history arose during the Western Schism, which spanned a 40 year period (1378 to 1418). It started shortly after the Avignon Exile, when the Cardinals elected Urban-6 as Pope (he happens to be the last guy elected Pope who was not first a Cardinal). This proved to be an unpopular choice, so just five months later, the same guys that elected Urban-6 elected Clement-7 as “pope.” Forty years of anti-Popes ensued. The Catholic Church has never defined who was the “real” Pope during this period (or if anybody was), so every “pope” during this period is really an anti-Pope. The schism was ended (forty years later) by the Ecumenical Council of Constance, which deposed (not two, but three) papal claimants, and elected Martin-5. But nobody is sure of HIS validity, because we don’t know if any of the three deposed “popes” was really Pope.

So, for forty+ years, the Catholic Church has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA who was Pope (or if anybody was Pope). If the Church “knows,” She has never made this known to us.

Fortunately for the Church, this does not matter. There is no such thing as Papal succession. A Pope does not inherit his authority from his predecessor (just as a US President does not inherit authority from his predecessor). The authority is attached to the Office, not to the previous guy.

We have had anti-Popes before, and we could have them again. But it is not really a crisis for the survival of the Church. It is an unfortunate situation, but the Church has dealt with MANY unfortunate situations. The Church that Our Lord established remains, and will remain.

Something with the same mass as a Pope, but the opposite charge.

How do they come about?

They are created in matched pairs with Popes.

How did the Real Pope deal with them?

Actually, if an Anti-Pope and a Real Pope ever meet, they explode.

Is there any more danger of there being another Anti-Pope?

Every time a new Pope is created.

Ah, but at the end of the Western Schism, there were three “popes”

So there must be a positive, negative, and neutral charge for it to balance out.

This suggests that the neutral charge was the “real” Pope (because neutral it is the only thing left after positive and negative cancel out, and it increases the neutral property).

But - which “pope” was the neutral body? I’m afraid physics can’t help us there.

So an “Anti-Pope” is really just a crackpot and not considered a threat to the Church.

And I assume that Aniti-Pope does not mean Anti-Christ.

anti-Popes are not necessarily crackpots. St. Hippolytus was am anti-Pope and remains a Saint of the Church.

The various anti-Poops who reigned during the Western Schism were probably not crackpots.

I’m a little confused. Please see info below from the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

Consequently when Callistus was elected pope (217-218) on the death of Zephyrinus, Hippolytus immediately left the communion of the Roman Church and had himself elected antipope by his small band of followers.


Pardon my ignorance, I don’t know the hisotrical circumstances but from a bird’s eye view this didn’t appear to be a virtous act. can you please clarify it for me?

Hippolytus was an anti-Pole. Hippolytus was (and is) a Saint of the Church. Thus, being an anti-Pope is not inherently evil (whereas being an anti-Christ implies an evil disposition).

The Pope’s auntie.

wat u did der

i c it

It almost sounds like pride is the fundamental motive for the antipope movement…

Hippolytus was an antipope and in fact created a schismatic church, but he was later reconciled with the real Pope, St. Pontianus, and both died as martyrs. To this day they share a feast day. Hippolytus is a Saint for his martyrdom, not his anti-papacy or schism, of which he repented.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.