Ann Barnhardt is a Liar and a Fool

Ann Barnhardt is a Liar and a Fool

By John Salza
20 February A.D. 2020

Ann Barnhardt truly lives in a fantasy world of her own making. Not only does she pretend that the man the entire episcopacy adheres to as Pope is not the real Pope, but she also publishes false and defamatory accusations against her theological opponents, which she evidently does to elevate her (nobody) status among the few who actually take her seriously. Catholic charity, right?

Case in point: Yesterday Barnhardt publicly accused Christopher Ferrara and John Salza of coercing a purge of antipope Francis types in the Fatima Center by using a wealthy donor to exert financial leverage over the Center. She claims she received this information in a “long telephone conversation” with “people [that is, unidentified individuals] who were involved deeply and intimately with the Fatima Center until Fr. Gruner’s death.” Barnhardt writes:

“Civil lawyer Christopher Ferrara coordinated with civil lawyer John Salza in ARSH 2015 to secure a million dollar donation to Fr. Gruner’s Fatima Center in the immediate aftermath of Father Gruner’s death while simultaneously using the donation to leverage the purging the Fatima Center of anyone who actually listened to and had trust in Fr. Gruner and Fr. Kramer’s discernment of the true identity of the Roman Pontiff.”

Now, when I first read this statement, I thought, for a split second, that it must be a joke. But then I considered the source and quickly realized it wasn’t. Did Barnhardt seek to verify this information with Mr. Ferrara, Mr. Salza or anyone close to them, before launching her story? No. Does Ms. Barnhardt not know that engaging in such slanderous, calumnious and harmful statements about someone is a mortal sin? No answer warranted. Barnhardt’s statement is a complete lie, and she is required not only to retract her lie, but also reveal her sources as a matter of justice so that Mr. Ferrara and I can hold them accountable as well.

Here are the facts: After Fr. Gruner died, two people from the Fatima Center held a meeting with one of their donor families to discuss the direction of the apostolate. Being a friend of the family, Mr. Salza was invited by the family to the meeting. At the meeting, the family raised a concern about the potential future involvement of Fr. Paul Kramer in the apostolate, and made it clear that they would not support the apostolate if it promoted Sedevacantism or the position that Francis wasn’t the true Pope.

          That’s it.

(Unfortunately for Ms. Barnhardt, Mr. Salza knows who the two “people” were from the Fatima Center who attended the meeting in question, since he attended it with them.)

Now, let’s see how many lies we can count in Ms. Barnhardt’s completely fabricated account.

·        \First, Christopher Ferrara was not at the meeting, had no knowledge of what was discussed at the meeting, and doesn’t even know the donor family (lie #1).
·        Second, neither Mr. Ferrara nor Mr. Salza were aware of any “purging” of people at the Fatima Center who were sympathetic to Fr. Kramer’s position (lie #2).
·        Third, neither Mr. Ferrara nor Mr. Salza were aware that there was any alliance or agreement between Fr. Kramer and Fr. Gruner on whether Francis was the true Pope (lie #3).
·        In fact (Fourth), Mr. Salza published an expose’ in 2015 in which he shows that Fr. Kramer claimed God killed Fr. Gruner for believing that Francis was the true Pope. Accordingly, Mr. Salza did not believe Fr. Kramer and Fr. Gruner were in agreement on the question, but actually believed the contrary! Thus, Barnhardt is alleging that Salza took actions that he never took on a pretext that he didn’t believe (lie #4).
·        Fifth, the donor family never discussed any specific financial information with Mr. Salza, neither concerning their prior support nor their continued future support of the apostolate. The family never mentioned a “million dollar donation” to Mr. Salza, and never even spoke of any financial specifics in his presence (lie #5).

In short, Barnhardt’s story is one big fat lie (actually many lies). But Barnhardt is no journalist, nor is she even a basic fact-checker. In her piece, she actually says “Father Nicholas Gruner was a Canon Lawyer.” No, he was not. 

Barnhardt must be sorry for having disappointed her readership, since her “inside baseball” storyline seemed juicy. But she struck out big, and now has the obligation to retract her calumny lest she remain in mortal sin.

What is most ironic about Barnhardt’s fabrications is that there was a split in the Fatima Center, not over some orchestration of a purge through the leverage of a million dollar donation (events which never occurred), but rather the influence that Fr. Paul Kramer was attempting to exert over the Fatima Center, and the untenable theological positions that he (and Barnhardt) holds. That’s right. And that is why the donor family in question raised their concerns (and they weren’t the only ones). It was public knowledge, shortly after the death of Fr. Gruner, that Fr. Kramer was attempting to seize control over the Fatima Center. And it was Fr. Kramer (not Messrs. Ferrara and Salza) who sought to purge the apostolate of those who didn’t agree with his antipope Francis position, including Mr. Salza.

          Ann Barnhardt is liar.

Further, in light of her theological commentary on the doctrine of Universal and Peaceful Acceptance, she is also a fool.

Barnhardt claims that Salza and his co-author Robert Siscoe (authors of True or False Pope?) hold that a Pope can only be deposed after he dies. No we don’t. We hold the opposite. Read our book.

Barnhardt claims that “something like 40 antipopes” were deposed during their lives and compares this history to Pope Francis, as a pretext for justifying her declaration that he is an antipope. First, Barnhardt’s claim is factually untrue.  The antipopes who were deposed were the “doubtful Popes” during the Great Western Schism.  The others (or at least most of the others) continued to proclaim they were Popes until their deaths (similar to the numerous competing antipopes who have been elected by the Sedevacantist sects during the past 40 years).  Second, this is a completely invalid and illogical comparison.  In no case were any of these antipopes universally accepted by the entire episcopacy following their election, as in the case with Pope Francis.

Barnhardt also claims that “The notion that a man MUST be left in such an enormous state of sin as being a usurper of the Petrine See without correction or remedy before he dies is abject madness. It is irrational, effeminate, and totally unchristian.” This is a straw man.   First, it presumes Francis is a usurper, when he is not.  He was elected by the college of Cardinals, and, ironically enough, is publicly acknowledged as Pope by the very man that Barnhardt insists is the Pope.   Second, we are not claiming there is “no correction or remedy” to remove a Pope from office “before he dies.” To the contrary, we devote a large part of our 750-page book to explaining how a heretical Pope would be removed from office (when he is alive). And in our Second Edition, coming out later this year, we will quote the Sedevacantists’ favorite theologian, St. Robert Bellarmine, who teaches that a Pope can be “judged and convicted” of heresy by the Church while he is reigning as Pope, and thereafter be removed from office, without violating the principle that “the First See is judged by no one.” We can’t wait to see the Sedevacantists react to this one.

The problem, again, is with Ms. Barnhardt’s fantasy world, for in her fantasy world she believes the Church allows her to separate from the man the entire episcopacy adheres to as Pope and declare him an antipope. And evidently Wikipedia (her confessed theological resource) didn’t teach her that the Church condemns such behavior, for she asks: “Which pope or council has taught this proposition? (I.e., that the legitimacy of every putative pope is an untouchable topic until he dies.) [Answer: None. This proposition is a pure fabrication.]”

Not quite Ann. Which council taught that Catholics cannot separate from their Patriarch (the Pope is the Patriarch of the West) on their own authority before the judgment of a synod? The Fourth Council of Constantinople (869-870). Which Pope individually taught the same? Pope Benedict XIV in Ex Quo (1756), who was basing his teaching on St. Augustine and the entire Catholic tradition. The Church teaches that whoever separates from the Pope (from the man the entire episcopacy adheres to as Pope) before a judgment of the Church is a schismatic and outside the Church.

And if Barnhardt couldn’t embarrass herself anymore, guess again. She actually makes the following statements. First, she calls Universal and Peaceful Acceptance (which is the common doctrine of the Church) a “mendacious and perverted argument.” Of course, Barnhardt is forced to call a doctrine that has been held since time immemorial (on our website we quote 40 theologians who taught the doctrine, and there is not a single theologian who denied the doctrine) “mendacious and perverted” because it contradicts what is truly perverted – her “doctrine” that the man the entire episcopacy and a moral unanimity of the faithful adhere to as Pope is actually an antipope.

And then Barnhardt says that “UPA only applies to LEGAL, LEGITIMATE, DULY ELECTED Popes. It doesn’t usurp sitting Popes or sanate non-canonical conclaves.” Sorry, Ann, but using CAPITAL LETTERS does not convert a cause into an effect, or make “backward” actually mean “forward.” UPA does not “apply” to “legal, legitimate, duly elected Popes.” Rather, UPA proves that the Pope is the legitimate Pope “legal, legitimate, and duly elected.” That is because the universal acceptance is “a sign and an infallible effect of a valid election,” (Wernz-Vidal, Ius Can., II. p. 520, n. 171), which is what causes the acceptance (as is the case with Pope Francis). Moreover, the infallible effect of his acceptance happens at once.  The moment the entire Church accepts the man as Pope, the validity of his election is infallibly certain.   This effect is never negated months or years later, either by the Pope’s conduct or speculation about defects in his election.  

To further prove Barnhardt is clueless about the actual meaning and operation of the doctrine, UPA does in fact do precisely what Barnhardt claims it doesn’t do, that is, “sanate non-canonical conclaves.” While many quotes could be provided, we will provide just one from Cardinal Billot:

“From the moment in which the Pope is accepted by the Church and united to her as the head to the body, it is no longer permitted to raise doubts about a possible vice of election or a possible lack of any condition whatsoever necessary for legitimacy. For the aforementioned adhesion of the Church heals in the root all fault in the election and proves infallibly the existence of all the required conditions.” (Billot, Tractatus de Ecclesia Christi, vol. I, pp. 612-613)

In truth, Barnhardt rejects the doctrine of Universal and Peaceful Acceptance because it strikes a fatal blow to her amateur and “effeminate” (using her words) theology.

Shame on Ann Barnhardt for her reckless and false accusations against John Salza and Christopher Ferrara, not to mention the Vicar of Christ himself. She has branded herself a public liar. But this is precisely the kind of malevolent conduct we see among those who have fallen into schism and thus have lost the theological virtue of charity.