Grave Errors by Timothy Flanders and OnePeterFive

Timothy Flanders, editor of OnePeterFive, has a new article on Eastern Orthodoxy and “Roman Primacy”. The article is filled with hypocrisy, in that Flanders himself has openly rejected submission to Pope Francis, in repeated public blatant sins of schism, and, further, that he publishes articles of heresy, blasphemy, and schism on a regular basis. An editor of a publication, such as OnePeterFive, has the ability to turn down articles, and to edit them. He has done neither to numerous articles that attack the dogmas of the Faith and the authority of Popes and Councils. Examples follow:

The article “I Fear the Worst about Pope Francis” by J.B. Toner and dated November 18, 2021, states the following heretical, schismatic, and blasphemous claim, asserted by J.B. Toner: “I believe Pope Francis to be in the possession of Satan.” Such a claim contradicts Mt 16:18-9 and Lk 22:32, and is refuted here. Flanders bears moral responsibility for publishing that article, which is exceedingly gravely scandalous, and constitutes both indirect and direct blasphemy. Grave false accusations against the Roman Pontiff are indirect blasphemy. But since “Christ and His Vicar constitute one only head” of the one Church [Pius XII, Mystical Body of Christ, 40], the claim of possession by Satan is direct blasphemy against Christ.

OnePeterFive author Peter Kwasniewski has attacked a long list of Popes and many Councils (Vatican I and II, Lateran V, Lyons I, “and other councils you’ve never heard of”). And Kwasniewski continues to be one of the foremost authors at OnePeterFive. There are even articles at 1P5 by other authors, praising Kwasniewski and promoting his books. Yet Peter Kwasniewski is a public manifest severe schismatic and heretic. He has rejected submission to numerous Popes and Councils, especially Pope Francis. He is one of the chief opponents of Pope Francis, of the papacy, of the authority of Ecumenical Councils, and of the indefectibility of the Church. And Timothy Flanders, editor of OnePeterFive, continues to give Kwasniewski a prominent platform for his schismatic and heretical articles.

Further errors at OnePeterFive are discussed in my article: A Critical Review of OnePeterFive: part one. (There is no part two yet.) Note that the proclamation of the board that runs 1P5 to “unite the clans” clearly refers to uniting different schismatic and heretical groups to oppose the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis and Vatican II. Flanders says: “we…do not scruple to have an avowed Lefebvrist on our editorial board”, in his Editorial Stance article.

In that article, Flanders rejects both Vatican I and II: “The spirit of Vatican I is the basis for the spirit of Vatican II, peddled by heretics since before the Council closed in 1965.” And what he calls “ultramontanism” is merely his own distortion of the ancient and constant teaching of the Church on the authority and charisms of the Roman Pontiff as proven in these teachings from Popes, Saints, Doctors, and Councils. Those teachings prove that Flanders and his associates at OnePeterFive, who exalt themselves to judge and even to condemn Popes and Councils, are schismatics and heretics.

A recent article at OnePeterFive by Roberto de Mattei is the third in a series, titled: “The Vatican Mafia Under John Paul II Continued“. The title of the article and the contents which support that title are schismatic. Calling the Holy See a “mafia”, that is, comparing the Apostolic See to organized crime is heretical and schismatic. As Vatican I taught, in union with the ancient constant teaching of Popes, Saints, Doctors, and Councils, the Apostolic See is always unblemished by any grave error. See the summary of those teachings here, as well as the full set of teachings here. I am appalled by Mattei’s public rejection of the constant teaching of the Church on Her indefectibility, on the never-failing faith of the Roman Pontiff, and on the unblemished Apostolic See. It is also gravely scandalous that Mattei not only attacks the Holy See, but also Pope Saint John Paul II as well as Pope Francis.

As I have pointed out repeatedly, one common technique of modern day heretics and schismatics is “storytelling”. They recount a long series of largely unsupported claims about what goes on behind the scenes at a Council, a conclave, or the Vatican. Then this story becomes the basis for rejecting the teachings of Christ, our Lord and Savior, taught with his own mouth in Mt 16:18-19 and Lk 22:32. The teachings of Christ and His Church are very clear. If you are unfamiliar, review them here. In his latest attack on the Holy See, Mattei tells the story of a “secret office”: “The lower level is in this secret office, whose keys are in the hands of Msgr. Giovanni Coppa, Msgr. Silvestrini’s right-hand man.” He makes all this sound ominous, as if the real power of the Apostolic See were in the hands of an assistant to a monsignor in a small office in the Vatican. And how is it secret? It is not. It’s just a small office with a particular not-so-interesting function. The real power of the Holy See is obviously in the hands of Pope Francis. If it were not, then OnePeterFive would not spend so much time complaining about his decisions, such as Traditionis Custodes.

The previous editor of 1P5, whose heretical and schismatic claims still adorn the publication, called Pope Francis “our heretical Pope” and a “monster”, and claimed that the Novus Ordo Mass is “diabolical” and is destroying the true Faith.

Then, in a more recent article at 1P5, which I discuss here, an author stated the belief that “the Church will die out for a period”. That claim, published by Flanders, is heretical; it contradicts the teaching of Christ in Mt 16:18 that the gates of Hell will never prevail over the Church. Never means never. It does not allow the possibility that the gates of Hell will prevail over the Church — neither over the universal Church on earth nor over the Apostolic See (as Pope Leo XIII teaches in Satis Cognitum where he quotes Origen) — even for a space of time. And, no, the fact that the Church has had sinful Popes in the past was not the gates of Hell prevailing. For every Pope has the same authority and the same charisms, which never fail regardless of the personal qualities of the pope, including the charism of never-failing faith. So the claim that the Church will “die out for a period”, published by Flanders recently, is heretical. And it is not only heretical, but it directly contradicts the words of our Lord spoken to Peter in the Gospel.

Another article at OnePeterFive, reviewed by me here, accuses Pope Leo XIII of grave error.

At OnePeterFive, Pope Francis is called “cruel” and “heretical”. Most recently, Flanders himself repeatedly calls Pope Francis an “abusive father“. And this brings us to the article titled What About Eastern Orthodoxy?, which is a soup of grave errors, contradictions, hypocrisy, and open schism.

Flanders begins by claiming that he left Eastern Orthodoxy for “the Church led by Francis” and he does not regret it. Huh. I don’t see Flanders as a member of the Catholic Church led by Pope Francis. He is a manifest public heretic and schismatic. (Someone might be a manifest heretic or schismatic, to those who know him, without being publicly so. Flanders’ grave errors are both manifest and public.)

First, Flanders’ article is openly schismatic. It repeatedly calls Pope Francis an “abusive father”. It accuses his Pontificate of “iconoclasm and pornocracy” and of a “barrage of corruption and confusion.”

Flanders then applies the words of the book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) to the pontificate of Pope Francis: “We read in the Apocalypse: And the dragon was angry against the woman: and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the martyrdom of Jesus Christ (Apoc. xii. 17).[1] If we wish to be sons of Mary, we must face the war of the dragon, even to the shedding of our blood.”

Note that footnote [1] in the Flanders article explains that Flanders changed the translation of the quoted Scripture verse from “the testimony of Jesus Christ” to “the martyrdom of Jesus Christ”. That is not correct. Also, that text refers to the end of the end times, to the reign of the Antichrist. Yet Flanders applies it to Pope Francis, as if the Roman Pontiff were the one who was “angry at the woman” (the Church, but also Mary) and as if the Roman Pontiff were making war with the offspring of the Church and of Mary, for keeping to the commandments of God. Flanders removes “martyrdom” from the quoted verse, perhaps because Pope Francis does not kill anyone — which really shows quite clearly that this text is not about him! And so Flanders then changes martyrdom to testimony, to be able to pervert the meaning of the verse to attack the Roman Pontiff.

So when he says that, to be sons of Mary, we must “face the war of the dragon”, again obliquely but clearly referencing the resistance to the authority of Pope Francis by dissenters like Flanders and other OnePeterFive authors. Then, having removed “martyrdom” from the verse, he nevertheless claims that “we must” resist Pope Francis and his “war of the dragon, even to the shedding of our blood.” Really?!! How would writing a bunch of schismatic and heretical articles against Pope Francis and many other Popes as well as multiple Ecumenical Councils result in death or martyrdom? It would not.

But such a claim, that “we must face the war of the dragon”, clearly refers to resisting the “abusive father” Pope Francis, with his alleged Pontificate of “iconoclasm and pornocracy” and of a “barrage of corruption and confusion.” That is manifest severe schism. The dragon in the book of Revelation refers to three things: the Antichrist, the kingdom of the Antichrist, and Satan (who works with the Antichrist and gives power to his kingdom). The war of the dragon is the war of the Antichrist, Satan, and their kingdom against the Church and the faithful in Christ. Flanders’ claim that it is rather a war by the Roman Pontiff and his Apostolic See against himself and his fellow dissenters is absurd. The Antichrist makes war against the Church, in the distant future by the way! The article by Flanders implies that Pope Francis is either the Antichrist, or is possessed by Satan — as an article approved by Flanders claims — or something similar. Such a claim is schismatic and heretical.

Canon 751: “schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Flanders’ claims are schismatic because schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff, and no one would submit to a Roman Pontiff who is all the things that Flanders and his publication’s articles claim. Certainly, no one would submit to a Pope possessed by Satan (which is impossible). Nor would anyone submit to a Pope who is so much like the Antichrist that Revelation 12:17 could be applied to him.

Flanders: “I may suffer from my abusive father, and may even resist him, or shelter my brothers from him, but I cannot ultimately break his fatherhood, or pretend it doesn’t exist. At OnePeterFive we want to help our brethren to resist the abusive father, shelter our brothers from his abuse, but ultimately convert him to true fatherhood.”

The mere recognition that Pope Francis is the Roman Pontiff is not sufficient to avoid a charge of schism, nor even to be called Catholic. Even atheists recognize that Francis is the Pope. Calling the Pope “my abusive father”, resisting him, sheltering other Catholics from his authority over doctrine and discipline, and thereby promoting resistance to the Pope is schism: blatant severe refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff.

Canon 212: “the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.”

Then Flanders exceeds the personal sin of formal schism by using OnePeterFive to help other Catholics commit schism, as he says, “to help our brethren to resist the abusive father”. He claims to be sheltering other Catholics from “his abuse” and proposes ultimately converting the Roman Pontiff to true fatherhood. That last claim makes Flanders and his associates into the Shepherd and the Pope into one of the sheep. This is one of the sins of those who oppose Pope Francis, other Popes, and multiple Councils. They wish to be the head of the Church, deciding all matters of doctrine and discipline, contrary to the true heads of the Church, the successive Roman Pontiffs. To try to replace the Popes and Councils with a group of dissenters, who preach heresy and schism to the world via the internet is one of the most severe schisms in Church history.

Now there are two definitions of schism at issue here. The formal definition given by the Church, quoted above from Canon Law, and Flanders’ own explanation (which is not so bad). Yet Flanders is a schismatic under both! He violates his own definition of schism. Here is what he says:

“The essence of schism is a lack of charity for your brethren of the same faith. It is a virtue to separate from heretics, but it is schism to separate from orthodox Catholics. But it is also more than this: universal fatherhood. This is one of the things I realized when I converted from Eastern Orthodoxy to Rome: the primacy of Rome is an ecclesiastical reality which binds all Catholics in charity with one another. One flock. One shepherd.”

Timothy Flanders, by his own words and by the articles he approves for publication on OnePeterFive, where he is editor in chief, has attacked Pope Francis and other Popes and Ecumenical Councils with extreme malice. This includes publishing an article accusing Pope Francis of being possessed by Satan, as well as other hateful claims against Pope Francis noted above. And these claims gravely harm our “brethren of the same faith”. Thus, Flanders has broken with the charity required to avoid schism. Heresy is contrary to faith, and schism is contrary to charity. But Flanders does not accept Pope Francis as his Shepherd. He is not led by Pope Francis, as sheep are led by a Shepherd. It is not sufficient for submission to the Roman Pontiff, per Canon law, nor for the charity required to avoid schism, to merely acknowledge that Pope Francis is an abusive father and a shepherd who is leading his flock astray (to put it more mildly than 1P5 often does). That is in itself schism, to call the Roman Pontiff an abusive father and to accuse him of very grave errors in doctrine and discipline. There is no charity and no submission to the Pope there.

So while Flanders chides the Orthodox Christians for being (material) schismatics, he himself is worse than them. For they do not generally attack the Roman Pontiff, even though they disagree with Church teachings on his authority. But Flanders leads a group of authors in vicious constant attacks against many different Popes and Councils. So Flanders and his ilk are more schismatic than the Orthodox, while at the same time they arrogantly claim to be faithful Roman Catholics — supposedly more faithful to the Church than the Pope!

Flanders: “the traditional view actually treats the Greeks as brothers, as they were treated at Lyons and Florence. The same cannot be said of the Protestant heretics who deny the most basic of Christian dogmas, like Apostolic Succession and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.”

The Orthodox Christians are separated brethren, with all seven Sacraments. But they are also in a state of at least material schism and heresy. They do not accept the dogmas taught by the Church since the schism, which are more than a few. They are in a better state than the Protestant Christians, but it is not true that they are only schismatics and not also heretics. The same is true for Flanders and his fellow papal accusers. They are not only schismatics, for refusing subjection to the Roman Pontiff. They are also heretics for rejecting:

* the indefectibility of the Church — denied by the article that accuses the head of the Church, the Roman Pontiff who is also the rock on which the Church is founded, of being possessed by Satan. Flanders own article, using Rev 12:17 on the “dragon” who is Satan (and the Antichrist with his kingdom) to refer to Pope Francis implies that the Pope is doing the work of Satan (at the very least). The articles claiming that various Popes and Councils have erred gravely, especially those articles claiming that the Church has gone astray since Vatican II, are contrary to indefectibility. So also is the article claiming that “the Church will die out for a period”. The attacks on Popes and Councils at OnePeterFive are contrary to indefectibility.

* the charisms of the Roman Pontiff — including the charisms of his supreme authority, which they deny especially regarding his authority over the Mass; the charism of truth and never-failing faith, which they deny by claiming that Popes and Councils have erred gravely on doctrine and discipline; and the charism that Christ and His Vicar constitute one only head — of the one Church. Since the Lord Jesus and the Roman Pontiff are one mystical Head of the Church, not two heads like a monster, many of the claims about Pope Francis and other Popes cannot possibly be true. The Pope can never be possessed by Satan, nor can he desire or attempt to destroy or corrupt the true Faith, nor can the Pope be like an abusive father, rather than the father and teacher of all Christians.

* the unblemished Apostolic See — just as Vatican I taught, in accord with the constant teaching of the Church, the Apostolic See is always unblemished by any grave error. Some limited errors are possible in non-infallible decisions on doctrine and discipline. But grave errors are always excluded from the exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter, for Peter himself lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors, the bishops of the Holy Roman See — just as taught by Vatican I; Saint Peter Chrysologus, Doctor; Pope Saint Leo I, Doctor; Pope Leo XIII; Philip, papal legate to the Council of Ephesus (Actio iii); Blessed Pope John Paul I; the Council of Constantinople III (Actio xviii), and the Council of Chalcedon (Actio ii).

* subjection to the Roman Pontiff is from the necessity of salvation — this dogma was taught by Lateran V, but it was previously taught by Boniface VIII in Unam Sanctam and by Saint Thomas Aquinas. By means of the claim that a Catholic can remain faithful, and avoid schism or heresy, while openly resisting the Roman Pontiff and calling for others to do the same, Flanders and his associates commit the sin of heresy.

See this list of teachings for more on these points.


Flanders: “Ultimately as Catholics we are bound to Rome, whether we like it or not. We are forced, as it were, by ecclesial bonds, to keep charity with the Holy See and with one another. ‘This is the reason why anyone who does not submit to Rome risks his eternal salvation’ I wrote in 2019, ‘rejecting Rome is an objective denial of charity.’ “

Flanders and OnePeterFive are manifestly hateful toward the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis. They have accused him of being possessed by Satan — which accusation is blasphemy. They have applied Rev 12:17, in which the dragon (Satan) makes war against the faithful such that the war of the dragon would supposedly represent Pope Francis in his exercise of the Keys of Saint Peter. They have compared the Apostolic See to the mafia (organized crime). They have accused Pope Francis of very grave errors on doctrine and discipline, calling him heretical, abusive father, claiming that the Novus Ordo Mass is diabolical, and claiming that a type of mafia elected him to the papacy. Then they have rejected both Vatican I and II, as well as Lateran V (“and other councils you’ve never heard of”). There is no charity in them toward Pope Francis, nor the other Popes they falsely accuse of failing in faith or of erring gravely in the exercise of the Keys. They have called the Holy See a pornocracy.

Certainly, Flanders and similar authors at OnePeterFive have not kept the ecclesial bonds of charity with the Holy See, nor with those Catholics whom they gravely scandalize with these claims. Judged by his own words, Flanders is a schismatic. It is not sufficient for submission to Rome to merely recognize that Francis is the Pope. Flanders and many other authors at OnePeterFive risk their eternal salvation by rejecting Rome and by an objective denial of charity toward multiple Popes, the Holy See, toward Saint Peter himself, and toward other Popes falsely accused of grave error by them. They are manifest heretics and schismatics, who continuously attack the Church, the Councils, and Peter and his successors via a website ironically called OnePeterFive.

Two articles in particular, both by Peter Kwasniewski, stand out for attacking, in one, a long list of Popes and, in the other, a list of Ecumenical Councils. Here is my article refuting both sets of claims against Popes and against Councils. The former article attacks Pope Saint Peter himself, falsely accusing him of failing in faith during his papacy by denying dogma, a claim contrary to the charism of truth and of never-failing faith taught by Vatican I and the ordinary universal Magisterium.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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5 Responses to Grave Errors by Timothy Flanders and OnePeterFive

  1. M. Jean-Paul Benoist says:

    Mon cher Ami,

    Avant de penser, méditer, contempler, élévation à Dieu.

    Ne jamais juger, c’est Dieu le Seul juge!

    Penser seulement peut constituer un péché mortel!

    Demander très humblement…

    Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix, ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

    Souvent, pour élever son âme, n’oubliez pas du Docteur Angélique: “O Creator inefféfabilis”!

    Très humblement vôtre,

    Le pauvre pécheur que je sais être.

    Attendre aussi que Rome ait parlé! Patience, pénitence, mépris de soi-même!

    En union de prières avec vous tous.

    Que, Dieu et Sa sAINTE Mère vous bénissent, vous gardent et vous protègent!

  2. P.J. says:

    I mentioned the recent J.B.Toner article, which suggests that Pope Francis is possessed by Satan, to someone online, and he replied, “Well, it is just an opinion”. I can’t get over the bland way in which some Catholics express, or accept, such an astonishing ‘opinion’. (Yes, I referred this person to your refutation of Toner, but I don’t know if he bothered to read it). I am used to hearing fundamentalists and other Protestants call the Pope the Antichrist, ( as indeed Luther did after his apostasy), although they usually try to be somewhat polite by saying that the Papacy is the Antichrist, not the Pope himself. But I never expected to hear those who consider themselves Catholic attributing the ultimate evil to the Pope. Shouldn’t they remove themselves from the Church, in order to escape the rule of Satan? I wouldn’t stay on a bowling team if I thought the captain was possessed; how can these Catholics remain in the Church if they think their accusations are true? It is all very strange, Ron, and I certainly appreciate being able to read some rationality from you.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Thanks. As an “opinion”, that claim about any Pope is schismatic, heretical, and blasphemous. God will judge those who attack the papacy with severe false accusations.

    • AR says:

      LOLed at the bowling team comment. But it’s true and it’s telling — I think the reason why the schismatics don’t bail on the Church is because they have too much money, attention and status tied up in their enterprise. They have their reward. I pray they will wake up and repent before the time comes for handing down the final rewards.

  3. “Flanders: “Ultimately as Catholics we are bound to Rome, whether we like it or not. We are forced, as it were, by ecclesial bonds, to keep charity with the Holy See and with one another. ‘This is the reason why anyone who does not submit to Rome risks his eternal salvation’ I wrote in 2019, ‘rejecting Rome is an objective denial of charity.’ “

    Typical of persons who are not in the Truth, they are not congruent with what they say and refute themselves.

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