What Happened on October 26, 1958?

Much has been written about this conclave and many support the proposition that Joseph Cardinal Siri was actually elected that day, accepted and took the name of Gregory XVII. Then the enemies of the Church intervened and prevented him from moving forward. Some say he was forced to resign in favor of Angelo Roncalli who deliberately took the name and number of a previous claimant to the Papacy, John XXIII. Baldassarre Cossa was elected to succeed Alexander V, who was elected at the Council of Pisa. He took the name John and was the twenty-third of that name. Historians, Theologians and Canonists in the Catholic Church now consider the line proceeding from Pope Urban VI and ending with Pope Gregory XII as the true line, thus making this John XXIII and antipope, during the Western Schism.

Those promoting the proposition that Joesph Cardinal Siri indeed elected use a lot of things, which are not pertinent the case. They support their case with private prophecy and some even use the Secret of La Salette, which has been put on the Index of prohibited books. Also this proposition became public with the proposition that Siri had been elected in the 1963 conclave, but was prevented from answering whether he accepted the election or not. This made him pope elect. Gary Giuffre, a strong proponent of the Siri claim to the papacy, wrote a five part series entitled Exile of the Pope Elect. Ironically the fifth installment reported the change in the proposition, which we will consider soon.

What we need to do is to focus on the evidence in this case and ignore everything else.

Let us start with a book written in 1959: “On Tuesday evening [Oct. 26, 1958] the crowds in the square saw smoke pouring out of the stovepipe of the Sistine Chapel at 5:08 p.m. It appeared white to some and dark to others. But what made everybody in the square feel that the big moment had arrived was the brevity of the signal and the scantiness of the smoke…Someone telephoned the Osservatore Romano to announce that the newly-elected Pope was Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani. The call had been made from the Loggia delle Dame above the entrance of the bronze portal leading into Vatican City. The information was worthy of attention because from this vantage point it would not have been impossible to hear, if the voices were loud enough, something being confidentially discussed behind the windows of the conclave enclosure. The news of Cardinal Ottaviani’s ‘election’ was sent out by the press agencies but then prudently stopped.” 1

A look at newspapers from October 27th, the fact that white smoke appeared for five minutes in Rome from the Conclave is without question. Also the activities in the Papal Palace were those indicative of the election of a Pope.

In her still unpublished memoirs, Vatican news correspondent, and long time reporter for the Associated Press wire service, Gabriella Montemayor (1912-2005), whose career spanned 50 years, summarized the rumors that circulated among informed journalists in October 1958: “Siri was alleged to have been elected at the conclave of 1958, from which, instead, came out Roncalli. The three well-known smoke signals, white, black, and then, finally, white, had aroused not a little perplexity and the same comment throughout the whole of the Italian peninsula: Who had been elected at the first white smoke?

“Everyone in Genoa insisted, even from the first day: ‘It most certainly was Siri.’ Could he have abdicated? Had he been forced out? Was it politics or the Holy Ghost? The mystery remains yet today. However, the [new] Vatican which burst unexpectedly before our eyes was a totally different Vatican from that of Pius XII, who had condemned Communism, excommunicating whoever had collaborated in any way with the atheists. The excommunication was surely still legitimate when the new pontificate opened its arms to the Soviets, even as Roncalli was hailed, in a shameless manner, as the “good Pope.” (Gabriella Montemayor, I’ll Tell My Cat, 1993, unpublished manuscript, Rome, chapter 4: “Conclave,” page 28.)

A second testimony in this regard was obtained by Mr. Gary Giuffré during an interview conducted in London, England in July,1993 with Father Jean-Marie Charles-Roux, a former Vatican official and intelligence officer. The aged priest claimed that Joseph Cardinal Siri of Genoa had been elected and also accepted the Papal office, but was then immediately shoved aside, without his actually abdicating. According to Fr. Charles-Roux, a very serious threat was delivered to Siri and the assembled Cardinals through Cardinal Tisserant, the Dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, shortly after the acceptance of office by the new Pope. Fr. Charles-Roux, in addition to having been interviewed by Gary Giuffré in 1993 as related above, spoke out again in September 2004 in the periodical Inside the Vatican on page 41. In this article he stated that, “There were certain irregularities about the election during that 1958 conclave, as Cardinal Tisserant has himself acknowledged. Some say Agagianian was elected, others Siri, others some other cardinal, and that the camerlengo [=chamberlain] then annulled the election. In any case, I’m quite sure John XXIII chose his name, the name of an antipope [of the 15th century], quite consciously, to show he had been irregularly elected.”

Letter of Jim Condit

In the fall of 1989 Jim Condit contacted Gary Giuffre and eventually met with Father Peter Tran Van Khoat, 2 who this author has also met with on several occasions. Let us begin with his recollection of what Father Khoat.

According to Fr. Khoat, Siri seemed to tear up.

Khoat continued, “You are the Pope, not de facto, but de jure.” (In other words, Siri was not in control of the Vatican [de facto, or in fact], but he was by law [de jure] the rightful and true Pope.)

According to Fr. Khoat, Siri responded, “You already know it.”

Then Fr. Khoat said, “Come with me right now. I have two tickets to go to America where there are people who will help you.”

Siri replied, “That would be impossible. I cannot go. They can kill me at anytime.”

Siri told Fr. Khoat to come back at 8 PM that night when his secretary would be gone. Fr. Khoat went back that night and also saw Siri one more time with another *priest he brought from a nearby city.

Nevertheless, at this point I asked Fr. Khoat the following key question: “Did Siri know he was Pope from 1963, or did he come to realize in later years that the way he had been knocked off the throne was illegitimate, and that he was in fact the rightfully elected Pope.”

Without any hesitation, and with a very steady, emphatic voice, Fr. Khoat responded, during the first few words of this response he closed his eyes tightly and shook his head from side to side: “Oh, no, he knew he was Pope from 1958. He was elected. He accepted. And he took the name Gregory XVII. Go look at what happened in 1958 – this is when it all happened.”

I then said, “So Siri was checkmated. Was he waiting for the chance to do something?”

Fr. Khoat: “Yes, he was waiting for the chance to do something.”

I said, “But the chance never came?”

Khoat: “The chance never came.”

I called Gary Giuffre that night and asked him if he had ever heard from Fr. Khoat that the conclave that mattered was the 1958 Conclave. Gary responded that Fr. Khoat had not told him this. Based on this information, Gary went to the Houston Chronicle archives, and eventually to other sources, and began to piece together the incredible happenings at the 1958 conclave. Indeed, on October 26, 1958 white smoke had billowed out of the Sistine chapel stovepipe as evening fell for a full five minutes. This could only happen if a Pope had been elected, had accepted, and had chosen a name.

We should consider a few other things Mr. Condit said:

From 1974 until 1988, I had often heard this question from anguished, concerned fellow Catholics who had stuck with the New Mass in the parishes out of a (misguided) sense of loyalty to the Church: “We’d like to go to the Latin Mass, too – but where’s your Pope?”

Anyway, many times I had heard some variation of that question: “Where’s your Pope?”

People know that we must be in union with the Pope.

Let us consider this summary from Condit:

The implications of Fr. Khoat’s testimony were staggering. This would mean that a true Pope was elected, shoved aside, and replaced by an anti-pope. This would mean that ALL the strange, disconcerting, and destructive changes that had been imposed on the unsuspecting faithful since 1958 were not the actions of the Church, but the actions of a counter-church, an anti-church, — the “counterfeit church of darkness” foreseen by the Venerable Anna Catherine Emmerick circa 1821. This would indicate that we are living through the period described circa 1846 by Our Lady of LaSalette when she said, “The Church will be in eclipse.” The Church was still there, but hidden from the view of almost the whole world by the counterfeit church of darkness which has pulled off the false council, Vatican II, replaced the true Mass with the sacrilegious “New Mass”, vitiated the rite of the consecration of bishops in 1969, replaced the sound textbooks in use throughout the Catholic world with heretical and fluff textbooks meant to deprive Catholic children of their birthright to the Faith, and perpetrated so many more works of destruction.

Recall the warning about private prophecy and even a prophecy placed on the Index of Forbidden Books. Most likely no one at the time was aware of this condemnation, as it was only circulated at a far later time.

Father Khoat

In April 1988 Father Khoat went on a mission to see Cardinal Siri. He also was present at the Canonization of the Vietnamese Martyrs by John Paul II. There is evidence that he also went to Econe, possibly to the consecrations on June 30th of that year.

I first met Father Khoat in 1978 at Queen of Angels in Dickinson, Texas. He was there to attend the funeral of someone, who lived near him in Port Arthur, Texas. I would cross paths with him several times between then and January of 1981, when I saw him in El Paso, Texas at the dedication of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) chapel there. I can confirm that he was never a member of the SSPX, but had worked with them for a time. Archbishop Lefebvre visited his chapel in Port Arthur, Texas.

In 1987, when the letter from Mr. Remy appeared relating his interview with Cardinal Siri about the 1963 conclave, Father Daniel Jones, who published the letter and also published Gary Giuffre’s Exile of the Pope Elect, related that he and Giuffre wanted to contact Archbishop Lefebvre about Siri. I wrote a strong letter recommending that they do not follow this course of action. I also wrote about the necessity of electing a Pope, which Father Jones published. This led a friend of Father Khoat’s to write to me and say he had a priest interested. He had blacked out the name, but I determined it was Father Khoat, and wrote back saying I knew Father Khoat.

At the end of October of 1988 I went down to Port Arthur to talk to Father Khoat about the Siri proposition. I could not get a straight answer out of him. I explained that we needed a Pope. If Siri was Pope, then we needed to get behind him. If not, then we needed to elect a Pope. I again visited in 1989 and was troubled by some of the things I saw. During this visit I also visited several times with Gary Giuffre and repeated my advice that we should not contact Archbishop Lefebvre. I saw his presentation, which was quite good. He should publish it.

Never did I get a clear indication from Father Khoat that Siri was indeed Pope Gregory XVII in spite of questioning him directly on this matter. All he would say is that we need to assemble support and maybe Siri would move forward and claim the papacy. At this time I was under the impression that at the most he was a pope-elect. In this case Father Khoat’s first question should have been, “Do you accept election as Pope.”

In any case in 1989 Father Khoat had a picture of John Paul II on the wall. When questioned, he said that was to make people at ease until we explain what is going on. Then a little later he said that he liked the position of Archbishop Lefebvre in regard to the Pope. He was also into prophecy, Biblical prophecy, comparing our times to that of the Maccabees. I quoted II Maccabees 4:22 to him: “Now this was not the beginning, but an increase, and progress of heathenish and foreign manners, through the abominable and unheard of wickedness of Jason, that impious wretch and no priest.” He made no comment.

Gary Giuffre was made aware of all of this. Note that Giuffre had paid for the trip in 1988 and yet Father Khoat did not bring back a full report. On May 2, 1989 Siri died and with him his claim to the Papacy. Father Khoat shifts the focus to 1958 months after Siri’s death.

On June 3, 1990, Father Khoat gave a sermon in Houston, Texas at Saint Jude’s Shrine. Let us consider parts of this sermon:

The person I testify today is Vicar of Christ, Pope Gregory XVII (Giuseppe Siri, born at Genoa 20 May 1906, ordained 1928, bishop 1944, archbishop 1946, cardinal 1953, pope 1958, died May 2, 1989.) He reigned his papacy in Exile, in Silence and in Agony. His message was transferred through his book called “Gethsemane.” His activity was to appoint the Cardinals who hold on the apostolicity and the protection of the papacy. …

Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) said in the Bull “Antiquorum habet” Feb. 22,. 1300 that: “We declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Denz.469a).

Pope Clement VI (1342-1352) demanded the Catholics of the Armenians, Sept. 20, 1351 as following: “In the second place, we ask whether you and the Armenians obedient to you believe that no man of the wayfarers outside the faith of this Church and outside the obedience of the Pope of Rome, can finally be saved.” (Denz. 570b).

Therefore, to subject yourself to the Pope is “necessary for salvation,” to refuse to communicate with members of the Church subject to him is schismatic, to deny the dogmas defined by him is heretical. Now, you know to whom you have to be subject, to respect, and to obey. Now, you understand why the unrest in the Church: “It will take forty years to undo the harm John did to the church in a few years.” He summarized the Council Vatican II of Anti-Pope Paul VI as having issued fallible documents: “They never bind us.” He repudiated the acts of Anti-Pope John Paul II as “an idolatry of apostolic works.” (Gary MacEoin, The Inner Elite, pg. 234)

The dream of the Pope in Exile, Gregory XVII, will come true by the next Conclave. Cardinal Camerlengo really has sent to us a great and exciting news today: the calling for a new conclave. This exciting news will stir the Catholic Church, wake up the people, and destroy the conspiracy of Satan. The darkness of the Church will end with the victory of the rebirth of a New Pope.

On July 16, 1990, a papal election was held, a conclave. Gary Giuffre, Father Khoat and many others were made aware of this upcoming event about the time Father Khoat gave this sermon. The important point is that the papacy was vacant at the time of this election.

1963 Conclave

We should consider the original proposition, which was in circulation prior to Father Khoat’s revelation that they key conclave is that of 1958, not of 1963.

Louis Hubert Remy wrote an article, The Pope: Could He Be Cardinal Siri? Let us consider parts of this article, which was published in English by Father Daniel Jones in his news letter, Sangre de Cristo Newsnotes:

In one of his writings, Prince Scortesco, German cousin of Prince Borghese, President of the Conclave which elected Montini to the Supreme Pontificate, gives the following information concerning the Conclave of 21 June 1963: “During the Conclave, a Cardinal left the Sistine Chapel, met with the representatives of B’nai – B’rith, announced to them the election of Cardinal Siri. They replied by saying that the persecutions against the Church would continue at once. Returning to the Conclave, he made Montini to be elected.”

In this way on 17 May 1985, we met together at my home in Lyon, Monsieur de la Franquerie, and François Dallais. The evening was marvelous. I admit that I am sensitive to the charm of the very old France of our dear Marquis, and we occupied, until a very advanced hour of the night, unforgettable moments by listening to his souvenirs of a fecund and well-filled life. In his souvenirs of Monseigneur [Paul] Jouin, the Marechal Petain or of Pius XII, Monsieur de la Franquerie is unquenchable and passionate.

The following day we left early to Genoa where the Cardinal was expecting us towards ten hours and granted us an audience of two hours. We were received with much attention in the wonderful episcopal palace of Genoa. The Cardinal speaks French very well, was cordial, attentive, and of a courtesy proper to people, who are great by their function, but still greater by their heart. A dialogue took place between these two respectable persons in a diplomatic language which I did not know and which is of a charm and delicacy resulting from the education of hundreds of years, and unfortunately no longer exists today.

They spoke of several problems of today and the past, which need not be recalled here. Of concern to us, as arranged the evening before, was to speak, first of all, about Cardinal Tisserant’s leaving the conclave. When we recalled this fact, the reaction of Cardinal Siri was clear, precise, firm, and unquestionable: “No, no one has left the Conclave.” He could only give witness of what he had seen and not of what might have happened, while he was asleep, or behind his back. But what retained our attention was this firmness, this categorical NO of the Cardinal.

Some moments later, when we asked him whether he had been elected pope, his reaction was completely different. He started by remaining silent for a long time, then raised his eyes to heaven with a rictus of suffering and pain, joined his hands and said, weighing each word with gravity: “I am bound by the secret.” Then, after a long silence, heavy for us all, he said again: “I am bound by the secret. This secret is horrible. I would have books to write about the different conclaves. Very serious things have taken place. But I can say nothing.”

Let’s think about it. If he had not been elected pope, he would have said so with as much promptness and firmness as he had replied to the preceding question. As he had been elected, he could not say so, as he was bound by the secret, and as he could not lie, he took refuge behind this secret.

In fact, it appears that someone among my trustworthy friends who knows him very well has assured me that the Cardinal had told him that he had been elected pope twice: instead of *Paul VI and instead of *Wojtyla. The first time he had refused, the second time he had been obliged to refuse under the pressure of schism!

We were three witnesses who have left very perturbed and practically convinced of his election.

And now there are serious questions being raised. Has he resigned? Has he been forced to resign? What about these elections? What heavy secrets are weighing upon him?

During the last Synod, he remained some hours and then left. In spite of his advanced age and the fact that he exceeded 75 years, he has not given his resignation and he has not been asked to do so [as of this publication in July 1986].

Gary Giuffre wrote five parts of Exile of the Pope Elect. Let us go to Part III and this revelation:

In February, 1974, a convention of the now dissolved Priest’s Committee to Restore the Tridentine Latin Mass was held in Houston, Texas. It received mention from Newsweek Magazine and was also covered in part by NBC News. The meeting was attended by 16 priests and 200-300 lay people (including this writer) from round the U.S. who endorsed a return of the ancient form of Mass which dated back to Apostolic was discarded in stages by Giovanni Batista Montini (Paul VI) in the 1960’s.

As host for this gathering, I had the occasion to meet the late Andree Marie Gonzalez, a Spanish Basque woman who was residing at that time in El Paso, Texas. She was known in traditional-Catholic circles as a translator, writer, and lecturer on religious and political subjects, particularly communist subversion in Latin America. Miss Gonzalez informed me that through her various contacts among the clergy in Spain and Italy, she had learned that, “Cardinal Giuseppe Siri of Genoa should have been made Pope in 1963, but his election was ‘blocked’ by a small group of liberal Cardinals.

Letter From David Bawden to Gary Giuffre

On May 25, 1989, I wrote a letter to Gary Giuffre in regard to the death of Cardinal Siri. I had met with him and seen his presentation a few months before.

Dear Gary,

Today I am praying for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Siri. Any claim he may have had to the papacy is now gone. God has reminded you of the Imperfect Council, and then removed Cardinal Siri from this world. This is obviously providence. We welcome you back to the Imperfect Council, which you considered many years ago. As I wrote some time back, both the Siri solution and ht eImperfect Council are acts of humility. I thank God, that He has introduced you to people, who considered humbling themselves into again submitting to Papal Authority through Cardinal Siri. It is your duty now to go to them and tell them, that all hope is not lost. We have the Imperfect Council, which is of necessity. During a sede vacante, prayers are to be said for the election of a Pope. (There is even a votive Mass for this very purpose in the Missal.) I strongly recommend that these prayers be publicly said at St. Jude’s.

I pray, that Almighty God is lenient with Cardinal Siri, and that Cardinal Siri is now in Heaven. I also pray, that God will guide us to a speedy and holy end to this interregnum, no matter when it started. We can leave the discussion of Siri to the historians, because there is no question now that there is a sede vacante with NO valid claimants to the Apostolic See. May God bless you, your family and the people at St. Jude’s. Please pray for me,

Yours in Christ the King

David Bawden

I never received a reply, but Giuffre was not good about answering letters.

Canon Law

In this discussion several Canon Laws are also mentioned.

Canon 2390, paragraph 1: “Persons, who in any manner, either in person of through others, interfere with the liberty of ecclesiastical elections, or who after the completion of the canonical election in any manner molest the voters or the person elected, shall be punished in proportion to their guilt:

It is alleged that this is exactly what happened in 1958.

Canon 185: “ A resignation based on grave and unjust intimidation, or on deceit, substantial error or simony, is ipso jure (under law) void.”

This is what is alleged to have happened in 1963 and possibly also in 1958.

Canon 233: “The Cardinals are created and nominated by the Roman Pontiff in consistory, and by this creation and nomination obtain the right to vote in the election of the Roman Pontiff, and the other privileges of Cardinals. If the Roman Pontiff announces in consistory the creation of a Cardinal, but reserves the name to himself (reservatio in pectore), the person thus promoted does not in the meantime enjoy any of the rights and privileges of Cardinals, but, after the Roman Pontiff has published his name, he partkes of the rights and privileges from the time of the publication, and takes precedence over other Cardinals created after the time of the reservation in pectore.” If the Pope dies, Cardinals in pectore or secret Cardinals lose their rights, including the right to vote in a subsequent conclave.


Much has been said about the possibility that Cardinal Siri was elected Pope in 1958. There is also discussion of the 1963 conclave. What would Siri have done in the subsequent three conclaves? If he was elected Pope and forced to resign in 1958, his resignation is invalid. He could have presented this to the Cardinals, some of whom were eye witness to the crimes in 1958 and ask them to rectify things.

Let us review the facts.

  • Something happened on October 26, 1958 that indicates that a Pope was elected.

  • Reports after the fact confirm this.

  • We can not establish with certainty that there was no Pope on October 28, 1958, when Angelo Roncalli appeared as Pope John XXIII.

  • The actions of Roncalli and his successors are not those of a Pope, but those of heretics.

  • Therefore, these men claiming to be Pope in actual fact were not Pope.

  • This invalidates all of the changes coming before Vatican II, which is the second of nothing.

  • This invalidates what John XXIII called as The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican.

  • Further this invalidates everything that flowed in the spirit of Vatican II after the Council closed, forming the Conciliar Church.

Something should be said on some of the wilder claims circulating by a few people. We have established the irregularities of the 1958 conclave with several reliable witnesses. However, some other things we have only one witness for, Father Peter Tran Van Khoat. “One witness shall not rise up against any man, whatsoever the sin or wickedness be: but in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand.” (Deuteronomy 9:15) Canon Law follows this principle. Therefore we cannot accept Father Khoat’s testimony, unless some other witness can be brought forward to corroborate it.

Father Khoat alone claims that Siri was elected and took the name of Gregory XVII. Others claim he wa elected, but give no details. Also only Father Khoat claims Siri appointed secret cardinals, who he claims exist to this day with another secret pope and hierarchy. We must reject this whole claim, as it rests on insufficient proof. Further Father Khoat and Gary Giuffre who follows Khoat’s claim made no effort to stop the papal election being prepared for in 1990. They were aware of it, but made no effort to stop it as they were obliged to do.

The group voting in 1990 were assured by investigation that the papacy was vacant on July 16, 1990. The proceeded under the natural law, which provides that a perfect society, always has a way to provide itself with a leader here and now. Therefore, they proceeded to validly elect Pope Michael. Even if it could be proved that Siri created secret cardinals, who elected a Pope, because of the uncertainty at the time, their pope would have no claim to the Papacy under the principle established after the Western Schism, that the first in time is the first in right.

1 Above All A Shepherd, Ugo Groppi and Julius S. Lombardi, 1959; pgs. 172

2 Father Khoat now goes by Father Khoat Van Tran, Van Tran being his last name as orientals put their sir name first. Bishop Peter Martin Ngo-Dihn Thuc’s last name is Ngo-Dihn, although everyone calls him Bishop Thuc. I will refer to him as Father Khoat, as that is how I have known him for years.