David Bawden (born September 22, 1959 in Oklahoma City), who calls himself "Pope Michael I", is an American citizen and a conclavist claimant to the papacy. He stated in 2009 that he had approximately 30 "solid" followers.
Bawden was elected by a group of six laypeople, which included himself and his parents, who had come to believe that the Catholic Church had seceded from the Catholic faith, and that there had been no legitimate Popes elected since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958.
In 1975, Bawden and his family joined the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Bawden attended the SSPX seminary in Écône, Switzerland and Saint Joseph's House, Armada, Michigan, but was dismissed from the seminary in 1978.
Claim to the papacy
Bawden believes that all the Popes since the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958 are modernists, heretics, and apostates, and that, therefore, their elections are invalid. He considers them to have incurred latae sententiae, or automatic excommunication, for violating Pope Pius X's laws.
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