The Bishop Strossmayer Forgery

The claim is made often in anti-Catholic circles that Bishop Strossmayer made a speech at the First Vatican Council in which he attacked not only papal infallibility but even the primacy of the pope. This speech has long been discounted as a forgery, however the proof for the forged nature of this document has up to now only been available in histories of the First Vatican Council, many of which are out of print or not translated into English. It is the purpose of this page, therefore, to make available the evidence for this forgery from one of the official records of the history of the Council:

Geschichte des vatikanischen Konzils von seiner ersten Ankungigung bis zu seiner Vertagung” by Granderath und Kirch (3 vols. Freiburg, 1903, 1906)
(“History of the Vatican Council from its first Announcement to its Adjournment”)

Volume 3, page 189 contains the following footnote regarding the Bishop Strossmayer forgery:

“Later, in 1871, a piece of literature appeared, which passed itself off as a speech which Bishop Strossmayer gave on 2 June 1870 in the Council. This speech is from beginning to end fictitious. It is full of heresies and denies not only papal infallibility but also the primacy of the Pope. A many-times repeated statement by Strossmayer and the other Council members that this speech attributed to Strossmayer was a fake didn’t take this letter out of circulation. In England and America it was still spread about and read, and from America in 1890 it arrived in many German Protestant magazines. These were retracted when the Strossmayer camp protested against the slander. But in 1891 the speech turned up again as one of the pamphlets of the Evangelical League under the title “Here I Stand- I Can Do No Other- from the life of a Roman Catholic bishop” – By Dr. R. Krone in Messkirch. No proof for the falseness of the speech could move the author or the publisher to give up the further spread of the slander, so the publication of all the speeches of the Council was demanded. Of course these didn’t result, on account of the false pamphlets. Yet I [original author] have read all the speeches of the Council and testify that Strossmayer neither on the 2 June nor on any other day, gave the speech that the Evangelical League circulated. In 1876 Bishop Strossmayer was clarified about the originator of the forgery, by means of the following letter, which is now printed in the Appendix to the Council Acts (Acta etc IV b, 649 sq.):

“Buenos Aires, 18 August 1876. Your Episcopal Grace! Allow me to forward as an enclosure below, an edition of the “America del Sud” which appears here. It contains under the title “La Verdad en el Vaticano” the confession of a man, who has done you a grave wrong, who opportunely published a speech under your name in the Vatican, which has recently been circulated here by some Protestants. Afterwards he named himself as the author and thereby made good at least some of the trouble caused. Although I have no connection with the author, I know that he wants his retraction to be made known throughout Europe. Dr. Jose Augustin de Escudero is Mexican, was then an Augustinian, left his order in a high-handed manner, travelled about in Spain, France, and at the time of the Council, in Italy; he was a Protestant, a freemason, a “carbonaro”, a pastor, even a Protestant bishop, and passed as such causing trouble in Brazil and Montevideo. Here in Buenos Aires he reconciled himself to the Church again and married, after his priestly vows were nullified in Rome [?]. At the time of the above retraction he was an employee of “America del Sud”, of which he is now the editor. Is his conversion genuine? Only God knows. I doubt it. Should your episcopal Grace desire any further information, I am putting myself at your disposal and will also let you have my address:

Sr. D. Pedro Stollenwerk, Misionero Lazarista, Buenos Aires, Calle Libertad, Hospital Frances.

Requesting your episcopal blessing, I remain etc…” “Jos. Wallinger, Bishop’s secretary, vouches for the original copy. Djakovo, 30 December 1876.

See also “The Evangelical League and the 8th Commandment” – 75 Catholic Pamphlet “zur Wehr und Lehr”, Berlin, Germania.”

Update 8 April 2007. I have been kindly informed by George Medina that Escudero, whom Fr. Pedro Stollenwerk declared to be the author of the speech, was not responsible for the forgery. Escudeor was in fact a noted Mexican politician, not a priest. Either way the fact remains that Strossmayer himself denies having made the speech. Fr. Stollenwerk appears to have been in error as to the identity of the forger.


3 responses to “The Bishop Strossmayer Forgery

  1. Heresy continues to raise its ugly head in our times. Your work was indispensable for answering a question from a friend of mine. Bravo, good research! Well done!

    Ora pro nobis, Denis

  2. Although this is a claim about forgery which stands against bishop J.J. Strossmayer for whatever reason/s those people might have. But there is actually something which is forgery made by bishop himself. In his autobigraphy he explained that he got two names because he had twin brother who died at the time of birth so he got his name as well. The truth is that he got true half-brother born few days later from the same father and different mother. I discovered this when I went to the archives of the City Osijek to get verified copy of his birth certificate. I wrote this first time on my blog in Croatian language and included verified copy of his birth certificate!!!

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