A Challenge to Catholic Apologist Karl Keating.

 On his Defending the Faith apologetics forum at EWTN, Karl Keating on July 2nd, 1998, in response to an inquiry by Doug Creamer about Seventh Day Adventists, stated that:

"They [Adventists] claim the title [ VICARIUS FILII DEI ] adds up to 666, but the title they use is a fake."

I sent the following email to Karl Keating via his forum, also on the 2nd of July, 1998:

Dear Karl,

In the interests of scholarship and accuracy, the title VICARIUS FILII DEI, which does add up to 666 using the values of Roman numerals, is indeed genuine. It appeared in the Donation of Constantine, which was held to be genuine by the Catholic Church for over 600 years.  According to Christopher B. Coleman, who published a book* on the subject in 1922, the Donation was cited by at least 10 popes as proof of their temporal authority and also appeared in Catholic canon law (Anselm's, Cardinal Deusdedit's, and Gratian's Decretum also known as Concordia Discordantium Canonum).  I personally have a copy of Lucius Ferraris' Prompta Bibliotheca, 1858 Paris edition, in which the title VICARIUS FILII DEI appears in volume 5, column 1828, under "PAPA", "Article II." Prompta Bibliotheca, according to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, is "a veritable encyclopedia of religious knowledge" and "will ever remain a precious mine of information" and is quoted frequently as an authoritative Catholic source.

Will you concede, in view of the above, that the title was held to be genuine for the many hundreds of years that the Catholic Church defended the Donation of Constantine?

I would also refer you to additional evidence on my web page at and request a rebuttal from you, which I will gladly post on my web page. This is your opportunity to conclusively prove your assertion that VICARIUS FILII DEI is a fake, on an Adventist web page.

Michael Scheifler

* The Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine, text and translation into English by Christopher B. Coleman, Renaissance Society of America 1993, printed in Canada, University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-7734-X, reprinted from the1922 edition by arrangement with Yale University Press, pages 1-2.

On 7 September, 1998, this second request for a rebuttal was sent to Karl Keating via his Apologetics forum at EWTN:

Mr. Keating,

... I would like for you to clarify your statement on July 2nd in this forum that Vicarius Filii Dei is a "fake" title for the papacy. I presented you with a challenge and documented the proof on 2 July that the title was in fact used by the Catholic Church for well over 600 years, to which you have not as yet responded. I invite you again to defend your statement and refute my documentation. If you feel you have a case, I am certain your readers will want to hear what it is. I will also post your remarks on my web page, appending it to my challenge to you at

Michael Scheifler

There was no response of any kind from Mr. Keating, nor did he address my challenge in his forum.

666, The Number of the Beast