Update on Alexis Bugnolo & Ordo Militaris

A while back, I wrote an in-depth piece of investigative journalism on Alexis Bugnolo and his various organizations. As my piece still comes up high on searches for him, I think it is worth noting a few updates. After summarizing my prior piece, I will note the revocation of his charity’s tax-exempt status, a questionable Ukraine charity called Cross Azure, a “papal election,” a feud, a political party, and an Italian version of his blog.

Summary of the Old Piece

If you remember this or know the background, just skip ahead to the updates below.

This is all taken from the piece on my old blog on Patheos.


Bugnolo claims to be a brother but,

Bugnolo does not seem to qualify under any normal category of the Church as a “brother,” so should not use the term so as to not confuse Catholics.

Reliable Source?

Bugnolo is not a reliable source.

In 2018, he posted a letter renouncing his role on the Ordo Militaris on the Board of Directors to return to being a Franciscan hermit. Yet, in 2020 he allows himself to be introduced as the president of the group. […] Furthermore, Bugnolo has a BA then claims he “graduated from Our Lady of Grace Seminary, Boston, in 1988” without noting the degree earned. However, Our Lady of Grace Seminary does not have classes. Instead, it is a formation house or residence for the Oblates of Virgin Mary attending nearby Saint John’s seminary. I can’t find evidence of Bugnolo being a member or even him claiming to have once been a member of the Oblates.

And his blog site, FromRome, frequently shares nutty conspiratorial information emphasizing this lack of a reliable source.

Ordo Militaris?
Blue cross as Ordo Militaris uses a blue cross (CC0 Pixabay with my background added)

Ordo Militaris has significant issues:

They repeatedly ask for a lot of money ($7-10 million total) without giving many specifics like most large fundraising efforts would. […] They are a for-profit company, despite appearing in a way many would assume you were a non-profit, such as asking for donations.

They also seem to repeatedly use registration agencies known for facilitating tax evasion. This is not illegal but questionable for an organization like this.

They seem to lack transparency with funds.

Ordo Militaris collected money for Beirut after the explosion in August 2020. They got $15,000 but then when it was difficult to get the money to people in Beirut, the funds were “redirected to other charitable works sponsored by Ordo Militaris Inc.” without specifying which charitable works. This may just be an issue in reporting but when asked multiple times about which charities, no details were given.

There is a lot more detail on those topics and a few other topics on the original post. Feel free to go back there.

Updates on Alexis Bugnolo & Ordo Militaris

There are a few updates on Bugnolo & his partner AJ Baalman.

Charity Suspended by the IRS

All of Bugnolo’s various initiatives (with the exception of some elements of Ordo Militaris) are linked back to a single charity, “Save Old St. Mary’s Inc.” Its EIN is 75-3087887. Its non-profit status was revoked in early 2023 automatically as they had not filed IRS paperwork since 2018. The IRS site is such I can’t link directly to it but if you go here and search by EIN you will find it (you can by name too but no punctuation is in IRS names so it is “Save Old St Marys Inc”).

IRS Site for Save Old St. Mary’s Inc (fair use)

Thus, Bugnolo’s initiatives are no longer tax-exempt. This is a reason not to give him money: failing to fill out IRS forms raises questions about where the money goes.

Questionable Ukraine Donation Ask

There is a new Twitter account and website called Cross Azure that is asking for donations for Ukraine but is questionable. When you click to donate via PayPal, this site sends you to a page to PayPal money to “Save Old St. Mary’s Inc.” If everything else was on the up and up, that might be questionable, but OK: maybe the charities were connected (like the US & Ukraine branches of the same charity), but even in that case, it should be explained. However, two things make this particularly problematic. First, Save Old St. Mary’s Inc. is no longer a charity (see prior section). Second, Bugnolo has a habit of collecting donations for one cause and then redirecting them. For example, here was my note from my prior piece about his Beirut explosion fundraising:

Ordo Militaris collected money for Beirut after the explosion in August 2020. They got $15,000 but then when it was difficult to get the money to people in Beirut, the funds were “redirected to other charitable works sponsored by Ordo Militaris Inc.” without specifying which charitable works. This may just be an issue in reporting but when asked multiple times about which charities, no details were given. Bugnoolo claimed, “Those who participated in our Relief Effort for Beirut asked that their funds be used according to specific instructions, the knowledge of which pertains to their private wishes, and which according to U. S. law you have no right to know.” A for-profit corporation does legally have such privacy, but most non-profits disclose such things. It would be in his interest to inform people where the money was spent if it was spent on causes people who are considering supporting him likely support.

Nowhere on their website or the open internet could I find the financials for the corporation as most non-profits would provide. Legally, as a privately held for-profit company, they don’t have to, but when seeking donations, they should do so.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of more reliable charities to help out Ukraine. This seems highly questionable.

A “Papal Election”

Bugnolo was the head of (or a least a major figure in) the Benedict-truther conspiracy. He thought Pope Benedict never resigned. He claimed to run a Papal conclave after Benedict dies and elect Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Fracnis). He described it on his own site:

I have taken care to record the contact information of those who voted in the Assembly to elect a Successor to Pope Benedict XVI by apostolic right, held at Rome, at the Marriott Park Hotel, this Monday, January 30, 2023, wherein Jorge Mario Bergoglio was in a juridically valid manner elected Roman Pontiff.

The procedure was laughably bad. That an event in a hotel conference room where any baptized Catholic could vote would replace the papal conclave is ridiculous on the surface. As plenty of Cardinals not appointed by Francis could still vote, if you believe Francis was not legitimate it would fall to those cardinals to vote, not to Bugnolo and a few other random lay people. I’m not going to go in depth, but here is a piece with details.

Feuding with NAFO

Bugnolo and AJ Baalman, his partner, have started feuding with the North Atlantic Fellas Organization (NAFO) on Twitter. (For example, I saw the two points above on a NAFO thread.) NAFO is a loose online association of individuals who dedicate themselves primarily to countering Russian disinformation about the Ukraine invasion. It seems that the cause of this dispute is the questionable Ukraine charity mentioned above. I am not so familiar with this (it is not my focus), but I keep getting tagged on NAFO threads when people share my prior article on Bugnolo.

A New Political Party

Baalman & Bugnolo also seem to be behind the “Catholic Party For America.” The videos on the site and social media point back to Ordo Militaris, as can be seen in replies here. Considering how this looks, it seems like a total LARP of a political party and not something that has a chance of getting even 0.1% of the vote. But I want to mention it in case Catholics think it is a good option. It talks a big talk but can’t even provide a baseline of support like the American Solidarity Party or Constitution Party, which combined got about 165,000 votes in the last presidential election. Just be aware of the people behind it.

Italian Language Site

It appears that Bugnolo also runs www.chiesaromana.info. Its header is “ChiesaRomana.info — La Chiesa una cum Papa Benedetto XVI.” This seems to just be a translation of some FromRome articles with less updates, such as not updating that his “papal election” elected Francis to replace Benedict.


All this new information adds to the reasons not to support Alexis Bugnolo, AJ Baalman, Ordo Militaris, Cross Azure, FromRome, or other related initiatives. I think the prior article provided enough information, but the loss of charitable status and the questionable Ukraine charity made me think it is worth updating this.

EDIT: the political party & Italian site were added after originally posted.

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  1. On behalf of NAFO – thank you for your work. Just as you remain focused on his activity within the church, we remain focused on his activity in Ukraine. There is more information here should you be interested: https://bit.ly/3tL6lHJ

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