Sedevacantism Now And In Future

It's painful to say it, but the Pope is the clown on the right...

I am asked how I reconcile my refusal of Sedevacantism with my often-repeated statement that I would recognise the See vacant if the SSPX said so. The matter seems pretty obvious to me; but hey, let's have a blog post, as it can be a useful reading to refresh a thing or two.

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I do not have a crystal ball. Sedevacantism as it is peddled nowadays seems utterly absurd to me for the reasons explained in many blog posts. Still, it is obvious – and this issue has been also dealt with frequently on this blog – that Sedevacantism per se was never an absurdity, but actually a very real possibility at various times in the history of the Church.

If, for example, John XXII had dared to proclaim a wrong dogma, I cannot imagine any other solution than the See being declared vacant by at least a number of Cardinals (plus theologians, prestigious religious, & Co.) It is also obvious that theologians like St Roberto Bellarmino dealt with the issue because they considered it a possibility, not merely a pastime for rainy winter afternoons.

Unfortunately – and this has, also, been stated often on this blog – we are now in one of those times in which Sedevacantism starts to appear on the horizon as a possibility. Why is that? Because Francis is such a pothead that there is literally no limit to where his arrogance, ignorance and breathtaking faithlessness could lead him.

Can, therefore, Sedevacantism become a reality? Of course it can. This was, in theory, always the case. But this time, the possibility is far less remote than in usual times.

How can we, then, recognise when such a point has come? You, who know better than me, will certainly be able to decide for yourself. But I, who am terrified of dying and being reproached of having wanted to decide who is and is not the Vicar of Christ, will defer the matter to the superior authority of those to whom I would, when in doubt, always entrust my salvation in preference to an idiot like Francis; those I consider the purest sanctuary of Catholic orthodoxy and to whom I can, therefore, entrust a decision, and die in the fear of the Lord but able to say, on that fateful day, “confronted with unprecedented scandal, I chose the side of your most faithful allies”.

Do I need to be a theologian to make such a decision? No. What I need is to realise that now, as in other times in the past, when we seek orthodoxy we must look to Athanasius rather than Liberius; without saying that Liberius is not the Pope, as long as Athanasius thinks Liberius is; but following Athanasius rather than Liberius if the modern Athanasius (the SSPX) were to declare the See vacant, and Liberius an imposter.

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The above should be sufficient to make the rather banal point. But as I am by the argument, I will say two words more.

There are many shades of gray between the white of an orthodox Pope and the black of a vacant See. A Pope can position himself at very many points in the Saint-to-Idiot scale without the See being vacant. Pope John XXII was certainly a heretic, albeit a material one. Honorius was officially condemned. Liberius was weak, at the very least, to the point of being an accomplice of the gravest heresy, and vastly below the required standard. But even a materially heretical Pope does not a vacant See make, which is why Bishop Fellay calls Francis a Modernist, but still sees in him the Pope.

The See is not vacant. More prosaically, a total ass is in charge. There is no saying what kind of stupid things this ass may not do. Therefore, Sedevacantism is a possibility. We, who care for our salvation, do not assume that we can decide for ourselves whether there is a Pope; rather, we defer to the best Catholic authority we can pick around to orientate ourselves; then we may not be the finest theologians, but we know enough to choose between Athanasius and Liberius, and know that a bad Pope can be extremely bad and even heretic, and still be the Pope.

That's it, really. It's not complicated. It should not have needed an extra blog post, but I thought it could be a useful reminder anyway.

M

 

Posted on November 19, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Mundy, more GRADUALISM:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/human-rights-campaign-says-barilla-has-turned-around-its-policies-on-lgbt/2014/11/18/9866efde-6e92-11e4-8808-afaa1e3a33ef_story.html

    Human Rights Campaign says Barilla has turned around its policies on LGBT.

    “My understanding is we’re absolutely open to having the LGBT community represented in our ads in the future,” a Barilla spokeswoman said. “It’s going to happen gradually.”

    When asked to comment on these positive developments, Cardinal-Elect Soupy Sales Cupich smiled, “Our homeless boys want to come out of our new communal showers refreshed and feeling pretty for Supper. Nothing spoils their gay appetites more than knowing that their Barilla noodles are limp and mocking. We’ve even asked Barilla to feature Pope Francis’ saintly likeness on their boxes so that our boys wont feel so judged.”

  2. Your sound reasoning on the SSPX has been mine since my parents first introduced me to the Society back in the mid 80’s. There simply is no one else left – or very, very few anyway – in which to place one’s Soul for safekeeping.

  3. I am happy today because you have said what is also my view on this. In this case for me, “who am I to judge?” works. I would not dare to judge. That doesn’t mean I don’t have eyes and ears and a brain, and experience tells me who I can trust. Me too, I would trust SSPX’s lead on this. And part of the reason for that is that if there is the smallest possibility to hang on in there, they do. So if ultimately they do go that way it will be for a very very serious reason.

  4. Modernism is a heresy. So if Bishop Fellay is calling the pope a modernist then he is calling him a heretic. As for saying the Chair of Peter is vacant, well that is above my pay grade. It seems to me though that the sedevacantist are their own form of neo-ultramontanist. Their Standard of papal perfection, devoid of even the slightest hint of error, would only be obtainable by Christ himself. Besides in none of the approved Marian and other Catholic prophecy is it said the Chair would be rendered empty by heresy even when the pope is described as a destroyer.

    • Yes, the SSPX haver clearly stated that the Pope is a material heretic.

      If the Pope were to become a formal heretic, then things would become far more dramatic, but as you say we are not at that point, not would it be for me to decide when formal heresy – if deemed sufficient – is reached.

      M

  5. Mundabor I have noticed recently that you have made several references to Francis being a pothead. Perhaps I missed a post where you discussed this, but is there some information to support this, other than his erratic behavior?

    • Pothead is a common expression for someone who behaves like a pothead, so you should not necessarily take it literally.

      Having said that:

      1) Francis has admitted to smoking pot in his youth. This makes of him the first official pothead Pope in history.

      2) When he was archbishop, he was found with a big stash of marijuana in his baggage, sniffed by the dogs. He said the stash was put there by people he did not know. As he was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he got a pass. If you read 2) in the light of 1), you certainly start thinking.

      This is all i the public domain, though not easy to find and, I think, at least in part in Italian. Relevant links were published by kind readers on this very blog.

      M

  6. Mundabor, you speak in the future tense, but our (i.e. all of us) concern isn’t limited to the man proclaiming heretical dogma as Pope. There are enough stories floating around on the Argentinian now (by way of example, http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350910?eng=y), that one feels entitled to question whether the conclave elected a man fulfilling the essential criteria of a Pope, i.e. that he be a Catholic, and one who has not thrown himself out of the Church by divine law. I say question, not necessarily decide and declare. We remember that St Francis spoke of a Pope “not canonically elected”, which tells us that such is possible.

    • Oh, I question his catholicity every day of the week.
      My Hindu neighbour is, very likely, more Catholic than Bergoglio.
      But all this concerns his internal sphere, not his official role; the fact, that is, that he unquestionable is the Pope.
      As to St Francis, I prefer to go with the traditional rules of interpretation of the Church, which say that canon law decide, and theologians or even great saints do not make the law. We take them as inspiration, but this does not give to them – not to any of them, even St Thomas Aquinas – a kind of patent of authenticity of Catholic teaching.
      If you find my posts on evolution, you will see a similar discussion there.
      M

  7. From Fr Siscoe’s article on Sedevacantism and the Manifest Heretic
    “Hypothetical vs. Practical

    But even if one does hold to the opinion of St. Bellarmine, namely, that a pope who becomes a manifest heretic automatically loses his office – this is only a hypothetical question, and as such is the object of the speculative intellect, which is merely concerned with the consideration of a truth (19).  But when faced with the actual situation – not merely the hypothetical question – the difficulty arises of how to apply the principle in practice, including who has the authority to make the necessary judgments and declaration.  These are two distinct issues: one hypothetical and the other practical.  On the practical level, if faced with a heretical pope, or at least a pope who seems to be a heretic, who would have the authority to determine that he had crossed the line into manifest heresy and thereby lost his office?

    In the following quote, taken from Elements of Ecclesiastical Law (1895), Sabastian B. Smith discusses the two-fold opinion with respect to the hypothetical question of a heretical pope, and then explains how it would be dealt with on the practical level.  

    “Question: Is a Pope who falls into heresy deprived, ipso jure, of the Pontificate?  Answer: There are two opinions: one holds that he is by virtue of divine appointment, divested ipso facto, of the Pontificate; the other, that he is, jure divino, only removable.  Both opinions agree that he must at least be declared guilty of heresy by the church, i.e., by an ecumenical council or the College of Cardinals.  The question is hypothetical rather than practical”. (20)

    As we can see, while there are two common opinions with respect to the hypothetical question, “both opinions agree” when it comes to the practical aspect.  And what both opinions agree on is that, on the practical level, it would require a declaration of heresy from the Church in order for the pope to be removed. “

  8. Do you believe the rumors that there was canvassing going on for Team Bergoglio, as has been suggested? I have no problem believing this. It isn’t even shocking. Which is sad. That nothing done by this pope is shocking.

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