Another day, another dollar, another chance to post on a topic of concern
Todays topic: Sedevacantists
Recently I reread the book Orthodoxy by the one and only GK Chesterton and came across a number of relevant passages that could be related to this topic but in an indirect manner. First that it is always dangerous for the human mind to reckon up the human mind.
So what is sedevacantism? It is a sect of Christianity that claims to be the true Catholic faith. In general sedevacantists hold that the Chair of Peter is currently vacant, usually stating that it has been so since Pope Pius XII died. Their focal point rests in their interpretation of Vatican II teaching heresy when it comes down to it. However they do pass around the theory that a Cardinal Siri had actually been elected by the sacred conclave but was forced by the modernists to reject the office for fear of his life. Therefore they say John XXIII was elected by the modernists but not actually by the conclave. Therefore the council and all the things that followed the council including the ordinary form of the liturgy and the Popes from John XXIII on are all invalid and heretical.
It is my opinion that most sedevacantists come at any problem in a rather protestant manner. Generally the will quote a Pope, or even an anti-pope (to them) to confirm their theories, pulling quotes out of their context and creating a super dogma out of texts that hold no such designation. For instance you will often hear it referenced that Pope Pius V in Quo Primum condemned any change of the sacred liturgy by any individual. This is however a faulty notion and is taken up by EWTN staff member Jeffrey Mirus here. Dr. Robert Sungenis has also taken on sedevacantists and their arguments at his website Catholic International as well as in debates with sedevacantists here.
Some might say that I am not being fair to these people, but I do believe I am. I don’t judge their heart just their actions, and their actions speak volumes. Often they will say we should look at the fruits of the post council church and judge it based on this. So they want us to take a subjective approach to the issue. Fine what are the fruits the church shows following VII? In general the number of Catholics in the world have doubled, relations with people of good will in different religions or lack thereof have improved and scripture studies and theological understanding have developed exponentially.
What are the fruits of sedevacantism? Perhaps we can say the best thing that comes from this group is an ability to reference obscure popes and their zeal for tradition, at least what they think tradition is. They have grown in numbers since their inception, I guess we could even say exponentially since a jump from 0 to 1 is an infinite jump in itself so congrats!
Bottom line what can you do with conspiratists that see trouble everywhere they look, well youll have to read Orthodoxy for that, the second chapter that is.