You are on page 1of 9

Sedevacantism

General Argument

Fr. Anthony Cekada formulated what I refer to as the general argument for
sedevacantism as thus. I have modified it a little (removed what was previously
point 6).

1. Officially-sanctioned Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws embody


errors and/or promote evil.

2. Because the Church is indefectible, her teaching cannot change, and because
she is infallible, her laws cannot give evil.

3. It is therefore impossible that the errors and evils officially sanctioned in


Vatican II and post-Vatican II teachings and laws could have proceeded from the
authority of the Church.

4. Those who promulgate such errors and evils must somehow lack real authority
in the Church.

5. Canonists and theologians teach that defection from the Faith, once it becomes
manifest, brings with it automatic loss of ecclesiastical office (authority). They
apply this principle even to a pope who, in his personal capacity, somehow
becomes a heretic.

6. Since the Church cannot defect but a pope as an individual can defect (as, a
fortiori, can diocesan bishops), the best explanation for the post-Vatican II errors
and evils we have catalogued is that they proceeded (proceed) from individuals
who, despite their occupation of the Vatican and of various diocesan cathedrals,
did (do) not objectively possess canonical authority.

Now, we know that the Church - as proven later on in this writing - is infallible in
matters of faith and morals, and this (in spite of Recognise and Resist claims)
includes theological conclusions, dogmatic facts, the Churchs laws and liturgies,
the approval of religious orders, and the canonisation of saints [Msgr. G. Van
Noort, Dogmatic Theology, Vol. II, Christs Church, 1957, pp. 108-119].

However, we also know that the liturgies and laws of the Conciliar Church is
errant, in both its prayers and in its omissions, in matters pertaining to faith and
morals. We know, too, that the Conciliar Churchs universal ordinary
magisterium has erred in matters of faith, by its teaching of heresy.

Therefore, the only natural conclusion that we can come to is that he who
promulgated evil laws and liturgies cannot, by that very fact, possess the authority
of Saint Peter and be a true Pontiff. We also know that public heresy bars one
from the Papacy by Divine law, and therefore we conclude that the majority of
post-Conciliar Pontiffs were not validly elected to begin with.
Objections to the Point of the New Mass

The New Mass wasnt properly promulgated

Canon 9 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law says the following:

Laws enacted by the Holy See are promulgated by their publication in the
official commentary Acta Apostolicae Sedis, unless in particular cases another
mode of promulgation is prescribed.

And, in the 30th of April, 1969, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, we find the Apostolic
Constitution Missale Romanum, bearing the signature of Paul VI.

This is all that is needed for promulgation. It is clear that the New Mass was
promulgated in the manner required by Canon Law.

Quo Primum

Quo Primum was the Apostolic Constitution that promulgated the Tridentine
Mass.

In the 3rd of April, 1969 Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum, Paul VI says
the following:

Notwithstanding, to the extent necessary, the Apostolic Constitutions and


Ordinances of Our Predecessors, and other prescriptions, even those worthy of
special mention and amendment.

In this, Paul VI expressly abrogates Quo Primum according to the norms of


Canon 22 of the 1917 Code.

In fact, Paul VI uses the exact same language as Pope Saint Pius V, who, in Quo
Primum, says:

Notwithstanding preceding Apostolic constitutions and ordinances and


whatever laws and customs there be to the contrary

If this language worked for Pope Saint Pius V, it worked for Paul VI.

We have to therefore conclude the following:


1. The New Mass was legally promulgated.
2. The New Mass is obligatory (1974 Notification).
3. Quo Primum was abrogated.

Because we know that the New Mass is evil, we reject it. But we then have to
conclude either that the Church defected and Our Lord lied to Saint Peter, or that,
because the Church is incapable of giving evil universal laws, Paul VI, who
promulgated the same evil laws, did not possess Papal authority.
The Church has consistently taught that discipline falls under the charism of
infallibility:

The reason, therefore, and foundation for the Churchs infallibility in her
general discipline is the intimate connection between truths of faith or morals
and disciplinary laws The principal matter of disciplinary laws is as follows: a)
worship. [R.M. Schultes De Ecclesia Catholica. Paris: Lethielleux 1931. 314-7]

The Church is infallible in her general discipline. By the term general


discipline is understood the laws and practices which belong to the external
ordering of the whole Church. Such things would be those which concern either
external worship, such as liturgy and rubrics is said to be infallible
in this sense: that nothing can be found in her disciplinary laws
which is against the Faith or good morals, or which can tend [vergere]
either to the detriment of the Church or to the harm of the faithful. [P. Hermann,
1908]

Any traditionalist simply needs to think about why they attend the traditional
Mass (or unwillingly attend the New Mass) to understand the issues with the New
Mass, namely that it is:

Against the Faith


Tends towards the detriment of the Church and harm of the faithful
Defective in its very words and prayers
Is an occasion for sin against the virtue of Faith

Therefore, it is impossible to say that the New Mass proceeded from the authority
of the Church. As proved above, one cannot say that the New Mass is somehow
illicit; therefore, he who promulgated the New Mass (Paul VI) cannot have
possessed Papal authority.
Manifest heresy

It is the teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine, Coronata, Marato, Billot, St. Francis de
Sales, St. Alphonsus Liguori and others, that a Pope who falls into manifest
heresy falls, by that very fact, from the Pontificate.

Most who adhere to the SSPX position would agree with this - Fr. Dominique
Boulet, for example. Therefore, for the sake of this paper, I will not dispute this
fact; it is a very probable theological opinion.

Most of the objections posed by sedeplenists regard whether Conciliar Popes are
manifestly heretical. Their objection is that, for heresy to be
obstinate/pertinacious/manifest, one must be warned. Nobody issued warnings
to Popes, so they cannot be manifest heretics. Therefore, they are true Popes.

However, this is an error that confuses the crime of heresy with the sin of heresy.
To understand the difference, Fr. Cekada uses the example of abortion - the sin
against the 5th commandment resulting in mortal sin, and the crime against
Canon 2350.1 (1917 Code), resulting in excommunication.

On the contrary, heretics are barred by Divine law from the Papacy. Since a Pope
is subject solely to Divine law, his heresy may only be a sin. It is for this reason
that the canonist Coronata, speaking of a Popes public sin of heresy:

If indeed such a situation would happen, he [the Roman Pontiff] would,


by Divine law, fall from office without any sentence.

So, we wonder - how do we know that the Pope is publicly, pertinaciously and
manifestly heretical? Well, Papal heresy has generally been distinguished
according to the publicity it has received.

The first kind is occult [secret] heresy. This is usually divulged in private to a few
people, written down somewhere, or just kept to oneself.

The second kind is not occult [words used to describe this include pertinacious,
manifest and public] heresy. It could be published in an official document,
proclaimed in public discourse, or otherwise made widely known.

The various terms used above did not have a uniform or general meaning prior
tot he promulgation of the 1917 Code (and continued afterward); they were simply
used in contrast to occult heresy [F. Roberti, De Delictis et Poenis, schemata
praelectionum (Rome: Lateran 1955) 801]. Canonist Michel further comments
on pertinacity relating to the sin of heresy:

Pertinacity does not of necessity include long obstinacy by the heretic


and warnings from the Church. A condition for the sin of heresy is one thing; a
condition for the canonical crime of heresy, punishable by canon laws, is
another. (Michel, Hrsie, in DTC 6:2222)
It is easy for most traditionalists to think of a few heresies that are contained in
official documents promulgated by Conciliar Popes:

Religious liberty [Dignitatis Humanae, John Paul IIs Message on Freedom


of Conscience and Religion, Benedict XVIs World Day of Peace 2011
Message, Francis Evangelii Gaudium]

Ecumenism [Lumen Gentium, Unitatis Redintegratio, John Paul IIs Ut


Unum Sint, Benedict XVIs signing of Dominus Iesus, Francis Evangelii
Gaudium]

Collegiality [Lumen Gentium, John Paul IIs Redemptor Hominis and


Apostolos Suos, Benedict XVIs 2011 Address to Recently-Appointed
Bishops, Francis Magnum Principium]

These being the main heresies, taught by the Second Vatican Council (and
thereby accepted by that very fact by Conciliar Popes), and further written about
in encyclicals and public addresses by Conciliar Popes.

Sidenote: some particularly worrying heresies taught by Benedict XVI


(who is usually revered by neo-conservatives) include the idea that the
Body of Christ is wounded and that Christ uses schismatic and heretical
bodies as means of salvation.

This therefore is in perfect accordance with the ideas on the previous page -
Conciliar Popes have been in/are in public heresy, and therefore are not true
Popes.

Further, regarding the election of Popes after Paul VI (who fell from his office as a
result of public heresy): since heretics, by Divine law, cannot be elected Pope,
their elections cannot be valid. The Canonist Coronata writes:

What is required by Divine law for this appointment . . . Also required for
validity is that the one elected be a member of the Church; hence, heretics and
apostates (at least public ones) are excluded [Institutiones Juris Canonici, 1950]

There are, too, some (such as Robert J. Siscoe) who write that a heretical Pope
would be apart of the Body of the Church, but not the Soul of the Church, and
could therefore remain/be elected Pope. To that, Saint Robert Bellarmine replies:

the good catechumens belong to the Church only by an internal union,


not by the external; but manifest heretics do not pertain in any manner, as we
have already proved.

Therefore, the following Popes (at least!) cannot be said to be true Popes:

- Paul VI
- John Paul II
- Benedict XVI
- Francis I
Compilation of Other Well-Known Arguments for Sedevacantism

1. Liturgical infallibility and the New Mass.


a. The Church is infallible in a secondary manner pertaining to her
external worship and liturgies [Msgr. G. Van Noort, Dogmatic
Theology, Vol. II, Christs Church, 1957].
b. The New Mass was promulgated legally [in accordance with Canon
9 of the 1917].
c. However, it is clear that the New Mass:
i. is a danger to the Faith
ii. errs on matters of Faith and morals regarding the nature of
the Holy Mass [especially n.7 of the 1969 Instituto Generalis]
iii. is defective in its very texts and prayers
d. But the Church cannot err on matters of faith and morals, for she is
guarded by infallibility in this aspect as well as the general aspect of
the liturgy [P. Herrmann, Institutiones Theol. Dogm., 1904]
e. Therefore, he who promulgated the New Mass [Paul VI], could not
have possessed the authority of St. Peter.

2. The indefectibility of the Church.


a. The Church is indefectible.
b. However, official Church teaching has substantially changed during
and since the Second Vatican Council.
c. Therefore, those Pontiffs who officially promulgated these new
teachings could not have possessed the authority of St. Peter.

3. The Universal and Ordinary Magisterium.


a. When the bishops teach in union with the Pope, they are infallible
on matters of faith and morals.
b. But the bishops - in union with the Pope - have consistently erred
on matters of faith and morals, especially on:
i. religious liberty
ii. collegiality
iii. ecumenism
c. Therefore, the Conciliar Magisterium has erred on matters of faith
and morals.
d. Therefore, the Conciliar Magisterium is to be rejected as not having
the authority of the Church.

4. The election of heretics to the Pontificate (that is, those Pontiffs succeeding
Paul VI).
a. Public heretics are, by Divine law, barred from the Papacy
[Coronata, Institutiones Juris Canonici, 1950].
b. However, John Paul II and his Successors have been public heretics.
c. Therefore, their elections to the Pontificate could not have been
valid.
Objections to Sedevacantism

Perpetual Successors and a Long-Term Vacancy of the Holy See

This is a common argument. Sedeplenists say that, because Vatican I


dogmatically stated that there would always be perpetual Successors in the
Primacy of Saint Peter, sedevacantism must therefore be false.

However, this idea comes from a fundamental misreading of the document. The
document states that Saint Peters Primacy will be perpetuated among his
Successors - that his Primacy does not die with him, as some Protestants like to
argue. Perpetual successors means that the office of the Primacy is perpetual
not limited to Peter, but a power that will perpetually endure to the end of the
world. (Salaverri, de Ecclesia 1:385)

It is not considered against the promises of Christ (nor against the declarations of
the First Vatican Council) for there to be a long-term vacancy of the Holy See. I
include various writers who write on this topic:

The Church therefore is a society that is essentially monarchical. But this


does not prevent the Church, for a short time after the death of a pope, or even for
many years, from remaining deprived of her head [vel etiam per plures annos
capite suo destituta manet]. - Rev. A. Dorsch [Institutiones Theologiae
Fundamentalis, 1929]

The Great Western Schism was a period of roughly 40 years of confusion


regarding who was the true Roman Pontiff. A priest comments:

If during the entire schism (nearly 40 years) there had been no Pope at
allthat would not prove that the office and authority of Peter was not
transmitted to the next Pope duly elected. - Rev. M. P. Hill S.J. [The Catholics
Ready Answer, 1915]

Therefore, it is not contrary to the promises of Christ in St. Matthew 16:18-19 nor
to the pronouncements of the First Vatican Council for the Holy See to be vacant
for an extended period of time.

Who Are We to Judge?

The First See is judged by no-one. Quite right a principle! How, then, are
sedevacantists to judge the Pope? How could they be so prideful?

The answer to this objection is simple - nobody is judicially judging the Pope
here. Save, perhaps, the Dimond Brothers, every sedevacantist will tell you that
he submits to the authority of the Church and will do so regarding the Papacy or
lack thereof of Conciliar Popes once the Crisis is over.

Sedevacantists are simply applying Catholic teaching regarding the infallibility


and indefectibility of the Church to the current Crisis.
If one is to say that the Conciliar Popes are indeed true Popes, then they must
follow their:
- Traditions
- Heretical doctrines
- Disciplines
- Liturgies

In this case, it is not sedevacantists, but traditionalist sedeplenists who are


judging the Pope.

Private Judgement and a Church Trial

Regarding this, one must note this fact - in the case of public adulterers, heretics
and so on, there is no qualm about a Church trial regarding the denial of these
people of the Sacraments and an ecclesiastical burial. Im sure you would not
want your priest to give Holy Communion, the Bread of Angels, to a public,
unapologetic and practising homosexual.

Likewise, no Church trial is required to bar a public heretic from ecclesiastical


jurisdiction and offices. Public heresy constitutes an objective impediment to said
jurisdiction, and so we, as St. Robert Bellarmine puts it, we see that someone is a
heretic by his external works, and we judge him to be a heretic pure and simple,
and condemn him as a heretic [De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30].

Where Will We Get a True Pope?

A common objection of sedeplenists is an understandable one; if there are no


more Cardinals, where will we get a Pope?

There are various responses to this:

- If one follows the Cassiciacum thesis, then the Cardinals (or indeed the
Holy Father) would just have to return to the Faith, since the power of
designation is a human faculty, and since heresy is an obstacle to
jurisdiction (a Divine faculty), not designation.

- Some would say that the power returns to the valid clergy of Rome. The
theologian Cajetan (14691534) and others teach that, should the College
of Cardinals become extinct, the right to elect a pope would devolve to the
clergy of Rome, and then to the universal Church. (de Comparatione 13,
742, 745). Since there are - in any case of the New Rites of Ordination
being valid or not (I think it is) - valid clergy in Rome, then there is no
moral justifications for those such as Bishop Bawden ("Pope" Michael I),
the Palmarians and so on, to elect their own "Popes".

- Church-approved Mystics and Saints have said that Divine intervention


would bring a true Pope after a time of Crisis in the Church. It is also
indeed possible that we are simply in the Great Apostasy prophesied by St.
Paul before the End Times.
Further, one would argue that an inability at present to determine exactly how
another true Pope would be chosen in the future does not somehow make Paul VI
and his successors into true Popes by default.

Conclusion

This document is made up of the reasons as to why, as of late, I am becoming


increasingly convinced that sedevacantism [more specifically within the
Cassiciacum thesis] is the truth regarding the Crisis.