Catholic or Not
(A Catechism on Sedevacantism in a Nutshell)
By Steven Speray Nov. 4. 2007
What is Sedevacantism?
Sedevacantism is a position held by Catholics who are holding fast to the traditional Catholic Faith. Sedevacantism comes from the Latin – Sede Vacant (the Chair is Vacant). Those Catholics who hold this position are called sedevacantists.
What do Sedevacantists believe?
Sedevacantists believe the Chair of Peter or the Papacy is currently vacant. All those who claim to be pope are actually antipopes.
What is an antipope?
An antipope is anyone who claims to be pope but is not actually the pope.
Why do Sedevacantists believe the current “pope” is actually an antipope?
Sedevacantists believe that a true pope must hold the Catholic Faith and do not believe the current “pope” Benedict XVI is a Catholic. They also do not believe other requirements have been fulfilled by the current “pope.”
What are the requirements to be pope?
The first requirement is to be a man. The second requirement is a valid election. The third requirement is the formal consent of the elected. The fourth requirement (only if needed) is to ordain the elected a priest and consecrate him bishop. The fifth requirement is to hold fast to Catholic teachings after one becomes a pope.
Since the current “pope” claims to be Catholic, what is the requirement to be Catholic?
To be a Catholic, one must believe in all the teachings of the Church and not knowingly reject any of them, and practice the faith under the laws of God and the Church. He must also acknowledge legitimate authority and not knowingly reject this authority. Anyone who claims to be a Catholic, but knowingly does not believe, practice and follow the Catholic faith is automatically anathematized. He is at that point, no longer Catholic.
What does anathematize mean?
Anathematize (root word – anathema) means to be cut off or to be accursed. To be excommunicated is another common name for anathema. There is either an automatic anathema or declared anathema attached to every heretic and schismatic. Everyone who is anathematized is no longer a Catholic but rather becomes a non-Catholic heretic or schismatic.
What is a heretic?
A heretic is any Baptized person who knowingly rejects a Catholic teaching or believes in a heresy, which is a false belief.
What is a schismatic?
A schismatic is any Baptized person who knowingly refuses to be in unity with the Church. This can happen by refusing to conform one’s self to lawful authority or lawful authoritative pronouncements.
Who do sedevacantists believe was the last true pope?
It depends on which sedevacantist you ask. The informed Catholic sedevacantist believes it was Pope Pius XII. Some falsely believe Cardinal Siri was elected after Pope Pius XII, and some falsely believe Paul VI.
Is there a true pope out there that is not known to the public?
It is possible that there is a true pope not known, but is not a probable proposition.
Is sedevacantism possible?
Sedevacantism happens every time a pope dies. The Chair of Peter is vacant until another pope is elected. This is called the period of interregnum. Some have argued that there must be a pope within 50 years, but the Church has never declared it. Therefore, it is only the opinion of some that it is an impossible position, and they can only give their fallible opinions why they think it is an impossible position. Only the Magisterium can make that determination, and it has never done so.
Didn’t the First Vatican Council say there would always be pope?
No, the First Vatican Council said the office of papacy is perpetual. This does not mean that there will always be a pope. The Chair of Peter has been vacant for long periods of time before, though never like it has been now.
Will there ever be a new pope?
A future election by ordinary means is not possible. A future election by extraordinary means is possible or God Himself intervenes and supernaturally gives us a pope.
Doesn’t that make the Church wrong at the First Vatican Council since the Chair of Peter is no longer perpetual?
No, the Chair of Peter is always in place. The First Vatican Council did not say the Chair would always be filled. The principle was what the First Vatican Council was addressing, since it was denied that Peter was ever to have successors. The fact is Peter had successors all the way to Pope Pius XII therefore the principle of perpetual succession is in place.
Can the Church survive without a pope? Has it done so before?
The Church has now survived about 50 years without a pope. It has survived 3 and half years in the past as the longest period. It survives each time a pope dies because the Church was not built upon the papacy but on the faith of the first pope. It is the Faith that makes up the Faithful. The Holy Catholic Church is the Faithful who keep the faith.
How can the Church survive without a pope?
It survives by the Grace of God who keeps it alive through the power of the Holy Ghost. As long as one person holds the faith the Catholic Church is alive on earth.
How does Christ tell us to be faithful to Him?
Christ told us to be perfect, to obey the Commandments, to listen to those whom He sent. He told us to reject false teachers, and to listen to His Church.
How can we listen to the Church if there is no pope?
We live in humility and listen to all the teachings handed down by all the true popes. We do not listen to false teachers as Christ said to reject them. Anyone who teaches contrary to any of the teachings handed down is a false teacher. Christ forewarned us of the many of them that will come in the last days. The last five claimants to the papacy have clearly and unambiguously taught contrary to the historic Catholic Faith, therefore it is not possible for any of them to be true popes.
Why does Christ forewarn of false teachers?
Christ warned us of false teachers because they can lead you into hell. Heresy separates us from Christ and anyone who claims to teach in the name of Christ or His Church could fool you into believing heresy that leads you to hell. This is why an anti-pope can be so dangerous because he could teach contrary to Catholic doctrine and fool you into believing that his heresy is really Catholic. This is precisely what has been happening for the past 50 years.
What else do the Scriptures say?
There will be a time when men will not listen to the truth and that God’s people will be associated with the harlot and to come out.
Check out Peter’s Epistles…
Can a Catholic reject some small teaching or practice and still be considered a Catholic?
A Catholic cannot be a Catholic and knowingly reject any Catholic teaching at the same time.
Define Catholic teaching.
A Catholic teaching is any teaching that comes from Christ and the Apostles, the Church and specifically the pope when that teaching concerns our salvation and is given to the whole Church.
What if a true pope knowingly rejects Catholic teaching?
If a true pope knowingly rejects Catholic teaching, he would at once cease to be a Catholic and therefore cease to be pope and would lose all jurisdiction. One cannot be Head of the Church if he is not a member of the Church.
Can a man who knowingly rejects Catholic teaching be elected pope?
A man who knowingly rejects Catholic teaching can be elected pope but must reject his error and hold the faith to actually be pope after his election or else the man would not be a Catholic and therefore not pope.
How is it possible to identify the true Church if a false Church usurps the name?
The Catholic Church instituted by Christ has two particular marks not found in any other church. In one of these particular marks “holy” is found…infallibility and indefectibility. The other mark “Apostolic” is found historicity. A false Church like the Vatican 2 Church is not holy or apostolic. See Appendix to see how the Vatican 2 Church is neither holy nor apostolic.
Our Lord Himself told his Church to remain faithful to Him and to those whom He sends forth provided those whom He sends also remain faithful to Him. Only one Church has done so.
What is infallibility and how does it work? (What does it entail)?
Infallibility is a special chrism or gift of the pope. It means that the pope cannot error in teaching the faithful under certain circumstances. When the pope teaches ex cathedra (from the Chair) meaning as the head of the whole Church to the whole Church anything on faith and morals to be held as truth never to be altered, he is infallible. It is a preventive measure given to him by Christ and the Holy Ghost to prevent heresy (known as the Gates of Hell or Powers of Death) from ever being taught by the Church.
Just as God used fallible men to write the infallible Holy Scriptures, God now uses fallible men to teach the Gospel of the Holy Scriptures infallibly. The Bible would not be completely useful without some interpretations of some passages with some boundaries and limits of interpretations on other passages. The books in the Bible, themselves, have been infallibly determined by the Church to be infallible. It took an infallible authority to tell what the infallible Scriptures are, or else, the Bible itself would not be known. Scriptures are infallible because they are God-breathed, but we would not know what precisely what and which of these God-breathed books are God-breathed without an infallible authority outside of the Bible.
However, infallibility should not be comfused with immutability. Something can be infallible but not necessarily immutable.
Dogmas are infallible and immutable.
Laws and disciplines or practices are infallible but not immutable.
What is indefectibility and how does infallibility effect indefectibility? (It’s implications)
Indefectibility means not defected or not able to be defected. Infallibility prevents the Church from being defected. In other words, truth is immutable. The Church can never proclaim or define an untruth. This aspect of indefectibility insures us infallibility.
Once a truth is proclaimed or defined by the Church, that truth is set in stone, so to speak, never to be altered or changed.
The Church is infallible thus it is indefectible. The Church is indefectible thus it is infallible.
Laws and disciplines are infallible and indefectible. When they change, if they change, it would not because something was wrong with them. Again, they are infallible. They might change to make something better not because they were or had defected in someway.
What must Catholic sedevacantists believe?
Catholic sedevacantists must believe everything the Church has taught and reject everything that is opposed to it.
Is there such a case that a Catholic could resist or reject something that comes from the Church?
Since the Catholic Faith is immaculate in all her universal teachings, laws and disciplines, there would be no need to do so. However, one could resist or reject any individual, even the Pope, if he were to command one to sin. But the pope can’t possibly command one to sin by a universal Church teaching, law, or discipline.
Who can judge a pope if that pope becomes heretical or schismatic?
According to Pope Innocent III and St Robert Bellarmine, any Catholic can make that judgment.
Again, why must a Catholic hold the position of sedevacantism?
He must hold the position of sedevacantism as a matter of faith, since the Church cannot have a heretical pope nor can the Church teach or practice something harmful as the Vatican 2 church does.
How does the Church fulfill the mark “one” now?
The Church fulfills the mark of oneness as it always has; by holding to the faith as it has been defined. Every time a true pope dies, the Church remains one by this means.
What about Christ naming Peter in Matt 16? Did Christ build the Church on the papacy?
Christ built the Church on Peter and his faith together, but not necessarily the office of Peter. The office is a necessary part of the Church as are the sacraments but the Church wasn’t built on them either. Peter’s name represented his faith. If Christ built the Church on the office of Peter, then the foundation of the Church is gone every time a pope dies. Without a foundation, there is no church.
Did the last 5 claimants lose their office or did they never have it?
The last 5 claimants never had it for all had defective elections. Had any of them been validly elected, they would have still lost the office. However, none of them were validly elected.
The mark of holiness means that all teachings and practices are holy. The Vatican II church has teachings previously condemned with practices previously condemned as unholy. The mark of apostolicity means it comes from the Apostles, which means the particular teachings and practices that came from Vatican II did not come from the Apostles.
Examples of teachings of Vatican II and how they are condemned:
The Vatican II church teaches:
Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Chapter 2. The people of God
15. “For several reasons the Church recognizes that it is joined to those who, though baptized and so honored with the Christian name, do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve communion under the successor of St. Peter.”
Pope Pius IX, Amantissimus (# 3), April 8, 1862: “There are other, almost countless, proofs drawn from the most trustworthy witnesses which clearly and openly testify with great faith, exactitude, respect and obedience that all who want to belong to the true and only Church of Christ must honor and obey this Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 13), June 29, 1896: “Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man… but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See.”
The Vatican II Church teaches:
Unitatis Redintegratio (Decree on Ecumenism) 3.
“It follows that these separated churches and communities as such, though we believe them to be deficient in some respects, have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation whose efficacy comes from that fullness of grace and truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”
Pope Leo XIII, Satis Cognitum (# 9), June 29, 1896: “The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence.”
The Vatican II church teaches:
Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium Chapter 2. The people of God
16. “But the plan of salvation also embraces those who acknowledge the Creator, and among these the Muslims are first; they profess to hold the faith of Abraham and along with us they worship the one merciful God who will judge mankind on the last day.”
Nostra aetate (Declaration on the church’s relation to non-Christian religions)
3. “The Church also looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and mighty, creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God…Hence they have regard for the moral life and worship God in prayer, almsgiving and fasting.”
The Most Holy Scriptures – St John Chapter 8:
 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”  They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do what Abraham did,  but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did.  You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.  Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
Pope Eugene IV, Council of Basel, Session 19, Sept. 7, 1434: “the abominable sect of Mahomet”
Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, 1311-1312: “It is an insult to the holy name and a disgrace to the Christian faith that in certain parts of the world subject to Christian princes where Saracens (i.e., The followers of Islam, also called Muslims) live, sometimes apart, sometimes intermingled with Christians, the Saracen priests, commonly called Zabazala, in their temples or mosques, in which the Saracens meet to adore the infidel Mahomet, loudly invoke and extol his name each day at certain hours from a high place… This brings disrepute on our faith and gives great scandal to the faithful. These practices cannot be tolerated without displeasing the divine majesty. We therefore, with the sacred council’s approval, strictly forbid such practices henceforth in Christian lands. We enjoin on Catholic princes, one and all. They are to forbid expressly the public invocation of the sacrilegious name of Mahomet… Those who presume to act otherwise are to be so chastised by the princes for their irreverence, that others may be deterred from such boldness.
The Vatican II church teaches:
Dignitatis Humanae (Declaration of religious freedom)
2. “This Vatican synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. Such freedom consists in this, that all should have such immunity from coercion by individuals, or by groups, or by any human power, that no one should be force to act against his conscience in religious matters, nor prevented from acting according to his conscience, whether in private or in public, within due limits.”
# 4: “In addition, religious communities are entitled to teach and give witness to their faith publicly in speech and writing without hindrance.”
Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 15), Aug. 15, 1832:“Here We must include that harmful and never sufficiently denounced freedom to publish any writings whatever and disseminate them to the people, which some dare to demand and promote with so great a clamor. We are horrified to see what monstrous doctrines and prodigious errors are disseminated far and wide in countless books, pamphlets, and other writings which, though small in weight, are very great in malice.”
Pope Leo XIII, Libertas (# 42), June 20, 1888: “From what has been said it follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature of man.”
Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei (# 34), Nov. 1, 1885: “Thus, Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Mirari Vos, dated August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms which even at his time were being publicly inculcated – namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man’s conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the state.”
Examples of practices of the Vatican II church and how they are condemned:
The Vatican II church practices:
Altar girls, female lectors, and female acolytes as in ministers of the Eucharist
Pope Benedict XIV, Encyclical, July 26, 1755 Allatae Sunt: Women Assisting at Mass
Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: “Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.” We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21.
St. Paul and the Holy Spirit in the First Letter to the Corinthians 14:33-36 and the First Letter to Timothy 2:8-15.
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