Sedevacantists have assumed authority to themselves which they don’t have, no matter how strong the convictions, no matter how many seemingly legitimate accusations brought against the pontiffs of the Catholic Church.
A Catholic “sedevacantist” could make the same counter accusation. Members of the Vatican 2 religion have assumed authority to themselves which they don’t have, no matter how strong the convictions, no matter how many seemingly legitimate arguments to defend modernists as true pontiffs of the Catholic Church.
You have no authority to recognize antipopes as legitimate popes.
As one can see, these accusations are loaded.
The heart of the debate is whether we have a true pope and how to recognize the difference. It is not whether a layman has the authority to depose a true pope or acknowledge a false one for he has no authority to do either.
No pope, doctor or saint ever taught or prophesied that in the future the Church would be without a pope for almost half a century, or that a succession of popes claiming to be popes would not be legitimate popes. No one of repute in all of Catholic history has said such things, and thus there is no basis in Tradition for the claims of sedevacantists.
The basis need not be explicit. The basis is found in tradition and Holy Scripture implicitly.
For instance, St. Nicholas of Flue (1417-1487) stated:
“The Church will be punished because the majority of her members, high and low, will become so perverted. The Church will sink deeper and deeper until she will at last seem to be extinguished, and the succession of Peter and the other Apostles to have expired. But, after this, she will be victoriously exalted in the sight of all doubters.” (Catholic Prophecy by Yves Dupont, p. 30)
It does appear that succession has been extinguished but Catholic “sedevacantists” know that it has not since bishops still exist. This prophecy very much looks like the position of sedevacantism and would not apply if the Vatican 2 religion is legit.
However, it would not matter if an explicit prophecy existed. Anti-sedevacanters would not hear it regardless.
Then we have…
There is little difference with sedevacantists than Martin Luther with the “Here I stand” position, who likewise accused the popes of formal heresy and disavowed them from being the vicars of Christ on earth.
There is a load of difference since the so-called vicars of Christ today agree with Martin Luther on at least one position formally condemned by true vicars of Christ.
Anti-sedevacanters don’t defend the modernism that comes out of Rome that honestly shows that sedevacantism is correct, but rather attacks sedevacantism with silly arguments while misrepresenting true Catholicism.
If sedevacantism is false, then an explanation needs to be given how Vatican 2 reversed the Church’s teaching on religious liberty rather than saying there has been no actual reversal. A logical explanation needs to be given how John Paul II can reject the historic doctrine that Christ actually descended into hell rather than metaphorically as proposed by a man claiming the papacy. A logical explanation needs to be given how John Paul can actually participate in pagan ceremonies and inviting pagans to pray to their pagan gods when the Church has been very clear over its long history that such things are apostate. A logical explanation is needed how John XXIII and Paul VI can be recognized as validly elected popes when solid evidence has been produced that clearly demonstrates their involvement with Masonry, Communism and promotion of modernism.
Of course, there is no logical explanation since anti-sedevacanters think apples are the same as oranges, formal heresy can sometimes be material heresy, the false gods of paganism and infidels are really the same one and true God as the Catholics, and solid evidence is meaningless or that Catholics can’t be ipso facto excommunicated by acts of apostasy.
Then we have…
Moreover, placing oneself under the authority of the Church does not allow one to pick and choose which authority one will accept. One cannot, for example, say that a pope from the past is one’s authority, but not a pope from the present. If not, the matter of authority becomes entirely subjective, and we are once again back to the Protestant dilemma. That cannot be. Either one accepts the papacy in toto or he doesn’t accept it at all. There is no in-between state.
This silly argument confuses the subjects. It’s not about accepting the papacy but the one claiming to hold the office.
If one were to follow this argument, Catholics would have been expected to follow antipopes of the past such as Benedict X and Anacletus II.
Sedevacantists don’t accept an antipope of the present as a true pope since this is how the Catholics have always done with antipopes in the past. Sedevacantists accept the papacy in toto. The Protestant dilemma rejected the papacy altogether.
If by personal conviction one believes a particular pope to be in error on a certain teaching, the history of the Catholic Church shows that there is room for popes to have erroneous concepts and questionable actions (Virgilius, Honorius, Formosa, John XXII, et al.), but at no time has the Church ever stated that those particular popes lost their office because of their errors. At no time has a pope, acting officially in his papal chair, ever been charged by another pope or council of formal heresy, let alone convicted of formal heresy. Thus, it is absolutely ludicrous that now, mere laymen, seek to go beyond these historical limitations and indict not only one pope, but five popes in succession for what they themselves determine as formal heresy.
Sedevacantists don’t say that the last five claimants lost the chair but rather never had it. Also, the popes mentioned above were true popes unlike the present.
I’ve asked this question to anti-sedevacanters and they always refuse to answer it.
If theologian Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame who outright rejects the existence of the devil as a fallen creature of God were elected to the papacy would you recognize him as pope?
The reason they don’t answer the question is because in doing so they will have proved the position of sedevacantism while at the same eliminating all the stupid arguments of private judgment, authority to judge, and the laws of election.
Regardless of whether it is true that a pope in heresy cannot hold the office of pope (which has never been dogmatically defined and officially established by the Church), the unassailable fact remains that we laymen simply do not have the authority, or in most cases even the theological acumen or experience, to declare the pope a formal heretic.
It has been defined that a heretic is not a member of the Church and therefore it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that such a person cannot be head of an organization such as the Church of Christ if he is not a member of it.
However, laymen do have the authority not to recognize a non-Catholic as pope.
Asserting that someone is a formal heretic is a very serious charge. It is a charge that can only be indicted, administered and adjudicated by a canonical court presided over by the highest officials of the Church. Even then the Church herself is officially undecided as to what the procedure would be to depose a pope who has been canonically branded with formal heresy.
This is a half-true statement.
There is a thing as automatic excommunication. So depending on the heresy, individual, and other accounts, asserting that someone is a formal heretic sometimes does take a court, but not always. If a theologian says that he rejects the Apostles’ Creed no matter what anybody in the Church says but is still a member of the Church, do you really think a court is necessary? Again, the question about McBrien as pope proves my point.
Catholic “sedevacantists” are not deposing any pope, but are recognizing who is a Catholic or not. Catholics are bound to do so less he follows that wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Christ’s order to beware of false prophets and teachers would be meaningless, if we can’t judge them as false prophets and teachers.
Catholics don’t recognize the current claimant to the papacy because they have judged him to be a false teacher and non-Catholic.
Vatican II members do recognize the current claimant to the papacy because they have decided not to judge a false teacher as such but rather go along with the crowd, bury their head in the sand, argue that he has not the authority to follow Christ’s commandment, or worse, argue that their heresies and acts of apostasy are not heresies or acts of apostasy at all.
Whatever the case, it is always a subjective decision which answers what all the previous objections were hiding.