Sedevacantists can’t be sure that John XXIII through Benedict XVI have been obstinate against Church doctrine, therefore, they are still true popes.
This common objection has been used by all so-called traditional Catholics united to Rome.
True popes can most assuredly be in error in good faith as many have been. Such cases come from popes mistakenly speaking or writing something against Catholic doctrine which is defined after the incident.
For instance, Pope John XXII, on All Saints Day in 1331 AD, said in a sermon that souls do not attain the beatific vision until after the General Judgment.
Because the statement was very controversial, he retracted it on his deathbed.
However, the doctrine was not defined until after Pope John’s death, making Pope John only a material heretic or a good-will Catholic in error.
His successor, Benedict XII, issued the Constitution “Benedictus Deus” in 1336 AD, asserting that the blessed souls of the dead “see the face of the triune God immediately after death”.
Interestingly enough, this case is used by anti-sedevacanters to demonstrate that popes can make serious doctrinal error without automatically losing his office reinforcing the original objection that we can’t be sure of obstinacy.
Of course, some of these same Vatican 2-ites can see how manifestly heretical this statement by John XXII was but fail to see how manifestly heretical the numerous statements that have come from John 23 through Benedict XVI which contradict previously defined and repeated doctrine unlike John XXII.
It is an absurd argument to use this case against sedevacantism.
But what about obstinacy?
Again, the original objection is stating that the last 5 claimants to the papacy are at best material heretics since it already implies that they are indeed against Church doctrine but not pertinacious or contumaciously so.
In other words, the last 5 claimants to the papacy were ignorant but in good faith.
In fact, with their PHD’s of theology in hand, they were so incredibly stupid that when they decided to change the church with Vatican 2, they didn’t realize that their new laws, doctrines, sacraments, and worship service were previously condemned by many popes?
You know better, I know better, our children know better, but they didn’t know better!
Are you serious, anti-sedevacanters?
Was it a mere coincidence that Lucia warned (by Our Lady) that a very great chastisement (material and spiritual) was about to befall the world between 1957 and 1960?
Was it a mere coincidence that John XXIII refused to read the 3rd Secret of Fatima in 1960 as asked by Our Lady because, as she said, we would understand the message in that year?
Was it a mere coincidence that for years John XXIII and Benedict XVI were on record for suspicion of modernism when it was them that changed everything with Vatican 2 as Ratzinger said that the condemnations against modernism were obsolete?
Was it a mere coincidence that John XXIII and Paul VI (who were reported to have been initiated into the Masonic Brotherhood in Paris in the late 40’s) incorporated the backbone of Masonry into Vatican 2 (which was previously and repeatedly condemned) by teaching that man has a right to practice his own (false) religion in public by way of speech or writing without hindrance?
Was it a mere coincidence that Rome’s official (1994) catechism did not make one reference to the condemnations against modernism by Pope St. Pius X?
You really think we can’t know for sure that they were obstinate?
This is not a real objection to sedevacantism but a mere excuse not to accept the truth.