Sedevacantism is the position held by a minority of
Traditionalist Catholics who claim that the Papal See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XIIin 1958 (or, according to some, since the death of Pope John XXIIIin 1963). Sedevacantists believe that Paul VI (1963–1978), John Paul I (1978), John Paul II (1978–2005) and Benedict XVI (since 2005) have been neither true Catholics nor true popes, but rather notorious heretics, because of allegedly having espoused Modernism.
The term "sedevacantism" is derived from the Latin phrase "
sede vacante", which literally means "while the seat is vacant", the seat in question being that of a bishop. A specific use of the phrase is in the context of the vacancy of the Holy Seebetween the death or resignation of a Pope and the election of his successor.
Some small groups of Traditionalist Catholics give allegiance to alternative Popes of their own. On these, see
conclavism. Since they hold that the Holy See is headed by their nominee and therefore is not in fact vacant, they are not sedevacantists in the strict sense. However, the term "sedevacantist" is often applied to them because they reject the generally accepted papal succession.
One of the earliest proponents of sedevacantism was the American
Francis Schuckardt. Though he was still working within the "official" Church in 1967, he publicly took the position in 1968 that the Holy Seewas vacant and that the Church that had emerged from the Second Vatican Councilwas no longer Catholic. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Schuckardt#Tridentine_Latin_Rite_Catholic_Church] An associate of his, Daniel Q. Brown, arrived at the same conclusion. In 1969, Brown illicitly received episcopal orders from an Old Catholicbishop, and in 1971 he in turn consecrated Schuckardt. Schuckardt founded a congregation called the Tridentine Latin Rite Catholic Church.
In 1970, a Japanese layman, "Joseph of Jesus and Mary" Yukio Nemoto (1925-1988), created a sedevacantist group called
Seibo No Mikuni. [ [http://www.cesnur.org/conferences/riga2000/zoccatelli.htm Seibo No Mikuni (Zoccatelli) - CESNUR ] ] As late as 2000, they were corresponding with all Italian clergy, and were supported by at least one Guatemalan priest. ("You are Peter (the Rock), and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it") excludes the possibility that the Catholic bishops around the world and the Pope with whom they are in communion would succumb to heresy and fall from office.
* They say that sedevacantists wrongly treat certain papal statements of the past as if they were "ex cathedra" declarations.
* They claim that sedevacantists fail to distinguish between matters of discipline — such as the use of
Latinand of the Tridentine Mass— which can be reformed at any time, and infallible dogmatic teachings.
* They say that sedevacantists indulge in the logical fallacy of
post hoc, ergo propter hocwhen they attribute problems that the Church has experienced in the Western world since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council to the reforms themselves rather than to the general decrease in religiosity in the West.
Sedevacantists advance counter-arguments, such as:
* They deny that they implicitly repudiate the dogma of papal infallibility as defined at the
First Vatican Council, and maintain that, on the contrary, they are the fiercest defenders of this doctrine, since they teach that the Apostolic See of Peter, under the rule of a true Pope, cannot promulgate contradictory teachings.
* To rebut the accusation of denying the catholicity and indefectibility of the Church, they say that, between the death of every Pope and the election of his successor, there is a "sede vacante" period during which there is no visible Head of the Church, and — while mainstream Catholics hold that, according to the dogmatic constitution "Pastor aeternus" of the First Vatican Council, which speaks of "perpetual successors" in the pontificate, there must be, apart from such transitory periods, a perpetual presence of the "Bishop" of Rome, not merely of his "office" — that the absence of a Pope has become a long-term feature of the Church's structure.
* They recall that, during the 40-year Great Western Schism, while nobody claimed that the see of Rome was vacant, there was uncertainty about which of the two (eventually three) claimants was the true pontiff, with even canonized saints taking opposing sides in the controversy. In his 1882 book, "The Relations of the Church to Society - Theological Essays", the Jesuit theologian, Father Edmund James O'Reilly, wrote: "... not that an interregnum covering the whole period would have been impossible or inconsistent with the promises of Christ, for this is by no means manifest." [http://www.sedevacantist.com/oreilly.html]
* They interpret the
Book of Revelationas speaking of an end-times Great Apostasy on the City of Seven Hills (Rome) and say that Our Lady of La Salette warned on 19 September 1846that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of the Anti-Christ.
* Most Holy Family Monastery, a sedevacantist community living near Buffalo, New York, under the headship of Michael Dimond. His brother Peter Dimond writes most of the articles. [http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com Most Holy Family Monastery]
*Catholic Restoration, a group of clerics who were ordained in the 70's by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre and became sedevacantists, together with newer priests who were trained in their seminairies.
Society of St. Pius V, formed when nine priests of the Society of St. Pius Xsplit from that organisation over issues of using the liturgical reforms implemented under Pius XII and publicly reciting the name of the post-conciliar pope John Paul II. The SSPV holds sedevacantism as a probable opinion and as a topic of legitimate debate, not imposing sedevacantism as a morally obliged teaching however.
Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thụclines of episcopal succession
Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen
* The Society of the Immaculata, founded by [http://www.societyoftheimmaculata.com/founder.html Dennis McCormack] .
Second Vatican Council
Mass of Paul VI
* [http://www.romancatholicism.org/sedevacantism-reconsidered.htm Sedevacantism Reconsidered]
* [http://www.geocities.com/catholic_traditionalist/#sede Roman Catholic Traditionalism? Sedevacantism.]
* [http://www.todayscatholicworld.com/simple.htm Brief Overview of Situation w/images]
* [http://www.dailycatholic.org/issue/04Sep/sep12mdi.htm Evidence of sedevacantism]
* [http://www.wandea.org.pl/sedevacantism.html Further explanation of sedevacantism]
* [http://www.sedevacantist.com/ The Aquinas site. Sedevacantist.com.]
* [http://haggard.w.interia.pl/sede.html list of sites]
* [http://www.sedevacante.pl Fr Raphael Trytek]
* [http://www.eclipseofthechurch.com Eclipse of the Church]
* [http://www.wftsradio.com/ WFTS radio] SSPV sermons, lectures, music
* [http://www.sspv.net/ SSPV]
* [http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/ Most Holy Family Monastery]
* [http://www.societyoftheimmaculata.com The Society of the Immaculata]
* [http://www.kirchenlehre.com/wikiped2.htm Wikipedia: "Rolf Hermann Lingen" - KzM] de icon
* [http://www.sspx.org/miscellaneous/is_sedevacantism_catholic1.html Critique of sedevacantism by the SSPX]
* [http://www.sspx.ca/Communicantes/Dec2004/Is_That_Chair_Vacant.htm Is that Chair Vacant?] A dossier on sedevacantism by the
Society of St. Pius Xof Canada.
* [http://www.olfatima.com/sedevacantism_refuted.html Sedevacantism refuted] by
bishop Terence Fulham
* [http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/church/dimond3.htm Against Sedevacantism. Discussion with the Dimond Brothers.] By Robert Sungenis
* [http://www.catholicintl.com/epologetics/dialogs/church/insan_o_sed1.htm The insanity of sedevacantism] by Robert Sungenis.
* [http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2001/0103fea1.asp White smoke? Valid Pope] by Father Brian Harrison
* [http://www.geocities.com/Athens/oracle/9463/antisede.html Against the Sedevacantist.] By Wayne Nichols.
* [http://www.lumengentleman.com/content.asp?id=205 Sedevacantism: a return to Protestant roots.] by Jacob Michael
* [http://www.lumengentleman.com/content.asp?id=179 Pope or Heretic? An evaluation of Benedict XVI] by Jacob Michael.
* [http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=2651 Do-It-Yourself Popes: the Wacky World of Sedevacantists] (the author mistakes Palmarian conclavists for sedevacantists)
* [http://matt1618.freeyellow.com/sedevacantism.html A Prescription Against "Traditionalism" Part 3: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism]
* [http://www.christendomisfightingback.com/home.html You cannot be a Sedevacantist forever.] By Phil Friedl
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