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 XII in 1958 (or, according to some, since the death of Pope John XXIII in 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 See between 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.

Early history

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 See was vacant and that the Church that had emerged from the Second Vatican Council was no longer Catholic. [] An associate of his, Daniel Q. Brown, arrived at the same conclusion. In 1969, Brown illicitly received episcopal orders from an Old Catholic bishop, 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. [ [ 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 Latin and 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 hoc when 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." []
* They interpret the Book of Revelation as 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 1846 that Rome would lose the faith and become the seat of the Anti-Christ.

edevacantist groups

* 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. [ 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 X split 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.
* The Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục lines of episcopal succession
* Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen
* The Society of the Immaculata, founded by [ Dennis McCormack] .


ee also

* Conclavism
* Sedevacantist antipope
* Traditionalist Catholic
* Tridentine Mass
* Second Vatican Council
* Mass of Paul VI
* Sirianism

External links

edevacantist sites

* [ Sedevacantism Reconsidered]
* [ Roman Catholic Traditionalism? Sedevacantism.]
* [ Brief Overview of Situation w/images]
* [ Evidence of sedevacantism]
* [ Further explanation of sedevacantism]
* [ The Aquinas site.]
* [ list of sites]
* [ Fr Raphael Trytek]
* [ Eclipse of the Church]
* [ WFTS radio] SSPV sermons, lectures, music
* [ SSPV]
* [ Most Holy Family Monastery]
* [ The Society of the Immaculata]
* [ Wikipedia: "Rolf Hermann Lingen" - KzM] de icon


* [ Critique of sedevacantism by the SSPX]
* [ Is that Chair Vacant?] A dossier on sedevacantism by the Society of St. Pius X of Canada.
* [ Sedevacantism refuted] by bishop Terence Fulham
* [ Against Sedevacantism. Discussion with the Dimond Brothers.] By Robert Sungenis
* [ The insanity of sedevacantism] by Robert Sungenis.
* [ White smoke? Valid Pope] by Father Brian Harrison
* [ Against the Sedevacantist.] By Wayne Nichols.
* [ Sedevacantism: a return to Protestant roots.] by Jacob Michael
* [ Pope or Heretic? An evaluation of Benedict XVI] by Jacob Michael.
* [ Do-It-Yourself Popes: the Wacky World of Sedevacantists] (the author mistakes Palmarian conclavists for sedevacantists)
* [ A Prescription Against "Traditionalism" Part 3: A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism]
* [ You cannot be a Sedevacantist forever.] By Phil Friedl

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