Sedevacantism

Sedevacantists believes that the Chair of Peter is empty. SSPV and other schismatic groups who believes in “the remnant” and who “fight” against the Second Vatican Council holds an impossible position. In a previous post explaining Modern Errors (under which the errors of the SSPV fall), I made this statement:

“The SSPV are more dangerous, as they hold the view that the Seat of Peter is empty, and thereby they reject the infallible teaching of the First Vatican Council. Notice it brings them back to Vatican I and not Vatican II… This brought unto them the two choices of Christ or nothing. Their two choices are as follows:

  1. Either His Holiness Pope Francis is the successor of Peter.
  2. OR : Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, is not Divine.”

To explain this in fuller details, every sedevacantist needs to hold one of the two following points. There are a few steps to take to arrive to the conclusions below. Please note that under infallibility falls both Councils as well as Papal infallibility.

  • God made the Church infallible, because “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matthew 16:18).
  •  The Church infallibly declared that the Seat of Peter will always hold a successor (Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 2, 5).
  • Sedevacantists wrongly believe that the Seat of Peter does not hold a successor since Pope Pius XII.

There are only three possibility in order to claim that the Seat of Peter is vacant, either:

A) The Church is not from God

 B) A Papal successor will be instated in the future

C)  Sedevacantism is wrong

Now lets answer A)

  • God made an infallible Church.
  • A fallible church will contradict itself in Faith and Morals as leaders changes (discipline not infallible).
  • The Catholic Church did not contradict itself in Faith and Morals in two thousand years of history, and with two-hundred-and-sixty-six Popes.
  • Therefore, the Catholic Church is infallible.
  • Thereby, the idea that A) the church is not from God” is completely false.

Notice that the Catholic Church is the only religion which can make that fact. Any religions and sects either died out, or they cannot claim a single leader as head.

How could we respond to B)? Sedevacantists believe in a Papal successor who will be instated in the future. In what ways depend on the group itself. To counter this, there are two steps.

  • The Chair of Peter has the power to bind and loosen on earth as in heaven (Matthew 18:18).
  • The His Holiness Pope Nicholas II in 1089 has bound the election of a Pope to be made only by Cardinals (Lateran III), (In nomine domine).
  • The Chair of Peter has upheld this teaching until this age, including His Holiness Pope Pius XII and His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI (Vacantis Apostolicæ Sedis), (De Aliquibus Mutationibus).
  • Valid Cardinals must be alive if the Chair of Peter is to empty.

Now that we know valid Cardinals must be alive for the Chair of Peter to be empty, we head for the second part… This mixes B) with C).

  • It is infallibly declared by the First Vatican Council that the Chair of Peter will always have successors.
  • Only a Pope can make someone a Cardinal.
  • There must be either a Pope or a Cardinal living at all times.
  • All the Cardinals made before 1979 are dead, therefore all Cardinal by His Holiness Pope Paul VI, His Holiness Pope John XXIII, His Holiness Pope Pius XII, and all their predecessors, are effectively deceased.

Notice the oldest currently living Cardinal is His Eminence Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, Cardinal Vice-Dean of College of Cardinals, at 95 years of age. He was made a Cardinal by His Holiness Pope St. John-Paul II.

  • Therefore His Holiness Pope St. John-Paul II, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, or His Holiness Pope Francis must be (have been) a valid pope. A minimum of one third of the Pontiffs above need to be valid Popes.
  • A Cardinals ordained by a Pope after His Holiness Pius XII needs to be living.
  • Therefore, the Sedevacantist idea of an empty Apostolic See after His Holiness Pope Pius XII is false.

The idea that a Papal successor will be instated in the future, and that no Popes have been there since His Holiness Pope Pius XII died is simply false. It is impossible as Peter and those after have spoken and bounded on earth as in heaven. Sedevacantism might try to choose one of the three Popes, but it puts them into a problem. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was elected with Cardinals from His Holiness Paul VI and His Holiness Pope St. John-Paul II. Even if they reject His Holiness Paul VI, they are obliged to accept His Holiness St. John-Paul II. By doing so, they are obliged to recognize the Chair of Peter in His Holiness Pope St. John-Paul II, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, and His Holiness Pope Francis.

Therefore, even if there would have been an empty Chair of Peter a few dozens of years past in His Holiness Paul VI, sedevacantists are obliged to recognize the Supreme Pontiff in His Holiness Pope Francis. This in turn brings us back unto the original statement:

  1. Either His Holiness Pope Francis is the successor of Peter.
  2. OR : Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, is not Divine.

Now the first point is clear, but what about the second? Well God Himself in Jesus Christ promised that “the gates of hell shall not prevail“, and this includes the infallibility of the Popes and Councils. If they reject the first point, they then need to reject Papal and Council infallibility, and by doing so, reject Jesus as God.

So what did the First Vatican Council have to say? Vatican I, Session 4, Chapter 2, 5 states:

Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema.

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