The "sede" Position in Brief
A short, systematic outline of the history and doctrine supporting the "sede" thesis.
- Heresy is defined as a pertinacious doubt or denial of something required to be held with divine and catholic faith.
- "Vatican II" and its "popes" have taught, adhered to, acted in accordance with, or failed to condemn a plethora of heresies, including religious liberty, universal salvation, the efficacy of non-Catholics sects for salvation, the blasphemy that Jews & Muslims worship the One True God, the evolution of dogma, etc. They have also destroyed the faith of tens of millions, and Karol Wojtyla ("John Paul II") describes this whole process as a "new Pentecost." In other words, he thinks it is good, and wants the Holy Ghost to take the blame ("credit").
- There are various undoubtedly genuine prophecies relating to our time (or a time like ours) which predict the loss of faith at Rome, the use of the See by Antichrist, the mass apostasy, the disappearance of the perpetual sacrifice, etc.
- It is the constant tradition of Holy Church that manifest (i.e. "public") heresy results in the radical incapacity of a man to hold the papacy.
- History provides a number of examples of popes (or "popes") who were claimed to have fallen into at least material heresy, and the reaction of good Catholics each time was to threaten to withdraw from communion with them, and in the more outstanding cases work towards convoking an imperfect council for the "deposition" of the apparent heretic. The significant examples include Liberius, Honorius (after his death), Pascal II, John XXII, Alexander VI, Paul VI, and John Paul II.
- There is no case in history where a "pope" has apparently been a manifest heretic and did not produce this reaction in some portion of the clergy and laity (the faithful).
- These members of the faithful have included many saints.
- The theological basis for this reaction has been established perfectly by many theologians and canonists, with the outstanding example being St. Robert Bellarmine, who has harmonised or criticised all of the opinions to produce the locus classicus on the subject. Given that his works have received the highest possible approbation by the Church - he has been named a Doctor (i.e. "Teacher") of the Universal Church - it is perfectly legitimate, nay praiseworthy in the highest degree, for Catholics to be taught by him in all matters of sacred doctrine.
- Furthermore, there are only three or four theologians known to have held that a heretic could become or remain pope, and none of those are Doctors of the Church.
- Furthermore, there is the bull of Pope Paul IV, Cum Ex Apostolatus, which legislates that if a heretic is elected pope the election is completely null and void, and cannot be convalidated in any way. Once again, this bull proves the radical incompatibility of the papacy and the person of a heretic. If this was not the case, the faulty election could be repaired by acclamation or subsequent "convalidation" by the Sacred College.
- It is contrary to right reason to insist that individual members of the faithful have no right to draw the concrete conclusion of a vacant see through heresy, prior to a declaration by Holy Church. This is proved by a reductio ad absurdum - if this were the case, then no action could be legitimately taken to remove such a "papal" heretic and then replace him. This is because a pope cannot be judged by any man, since judging belongs by divine right only to superiors, and the pope has no superior. Hence any proceedings which were founded on any basis other than the evident vacancy of the Holy See would be contrary to divine law and thus null and void. This is also proved by the authority of Wernz and Vidal, cited elsewhere on this Web site, who maintain that those who dispute the legitimacy of a given pontiff are not to be counted schismatics.
- This judgement of vacancy made by an individual is valid and sufficient in its sphere. It can be and should be a judgement of moral certainty, based on the relevant clear principles of theology and divine law, as embodied in the writings of the approved teachers of Holy Church, and also in her canon law. These principles include the nature of Holy Church as a visible society of those who, among other things, outwardly profess the true faith. Also relevant is the presumption under divine law (and hence canon law) of guilt for heresy (in the external forum) until and unless the contrary is proved. (This principle is no different in its fundamental nature from the presumption which provides perfectly sufficient support for the validity of all sacraments, including the Thuc and Lefebvre lines of Orders and all marriages). This principle is also clearly implied in St. Robert Bellarmine's assessment of the case of Liberius, in which he states that Liberius was actually innocent and yet rightly presumed guilty. It is also clearly enunciated in Leo XIII's Apostolicae Curae, in which the Holy Father laid down that only God judges what remains internal, while men judge externals.
- Given the above, it is the right and responsibility of all of the faithful, as it lies within their competence, to form a view on this question, and it is the additional responsibility of the clergy to act upon the conclusion reached.
Perhaps it may now be clear why it is an absolute outrage that so-called "sedevacantists" are treated as schismatics and denounced as enemies of Holy Church.
November 4, 1998
Feast of St. Charles Borromeo
Amended May 16, 1999
Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension.