Sedevacantist and Traditional Catholics who Stay with the Pope

With all the confusion in the church today, you can sympathize with Sedevacantist.  But nevertheless they are wrong.  Sede Vacante means empty chair.  What chair, but the chair of St. Peter as first pope when he was given authority by Jesus to rule the church.   They believe that because the popes since Pope John XXIII have expressed opinions that may appear to be heretical, they are no longer is popes.  They believe that these popes (John XXII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict) are automatically excommunicated when they express these opinions or teach something that appears to be inconsistent with church dogma.  With the feast day of the Chair of St. Peter we look at the SEDE of the Pope.  “Where the pope is there is the church.”  We love our catholic church.  We love our pope.

This is a very difficult topic to discuss.  It is a grave danger for those who are well educated in catholic dogma and theology and are trying to be faithful to traditional catholic teaching a practices find inconsistencies with how the catholic faith was taught before and how it is taught and practiced today.  There are so many independent catholic communities with priest and even some bishops who believe with all their hearts that these popes are not really popes.  But if there has not been a pope for the last 50 years, how has God been faithful to His church and where is His church.  Is the catholic church just in one of these independent churches with just a few people.  Many of them believe so.  They are the tiny remnant.

But again there is a great deal of disagreement between all the sedevacantist.  Just google sedevacantist and see what you come up with.   Which one of the sedevacantist is correct?

St. Peter is really buried below St. Peter’s Bascilica.  God ordained that this be where the seat of St. Peter is to be, in the Vatican in Rome.

I am not an expert on this subject at all.  I do not claim to be able to debate with all of their theories.  I respect them but disagree with them.  I respect them because they are sincerely trying to be faithful to their catholic faith.

So my suggestion is to honestly and lovingly talk together.  I find that there is a good deal of negativity when someone tries to dialogue with them.  They try to convert you right away.  I cannot fault them for trying.  There is nothing that will take me away from the pope.

I do agree with them in being critical of the pope’s opinions that are not consistent with catholic dogma.  We need to be critical of their actions such as kissing the Koran or the whole Assisi peace event.  But we need to be very careful and prayerful in all this.  And again do it all in love and out of love for our faith.  I totally agree with them that the church is in total disarray.  There are sex abuse problems, liturgical abuses and bishops teaching new doctrine.  There is corruption in the church.  When I bring up these issues, many good catholics blame it on a few people in the church or just say it is alright.  No it is not alright.  We have huge problems, but saying the pope is not the pope is not solving anything.  Thank you sedevacantist for bringing up the problems, but stay with the pope and work to stop them.

As we pray for a new pope we need to ask God for a pope who will be clear and consistent with what the church has taught for 1980 years.  This will bring back many good catholics who have become sedevacantist.  We are not a new church since Vatican II.  We are a consistent church that develops but never changes.  The pope and bishops are to preserve the DEPOSIT OF FAITH given to them by Jesus Christ and handed on by St. Peter and the other apostles.


22 Replies to “Sedevacantist and Traditional Catholics who Stay with the Pope”

  1. The main problem is that many people do not understand what papal infallibility and magisterial authority truly mean. The rules for infallibility are extremely strict. The Holy Father can make a whole host of incorrect statements and propose innovations that do not fall under the realm of magisterial authority, but rather prudential judgement. I highly recommend reading the book “Magisterial Authority” by Fr. Chad Ripperger, FSSP (Sensus Traditionis Press). You can also go to his website,, click the multimedia link, and find several sermons and talks on the subject.

    When I think about the Holy Father saying or promoting all these shocking things, I am upset, but at peace. Just like my earthly father, he is not perfect and can do and say very hurtful things. Yet I haven’t rejected my earthly father, I love him anyway. I pray for him every day. What you are saying about being careful and charitable in our criticisms is so true. Thank you!

  2. Just to clarify – by “earthly father” I mean my own father. Yikes, that sounded weird when I read my posted comment. Sorry!

  3. Then why , if the “development” of the Catholic Church is within the parameters of Christs one true church” teachings,did the Blessed Virgin allude to the ” corruption in the Church hierarchy” when she spoke to St Lucy in Fatima?

    1. In short, nothing can be declared infallible unless it is the truth which has been revealed and believed from the beginning. It’s not as if a pope can go and make up something then say it is infallible. In fact, if a Pope were to “declare” something Ex Cathedra that was against the clear teaching of the church he would then become an Anti-Pope and would have excommunicated himself and for trying to pervert the doctrines, which would open yet another can of worms. So, having said that, no pope can ever declare anything infallibly that hasn’t already been stated as much by the church for ages. The only two instances of “Ex Cathedra” have been the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary, both of which were believed from the very beginning by the church.

  4. It would seem that with regard to questions of doctrine, those who love Catholic Tradition all believe the same articles of faith.

    Who is or is not pope at any particular time seems to be more a question of fact that of faith. One can err as to who was pope on June 1, 166 AD, — was it Telesphorus or Hyginus or did that date fall during their interregnum? Who can claim to know every date of every pope throughout history? Was Saint Vincent Ferrer not Catholic for thinking Clement VII was pope and not Urban VI? Or was he merely a Catholic saint who was wrong about a fact? Who the pope is, is a fact that changes. The Catholic Faith does not change.

    If a bishop teaches the Catholic faith the Church has always taught, shouldn’t Catholics listen to and believe that teaching, regardless of who he or they might think is or is not pope?

    If a bishop teaches differently from what the Church has always taught, shouldn’t Catholics “fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers” (Saint John 10:5), regardless of who he or they might think is or is not pope (including himself)?

    1. Francis teeters on the edge of heresy often. He has appointed bishops who teach heresy. The Devil is having his hour, the Church is being tested like never before. I pray for a Traditionalist pope soon.

  5. This entire article provides no substantial or objective evidence to back up his claim.

    “Fr.” Carota says, “there is a great deal of disagreement between all the sedevacantist?” Oh really? Theologians have always have differences of opinion on the interpretations of certain doctrine. On the other hand, do all the Novus Ordo “bishops” and even the post Vatican II “popes” agree with one another? Most, if not all, sedevancantists agree with the essential doctrines of the faith.

    “Fr.” Carota says his suggestion is to “honestly and lovingly talk together.” I know this man personally, and I can say for a fact that he does not want to know the truth, because if he realizes he is wrong, then he must change his position or abandon his current theological position.

    A while back, myself, and a handful of people provided him with theological sources explaining the sedevancatist position, and yet, he could not provide a single rebuttal or answer to any of our questions.

    You said, “there is nothing that will take me away from the pope.” Ok, then submit to all of Vatican II doctrine; embrace the New Mass, new catechism, theology, canon law, encyclicals, and every approved law that came out of the Novus Ordo church. If you claim to be obedience to your church, then submit to his decrees.

    ✦ “We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation” (Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution De Ecclesia Christi, DZ 1827; Canon 218).

    • “Further, by divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement or in her ordinary and universal teaching power [magisterium], to be believed as divinely revealed” (Vatican Council I, Dogmatic Constitution on the Faith, DZ 1792).
    • “For even if it were a matter concerning that subjection which is to be manifested by an act of divine faith, nevertheless, it would not have to be limited to those matters which have been defined by express decrees of the ecumenical Councils, or of the Roman Pontiff and of this See, but would have to be extended also to those matters which are handed down as divinely revealed by the ordinary teaching power of the whole Church spread throughout the world, and therefore, by universal and common consent are held by Catholic theologians to belong to faith” (Pope Pius IX Encyclical Tuas Libenter, DZ 1683).

    You can’t honestly read this and reject Vatican II and its decrees.

    You say that the Vatican II “popes” are inconsistent with Catholic dogma. Interesting. Pope Leo XIII says:

    ✦ “No one who merely disbelieves in all can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single heresy he is not a Catholic” (Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum [9]).

    “No one who merely disbelieves in all can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single heresy he is not a Catholic” (Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Satis Cognitum [9])

    ✦ St. Robert Bellarmine (1610) “A pope who is a manifest heretic automatically (per se) ceases to be pope and head, just as he ceases automatically to be a Christian and a member of the Church. Wherefore, he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the ancient Fathers who teach that manifest heretics immediately lose all jurisdiction.” De Romano Pontifice. II.30.
    ✦ St. Alphonsus Liguori (†1787) “If ever a pope, as a private person, should fall into heresy, he would at once fall from the pontificate.” Oeuvres Complètes. 9:232

    So is Francis I Catholic or not? Is John Paul II Catholic or he isn’t?

    Where does the Church teach that we have to have a pope at all time? The longest interregnum was 2 or 3 years. Did the Church ceased to exist then?
    In 1882 a book was published in England called The Relations of the Church to Society – Theological Essays, comprising twenty-nine essays by Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly S.J., one of the leading theologians of his time. The book expresses with wonderful clarity and succinctness many important theological truths and insights on subjects indirectly as well as directly related to its main theme.

    For our purposes the book has in one respect an even greater relevance than it did at the time of publication, for in it Fr. O’Reilly asserts with the full weight of such authority as he possesses, the following opinions:
    1. that a vacancy of the Holy See lasting for an extended period of time cannot be pronounced to be incompatible with the promises of Christ as to the indefectibility of the Church; and
    2. that it would be exceedingly rash to set any prejudged limits as to what God will be prepared to allow to happen to the Holy See (other, of course, than that a true pope will never fall into heresy, nor in any way err).

    Finally, you said that we should “stay with the pope and work to stop them.” I would think that if he’s the pope then he should know what he’s doing, and yet you’re telling him what and what not to do. Ironic.

    I’ll end this with this quote:

    Vatican I (1869), Serapius Iragui (1959) “What would be said if the Roman Pontiff were to become a heretic? In the First Vatican Council, the following question was proposed: Whether or not the Roman Pontiff as a private person could fall into manifest heresy?

    “The response was thus: ‘Firmly trusting in supernatural providence, we think that such things quite probably will never occur. But God does not fail in times of need. Wherefore, if He Himself would permit such an evil, the means to deal with it would not be lacking.’ [Mansi 52:1109]

    “Theologians respond the same way. We cannot prove the absolute unlikelihood of such an event [absolutam repugnatiam facti]. For this rea- son, theologians commonly concede that the Roman Pontiff, if he should fall into manifest heresy, would no longer be a member of the Church, and therefore could neither be called its visible head.” Manuale Theologiae Dogmaticae. Madrid: Ediciones Studium 1959. 371.

    1. I am reminded, again, of the prophecy of St. Francis. I quote it in detail below:

      “Act bravely, my Brethren; take courage, and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.

      The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.

      Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.
      There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.

      Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.

      Those who preserve their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. But the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head [Jesus Christ], these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish [physically] rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.

      Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.”

  6. Thank you, but, what about all this I keep hearing that the new mass is not valid and the new old latin mass is not valid because of the changes St. Pope John XXlll made(1962 missal?) and that no changes were supposed to be made and now all new clergy, baptisms, marriages, etc. are not valid?! Please explain these in detail. Thanks, Donna

  7. Father is right to be respectful of the sedevacantists here. There may be some nasty ones, but the majority of those I have encountered are sincere in their desire to follow the Catholic Faith and are troubled by these horribly confusing times. Unfortunately, the problem is exacerbated because people don’t actually consider their point of view. Of course they know that not everything a pope says is infallible–they are generally not idiots. The problem is they have zeroed in on canon law and the teachings of theologians (mainly Bellarmine) which state that (a) a heretical pope loses office and (b) a heretic cannot become pope. Then they look at Bergoglio as a manifest heretic and say, “he cannot be pope!” And similarly with the previous popes. I haven’t adopted their point of view (due to some other problems with it) but nobody every seems to answer that specific question. I’d love to hear a trained canonist take it up, since much of the question revolves around canon law.

  8. The standard notions of sedeplenaism or sedevacantism do not apply because when Paul VI signed The Dogmatic Constitution of the Church on 21/11/1964, through chapter one, section 8, paragraph 2 of that document he instituted a New Church and a New Religion which has far surpassed the Protestant Reformation. It is a schismatic church whose head can no longer be the Vicar of Christ.
    It is a situation without precedent.

  9. Satan is hard at work…….. When every other ‘Catholic’ believes something even slightly different… Satan has ‘diluted’ the ‘Faithful’… as well as ‘deluded’… sad. I can say that ( I ) am NOT an ‘American Catholic’- a ‘term’ that over the past fifty years has taken on much of the above two words. I am… simply- a ‘Catholic’ and in this case, a ‘Traditional Catholic’ in belief and in my heart. Many have chosen to be ‘swayed’ in ‘this or that’…. but I am ‘Catholic’ in my heart and Soul… Until Christ comes ( & He will ).. the Pope is- the ‘Pope’..

  10. You have very kind insight, Father.

    Before Pope Francis, I had zero tolerance for the theological opinion of sedevacantism. Now, given the near-weekly doses of error coming out of Rome, I have softened towards it. I don’t agree with it, still. I understand the sedes are concerned for Holy Mother Church. I don’t think they are heretics, nor Protestants, nor spawns of satan, as the New Order Catholics shriek.
    And if we would just get an orthodox pope, all this would be resolved.
    Thank you for your thoughts, Father.

    1. That is exactly where I am at. I won’t cross the Sede line, as I am simply not competent to declare or adhere to such a position. God has not asked me to do so.

      On the other hand, if I sat at Pope Francis’ feet and listened with docility to everything he said, and believed it, I would lose my Catholic Faith.

      So, for the time being, I am stuck.

      I think the SSPX is right. Just keep doing what the Church has always done, and believe and teach the same, and ride this out. Don’t move, don’t give a single inch. Just hold the fort. All the technicalities of Canon Law and jurisdiction are superseded by the higher law of salvation of souls. They are not for times of great apostasy such as this, nor would they have applied during the time of Arius and St Athanasius.

      In previous times of confusion in Church history, the ordinary Catholic just sat tight and waited it out. That’s what I am.

      It will right itself eventually in God’s good time. O, Lord make haste to help us!

  11. Whether a Pope can be a manifest heretic is still an unresolved theological question. A Pope could resolve it in the future, à la Humani Generis §20 (final sentence).

    St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine discussed the Pope-heretic question (De Romano Pontifice, lib. II, cap. 30).

    So did John of St. Thomas, one of the greatest commentators on St. Thomas Aquinas, who said a council, not just any layman, would have to declare such a heretical pope as having lost his office:
    Tractatus de Auctoritate Summi Pontificis, Disputatio II, Articulus III: Utrum Papa deponi possit ab Ecclesia, sicut ab eadem eligitur; et in quibus casibus?
    Whether the Pope may be deposed by the Church, in the same way as he is elected by the same (the Church), and in which cases?

    St. Francis de Sales wrote along the same lines (The Catholic Controversy p. 306):

    Now when he [a pope] is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as S. Peter did: Let another take his bishopric.

  12. Also, of course sedevacantists “stay with the [valid] Pope[s].”

    The old Catholic Encyclopedia‘s entry on the Great Western Schism is also a must-read. Saints like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Vincent Ferrer disagreed on who the valid Pope was! Hence, it’s clear both sedevacantists and sedeplenists today are members of the Catholic Church and can become saints.

  13. Before I come to the main point of sedevacantism, or outright schism, the SSPX is not right in stating that sedevacantists are unwilling to pray for the pope. What sedevacantists object to is a Mass being offered “Una Cum” or in union with a Vatican II pope and the local bishop who do not cherish the Catholic and Apostolic Faith as do ‘all orthodox believers and professors of the Catholic and Apostolic Faith,’ as the first part of the Roman Canon reads. In the second part of the Roman Canon a sedevacantist can certainly pray for the pope.
    Now treating the issue of sedevacantism objectively, Pail VI’s “Dogmatic Constitution of the Church” given on 21/11/1964, through chapter one, section 8, paragraph 2, and the surreptitious use of the verb “subsists” has instituted a New Church and a New Religion, which the SSPX overlooks. To meet the tenets of this New Religion, among other drastic revisions including that of priestly formation, all the sacramental rites have been re-written in order to shed their Catholicism. The Mass is not a translation but a total re-write to exclude anything to which the institutional Protestant objects. The New Mass lacks doctrinal rectitude and no true Pope can celebrate it as also administer the other Vatican II sacraments, more particularly the 1968 revised rites of ordination. It is a case of a universal Apostasy, or outright schism, which the SSPX fails to recognize. And this schism goes far beyond the Protestant Reformation.

  14. I attend a Sedevacantist church, which is very close to my home..I also have access to an SSPX and an FSSP….I have attended both of the latter, which are a farther distance to drive…… My conclusion is, even though I do not consider myself a Sedevacantist , the Mass is valid..One thing to consider when rationalizing the Sedevacantist point of view is , even though there have been “bad popes” in the past , they never changed the Mass.

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