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"Sedevacantism" is the belief that the See of Rome is currently vacant; that is, there is no current Pope. There are not very many people who believe it, but they do seem to be pretty vocal on the Internet. One thing that I don't understand about it is: What do they think will or should happen in the future in order to resolve the situation? (Of course, the non-sedevacantist majority don't think there's a situation to be resolved at all.) The bulk of what I've read consists of their detailed complaints about recent Popes, along with some wrangling about election procedures and the like; but I haven't seen much that's about the future.

I understand that some of these groups have tried to elect their own Popes. Do they think that the global Church will/should come around to their position? Is there any kind of plan for how this might happen? Or are they content to remain as an elite minority while everybody else is condemned?

I ask partly because I have a sense that there is an eschatological dimension. The contemporary movement reminds me of the late mediaeval apocalyptic theory of an usurping pseudo-papal antichrist and his battle with the true Pope, this being one of the signs of the end of history. (See for example Bernard McGinn, Apocalypticism and Church Reform 1100-1500, in vol. 2 of The Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism, 2000.) I have seen sedevacantists talking about the so-called Prophecy of the Popes, which has quite an end-of-the-world flavour.

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Very...very good question! Can't wait for an answer... –  Charles Alsobrook Oct 3 '13 at 3:00
    
"Global church"... I haven't heard about this... –  Byzantine Oct 3 '13 at 4:24
    
@Byzantine - I mean to say, at least, the majority of Catholics worldwide who don't think the Holy See is vacant. Perhaps the Orthodox and others should also be included if sedevacantists want or expect to convert them. –  James T Oct 3 '13 at 11:52
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There are, unfortunately, numerous sedevacantist groups that disagree with each other. As indicated in the question, there are some that have tried to elect their own popes. There are also the Feeneyites, particularly associated with Most Holy Family Monastery, who deny the doctrines of baptism of desire (and, I believe, also of baptism of blood). For another viewpoint, one with which I agree, I strongly recommend that you look at some of the material at the web site http://www.traditionalmass.org/ and particularly the link "Key Issues". You might also listen to some of the sermons at http://www.traditionalcatholicsermons.org particularly those of Bishop Sanborn. (You'll be able to tell from the titles which ones are relevant to your question about sedevacantism and which ones are general Catholic doctrine).

One example of how these groups could see the issue resolving is Bishop Sanborn's position, which is essentially that the administrative structure of the Catholic Church continues, despite heresy, so that the modernist popes have valid elections (and the cardinals valid appointments) but are impeded from having the authority of the papacy by their lack of the Catholic faith. So the crisis would be ended if one of these popes were to abjure heresy and profess the Catholic faith (and, I suppose, receive ordination and episcopal consecration in traditional rites).

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Thank you for this information. In relation to the group of Daniel Dolan, can you say how they hope or expect the situation to be resolved? Is it simply a matter of electing a 'better' Pope, or are there other necessary steps (eg, must the electing cardinals also do something to demonstrate their orthodoxy)? –  James T Oct 4 '13 at 13:32
    
I'm more familiar with Bishop Sanborn's position, which is essentially that the administrative structure of the Catholic Church continues, despite heresy, so that the modernist popes have valid elections (and the cardinals valid appointments) but are impeded from having the authority of the papacy by their lack of the Catholic faith. So the crisis would be ended if one of these popes were to abjure heresy and profess the Catholic faith (and, I suppose, receive ordination and episcopal consecration in traditional rites). I'm not sure to what extent Bishop Dolan agrees with this. –  Andreas Blass Oct 4 '13 at 16:06
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Thanks, this is very helpful. If you were to edit this into the body of your answer, I would accept it as an answer to my original question above about the resolution to the crisis, as this gives a broader perspective on the different groups than the alternative answer by apocalypse_info_click_here. –  James T Oct 4 '13 at 16:59
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If you elect your own Pope you are called a Conclavist. Most sedevacantists think that the "endgame" is Judgment Day.

So why would anyone believe this?

  1. The real 3rd Secret of Fatima is about the apostasy of the heirarchy, additionally, Sister Lucia said it the end times were upon us.
  2. Full version of the Prayer to St. Michael composed by Pope St. Leo the Great indicates apostasy in Rome with the words:

    In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

  3. It is the message of Our Lady of LaSalette

  4. A counterfeit church is set up in the Book of Revelation (Whore of Babylon is the spiritual counterfeit of the Bride of Christ)
  5. You've already mentioned the Prophecy of the Popes of St Malachi which ends with "dreadful judge will judge his people. The End"
  6. Revelation 12:1 is talking about the The Miracle of the Sun in Fatima (which means in 1917 already we were pretty far into the Book of Revelation)

There's quite a bit more interesting points that would be lost of the general reader like, the connection between the Maccabees, and the parallels between the first Antipope John XXIII and the modern one, the curse in Quo Primum on deviations of the Tridentine Mass, the parallel between the changes in the New Mass and Cranmer's changes, the significance of Apostolicae Curae in relation to the changes to the new rite of Ordination, the relationship of the 7 kings in Revelation and the new lines of kings created by the Lateran Treaty on February 11, 1929.

Or are they content to remain as an elite minority while everybody else is condemned?

This is an uninformed question, since sedevacantists are active in proselytization of their views, meanwhile Antipope Francis refers to proselytization as "Solemn Nonsense" and just asserts that everyone should follow their own conscience, and the "church" should stop obsessing over abortion, gays, and contraception.

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Thank you for your answer. Am I correct in interpreting that you do believe the current situation is a sign of the "end times"? Do you anticipate that there will one day be a future Pope in Rome who is acceptable to you? –  James T Oct 3 '13 at 14:43
    
OK, that is a very clear and helpful addition! –  James T Oct 3 '13 at 14:57
    
How does Our Lady of Lasellete tie in to thi s view...I know the vatican approved this apparition but not sure what is said about 'Rome will los the faith and become the seat of the AntiChrist" –  Charles Alsobrook Oct 3 '13 at 16:11
    
@CharlesAlsobrook The quote "Rome will lose the faith" is directly from the vision, so of course I think it is good evidence for The Great Apostasy. Some books on LaSalette are available on books.google.com if you want to read them for yourself and draw your own conclusions. –  apocalypse_info_click_here Oct 3 '13 at 16:31
    
Are there any sources other than the Most Holy Family Monastery? –  Andrew Leach Oct 3 '13 at 16:36
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Fr. Cekada, a sedevacantist, outlines in this paper he wrote three theories in Appendix 5 of "Where Would We Get a True Pope?" (pp. 14-5):

If the post-Vatican II popes are not true popes, how might the Church one day get a true pope again?

Here are some theories:

  1. Direct Divine Intervention. This scenario is found in the writings of some approved mystics. [cf. this]

  2. The Material/Formal Thesis. This holds that should a post-Vatican II pope publicly renounce the heresies of the post-Conciliar Church, he would automatically become a true pope.

  3. An Imperfect General Council. The theologian Cajetan (1469–1534) and others teach that, should the College of Cardinals become extinct, the right to elect a pope would devolve to the clergy of Rome, and then to the universal Church. (de Comparatione 13, 742, 745)

Each of these seems to present some difficulties. But this should not be surprising, because the precise solution to an unusual problem in the Church cannot always be predicted beforehand. This can be seen from the following comment in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia: “No canonical provisions exist regulating the authority of the College of Cardinals sede Romanâ impeditâ, i.e. in case the pope became insane, or personally a heretic; in such cases it would be necessary to consult the dictates of right reason and the teachings of history.” (“Cardinal,” CE 3:339)

Moreover, an inability at present to determine exactly how another true pope would be chosen in the future does not somehow make Paul VI and his successors into true popes by default.

Nor does it change what we already know: that the post-Conciliar popes promulgated errors, heresies and evil laws; that a heretic cannot be a true pope; and that promulgating evil laws is incompatible with possessing authority from Jesus Christ.

To insist despite this that the post-Conciliar popes must be true popes creates an insoluble problem for the indefectibility of the Church — Christ’s representatives teach error and give evil. Whereas a long vacancy of the Holy See, as noted in Appendix 4, is not contrary to the indefectibility or the nature of the Church.

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