Does Vatican I disprove Sedevacantism?

The “Perpetual Successors” Objection

After the objection that “you guys are just a bunch of Protestants!!”, probably the most frequently-made argument against Sedevacantism is that our position contradicts the teaching of the First Vatican Council that St. Peter will have “perpetual successors”. If there hasn’t been a true Pope in decades, how then can we maintain that there is a perpetual succession of Popes?

We have addressed this argument on this site before, but a dedicated post on the issue is in order.

Our response will be twofold. We will demonstrate that (1) the objection from perpetual successors is actually based on a misunderstanding of the teaching of Vatican I; (2) even if the objection were not based on a misunderstanding, it would still not refute the sedevacantist position.

Vatican I’s Teaching on “Perpetual Successors”

Contrary to the common misconception, the First Vatican Council, which convened from 1869-1870 and was approved by Pope Pius IX, did not teach that there would be a Pope at all times. It did indeed use the phrase “perpetual successors”, but what precisely it taught regarding this is best understood when we examine closely the precise wording of the dogma and understand the context in which it is written. To ensure we understand Vatican I correctly, we will look at the council’s entire First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, from the very beginning up until the point where the council teaches its doctrine regarding perpetual succession. This quote is a bit lengthy but we want to make sure that no one can say, “You’ve taken this out of context.”

Here, then, is the whole context:

“The eternal Pastor and Bishop of our souls” [1 Pet. 2:25], in order to render the saving work of redemption perennial, willed to build a holy Church, in which, as in the house of the living God, all the faithful might be contained by the bond of one faith and charity. Therefore, before His glory was made manifest, “He asked the Father, not only for the Apostles but also for those who would believe through their word in Him, that all might be one, just as the Son Himself and the Father are one” [John 17:20f.]. Thus, then, as He sent the apostles, whom He had selected from the world for Himself, as He himself had been sent by the Father [John 20:21], so in His Church He wished the pastors and the doctors to be “even to the consummation of the world” [Matt. 28:20]. But, that the episcopacy itself might be one and undivided, and that the entire multitude of the faithful through priests closely connected with one another might be preserved in the unity of faith and communion, placing the blessed Peter over the other apostles He established in him the perpetual principle and visible foundation of both unities, upon whose strength the eternal temple might be erected, and the sublimity of the Church to be raised to heaven might rise in the firmness of this faith. And, since the gates of hell, to overthrow the Church, if this were possible, arise from all sides with ever greater hatred against its divinely established foundation, We judge it to be necessary for the protection, safety, and increase of the Catholic flock, with the approbation of the Council, to set forth the doctrine on the institution, perpetuity, and nature of the Sacred Apostolic Primacy, in which the strength and solidarity of the whole Church consist, to be believed and held by all the faithful, according to the ancient and continual faith of the universal Church, and to proscribe and condemn the contrary errors, so pernicious to the Lord’s flock.

Chap. 1. The Institution of Apostolic Primacy in Blessed Peter

So we teach and declare that according to the testimonies of the Gospel the primacy of jurisdiction over the entire Church of God was promised and was conferred immediately and directly upon the blessed Apostle Peter by Christ the Lord. For the one Simon, to whom He had before said: “Thou shalt be called Cephas” [John 1:42], after he had given forth his confession with those words: “Thou art Christ, Son of the living God” [Matt. 16:16], the Lord spoke with these solemn words: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar Jona; because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it: and I shall give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven” [Matt. 16:17 ff.]. And upon Simon Peter alone Jesus after His resurrection conferred the jurisdiction of the highest pastor and rector over his entire fold, saying: “Feed my lambs,” “Feed my sheep” [John 21:15 ff.]. To this teaching of Sacred Scripture, so manifest as it has been always understood by the Catholic Church, are opposed openly the vicious opinions of those who perversely deny that the form of government in His Church was established by Christ the Lord; that to Peter alone, before the other apostles, whether individually or all together, was confided the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction by Christ; or, of those who affirm that the same primacy was not immediately and directly bestowed upon the blessed Peter himself, but upon the Church, and through this Church upon him as the minister of the Church herself.

If anyone then says that the blessed Apostle Peter was not established by the Lord Christ as the chief of all the apostles, and the visible head of the whole militant Church, or, that the same received great honor but did not receive from the same our Lord Jesus Christ directly and immediately the primacy in true and proper jurisdiction: let him be anathema.

Chap. 2. The Perpetuity of the Primacy of Blessed Peter among the Roman Pontiffs

Moreover, what the Chief of pastors and the Great Pastor of sheep, the Lord Jesus, established in the blessed Apostle Peter for the perpetual salvation and perennial good of the Church, this by the same Author must endure always in the Church which was founded upon a rock and will endure firm until the end of the ages. Surely “no one has doubt, rather all ages have known that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the apostles and pillar of faith and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race; and he up to this time and always lives and presides and exercises judgment in his successors, the bishops of the holy See of Rome, which was founded by him and consecrated by his blood. Therefore, whoever succeeds Peter in this chair, he according to the institution of Christ himself, holds the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. “Therefore the disposition of truth remains, and blessed Peter persevering in the accepted fortitude of the rock does not abandon the guidance of the Church which he has received.” For this reason “it has always been necessary because of mightier pre-eminence for every church to come to the Church of Rome, that is those who are the faithful everywhere,” so that in this See, from which the laws of “venerable communion” emanate over all, they as members associated in one head, coalesce into one bodily structure.

If anyone then says that it is not from the institution of Christ the Lord Himself, or by divine right that the blessed Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church, or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in the same primacy, let him be anathema.

(Vatican I, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus; Denz. 1821-1825; underlining added.)

Those who would like to read the rest of the constitution may do so here; but the remainder, which explains the nature of the primacy and the infallibility of the papal magisterium, is not relevant to the issue of perpetual succession. (Note: This document is called the “First” Constitution on the Church of Christ because there was going to be a second constitution as well. Unfortunately, the council had to adjourn abruptly in 1870 and never reconvened, so the second constitution never came to be.)

In the above-quoted portion of Vatican I, then, the council is setting forth its teaching regarding the “institution, perpetuity, and nature of the Sacred Apostolic Primacy”. Chapter 1 spells out how Christ instituted this primacy by conferring it on St. Peter, and Chapter 2 explains that this primacy originally conferred on St. Peter perdures equally in all of his lawful successors, until the end of time. In other words, the Petrine primacy did not die with St. Peter, as some heretics claim. Rather, all true Popes, until the end of time (“perpetually”!), enjoy the exact same primacy over the entire Church that was originally given to St. Peter.

That is the teaching of Vatican I. That is what is meant by “perpetual successors”. The council taught that St. Peter would have “perpetual successors in the primacy over the universal Church” (perpetuos successores in primatu super universam Ecclesiam). This has absolutely nothing to do with the idea that there will always be a Pope at every point in time — something that is obviously refuted not only by common sense (since each Pope is mortal, there will always be an interregnum between the death of one Pope and the election of another) but also by a perusal of Church history.

We can verify that we have understood the teaching of Vatican I correctly by examining the theological manuals on the topic that were produced after the council. For example, we find this verified in Fr. Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 282; in Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey’s Manual of Dogmatic Theology, vol. 1, n. 210; in Fr. Joachim Salaverri’s On the Church of Christ, nn. 294ff.; and in Mgr. Gerard van Noort’s Dogmatic Theology, vol. 2, nn. 59ff.

Even if it were true that there must always be a Pope…

For the sake of argument, however, let us assume that the foregoing is not correct and that Vatican I indeed teaches that there will always be a Pope, at every point in Christian history.

All this would mean is that there is right now, at this very moment, a legitimate successor to St. Peter. By no means would it follow that that successor is Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) in Vatican City. In fact, this can be positively excluded as a possibility because we already know that he and his five predecessors of infelicitous memory cannot be valid successors, and the evidence proving that cannot be refuted by pointing to the perpetual successors dogma, because this dogma doesn’t identify those very men as the true successors. In other words, that Roncalli, Montini, Luciani, Wojtyla, Ratzinger, or Bergoglio should be legitimate successors to St. Peter is obviously not part of the dogma.

The most that such a “there will be a Pope at all times” doctrine could do is force us to conclude that someone is currently Pope, but it is certainly someone other than Francis or any of the Vatican II Modernists. Perhaps there could be a true Pope imprisoned or hiding in a catacomb. Such a thing might appear fanciful to some, and perhaps it is, but it certainly would not be incompatible with the notion that there is a true Pope at the current time.

The conclusion we can draw from all this is: No matter how you look at it, the “perpetual successors” argument against Sedevacantism is defeated.

The Perpetuity of the Church and Papal Interregna

Now, certainly, we are required by our holy Catholic Faith to believe that the Church will endure until the end of time (see Salaverri, On the Church of Christ, nn. 288, 294ff.). She was founded by God as a perpetual institution for the salvation of men. But just as she cannot cease to exist, neither can she fail. This latter consideration alone disqualifies the Novus Ordo Sect from being the Catholic Church because it does not teach the true Faith, and, especially on account of its invalid pseudo-sacraments, it does not sanctify souls. It is simply not the ark of salvation.

Sedevacantists do not hold that the Catholic Church has ceased to exist or even that the papal succession has ended. Rather, the succession of Popes has been interrupted, even if for an unusually long time. It will continue whenever the God whose Providence governs all things, wills it to.

How will the papal succession resume? We do not know for sure; but this is what distinguishes genuine Catholic Faith from the pseudo-faith of heretics: The Catholic has genuine divine Faith in God and His promises and therefore is not in need of having all the answers: “Faith … must exclude not only all doubt, but all desire for demonstration” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part I, Article I; italics added).

Perhaps the most cogent explanation for exactly how the papal succession can easily resume, is found in the theological position first developed by the sedevacantist bishop Michel-Louis Guérard des Lauriers (1898-1988), a Dominican theologian who taught at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. Readers who are interested in exploring the Guerardian thesis, commonly known as the “material-formal theory” or “sedeprivationism”, may do so by reading this article.

We shall not try now to examine or evaluate this position. Rather, we would simply like to point out that the current state of holy Mother Church is dire, but it is simply not the case that there are no answers whatsoever to resolve it, as the material-formal thesis demonstrates. Bp. Guerard des Lauriers, incidentally, was the main author of the famous Ottaviani Intervention sent to Paul VI in 1969 to expose the errors in the Novus Ordo Missae (“New Mass”).

People who are quick to argue that “God would never allow such a lengthy interregnum!” should realize that what we know God will never allow is for the Papacy to fail. That is what can never happen. But the Papacy does not fail by there not being a Pope for a time; it would fail by someone like Francis being Pope, as we demonstrate in this article and in this video. We have to remember that no Pope does not mean no Papacy. The only way one can affirm as true Vatican I’s teaching about the Papacy is to hold that Jorge Bergoglio is not the Pope.

In 1892 — 22 years after the First Vatican Council’s dogma regarding perpetual successors — the Jesuit Fr. Edmund James O’Reilly published a book entitled The Relations of the Church to Society (download free here or purchase here). In this work, he touched upon the question of an extended interregnum and how it would relate to the perpetuity of the Church and the promises of Christ:

The great schism of the West [1378-1417] suggests to me a reflection which I take the liberty of expressing here. If this schism had not occurred, the hypothesis of such a thing happening would appear to many chimerical. They would say it could not be; God would not permit the Church to come into so unhappy a situation. Heresies might spring up and spread and last painfully long, through the fault and to the perdition of their authors and abettors, to the great distress too of the faithful, increased by actual persecution in many places where the heretics were dominant. But that the true Church should remain between thirty and forty years without a thoroughly ascertained Head, and representative of Christ on earth, this would not be. Yet it has been; and we have no guarantee that it will not be again, though we may fervently hope otherwise. What I would infer is, that we must not be too ready to pronounce on what God may permit. We know with absolute certainty that He will fulfil His promises; not allow anything to occur at variance with them; that He will sustain His Church and enable her to triumph over all enemies and difficulties; that He will give to each of the faithful those graces which are needed for each one’s service of Him and attainment of salvation, as He did during the great schism we have been considering, and in all the sufferings and trials which the Church has passed through from the beginning. We may also trust He will do a great deal more than what He has bound Himself to by His promises. We may look forward with a cheering probability to exemption for the future from some of the troubles and misfortunes that have befallen in the past. But we, or our successors in future generations of Christians, shall perhaps see stranger evils than have yet been experienced, even before the immediate approach of that great winding up of all things on earth that will precede the day of judgment. I am not setting up for a prophet, nor pretending to see unhappy wonders, of which I have no knowledge whatever. All I mean to convey is that contingencies regarding the Church, not excluded by the Divine promises, cannot be regarded as practically impossible, just because they would be terrible and distressing in a very high degree.

(Rev. Edmund J. O’Reilly, The Relations of the Church to Society [London: John Hodges, 1892], pp. 287-288; underlining added.)

Nothing more needs to be added to this — Fr. O’Reilly has hit the nail on the head. In fact, a few pages earlier, he specifically states that even if during the Western Schism none of the three papal claimants had been the true Pope and the Chair of St. Peter had been vacant all that time, this too would not have been contrary to the promises of Christ:

We may here stop to inquire what is to be said of the position, at that time, of the three claimants, and their rights with regard to the Papacy. In the first place, there was all through, from the death of Gregory XI in 1378, a Pope — with the exception, of course, of the intervals between deaths and elections to fill up the vacancies thereby created. There was, I say, at every given time a Pope, really invested with the dignity of Vicar of Christ and Head of the Church, whatever opinions might exist among many as to his genuineness; 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, but that, as a matter of fact, there was not such an interregnum.

(O’Reilly, The Relations of the Church to Society, p. 283; underlining added.)

Thus we see that the frightful situation Holy Mother Church is in today, while certainly distressing and extraordinary, is simply not impossible and not contrary to the teaching of the First Vatican Council.

We must beg God day and night to bring this horrific ordeal to a speedy end. Let us recall that He permits all trials — including this mysterious, bizarre, and confusing ecclesial anomaly — for the sake of His elect (cf. Mt 24:24). Although it is not given to us to understand the counsels of Divine Providence, we have absolute certitude from our Faith that God is all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing; He is entirely in control.

The Church must suffer the Passion of her Founder

The key to understanding what has happened to the Catholic Church since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958 lies in understanding that as the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church must suffer in a mystical way the Passion of her Founder. In a set of lectures delivered in 1861, the illustrious Cardinal Henry Edward Manning left to the world some invaluable instruction in this regard:

As the wicked did not prevail against Him [our Lord Jesus Christ] even when they bound Him with cords, dragged Him to the judgment, blindfolded His eyes, mocked Him as a false King, smote Him on the head as a false Prophet, led Him away, crucified Him, and in the mastery of their power seemed to have absolute dominion over Him, so that He lay ground down and almost annihilated under their feet; and as, at that very time when He was dead and buried out of their sight, He was conqueror over all, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, and was crowned, glorified, and invested with His royalty, and reigns supreme, King of kings and Lord of lords,— even so shall it be with His Church: though for a time persecuted, and, to the eyes of man, overthrown and trampled on, dethroned, despoiled, mocked, and crushed, yet in that high time of triumph the gates of hell shall not prevail. There is in store for the Church of God a resurrection and an ascension, a royalty and a dominion, a recompense of glory for all it has endured. Like Jesus, it needs must suffer on the way to its crown; yet crowned it shall be with Him eternally. Let no one, then, be scandalised if the prophecy speak of sufferings to come. We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth,— that the Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and the world to be converted, and all enemies subdued, and I know not what,— until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial: and so we do as the Jews of old, who looked for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messias came in humility and in passion, they did not know Him. So, I am afraid, many among us intoxicate their minds with the visions of success and victory, and cannot endure the thought that there is a time of persecution yet to come for the Church of God….

The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of [the] prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are the Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church— all of them unanimously,— say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease. In the work on the end of the world, ascribed to St. Hippolytus, after a long description of the afflictions of the last days, we read as follows: “The Churches shall lament with a great lamentation, for there shall be offered no more oblation, nor incense, nor worship acceptable to God. The sacred buildings of the churches shall be as hovels; and the precious body and blood of Christ shall not be manifest in those days; the Liturgy shall be extinct; the chanting of psalms shall cease; the reading of Holy Scripture shall be heard no more. But there shall be upon men darkness, and mourning upon mourning, and woe upon woe.” Then, the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible, hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking-places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were, from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early centuries….

The Word of God tells us that towards the end of time the power of this world will became so irresistible and so triumphant that the Church of God will sink underneath its hand — that the Church of God will receive no more help from emperors, or kings, or princes, or legislatures, or nations, or peoples, to make resistance against the power and the might of its antagonist. It will be deprived of protection. It will be weakened, baffled, and prostrate, and will lie bleeding at the feet of the powers of this world.

Does this not describe our times with frightening accuracy?

Keep in mind that this is not simply “Cardinal Manning’s opinion”, as many will surely now be quick to object. No, this “is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early centuries”, as His Eminence makes clear.

The following links provide more information about how our current times relate to what Catholic Tradition has held from the beginning must come to pass before the consummation of the world:

Some practical advice on how to be a Catholic today, is given in the following post:

Concluding Thoughts

In summary, we can say that the Catholic dogma on St. Peter’s perpetual successors in the primacy does not preclude an extended period of time in which there is no Pope. Rather, what it teaches is that whenever there is a Pope, he will share equally in the primacy once conferred upon St. Peter. There will never be a true Pope who does not possess the same prerogatives as Simon Peter himself, and this is so by divine institution and will remain so in perpetuity.

All those who espouse a recognize-and-resist position and think that the doctrine of Vatican I requires us to accept Francis as a valid Pope, are encouraged to read closely and in full the council’s Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, linked above, and to ask themselves if they can seriously affirm of Jorge Bergoglio what the council affirms of all the successors of St. Peter — perpetually.

Almighty God appears to be allowing this great calamity as a test of our Faith to purify His elect: “…blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed” (Jn 20:29; cf. Mt 24:24). God has a strict right to demand from us a sincere Faith, that Faith without which it is impossible to please Him (cf. Heb 11:6). But such a genuine Faith does not require explanations or demonstrations because it believes entirely on the authority of God revealing, who can neither deceive nor be deceived: “For we walk by faith, and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).

It is men’s failure to believe, their indifference even to what God has revealed, that has brought this great tribulation upon us all: “…because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity” (2 Thess 2:10-11; cf. Lk 18:8). Hence our Blessed Lord exhorts us, today no less than in 33 AD: “…be not faithless, but believing” (Jn 20:27).

We must therefore guard our Faith at all times and not needlessly expose it to danger. One of the greatest dangers to Faith found in the world today is the Novus Ordo Sect and its apostate head, “Pope” Francis. It exemplifies the very “operation of error” mentioned by St. Paul and is responsible for the loss of Faith in countless numbers of souls.

It is of the greatest importance to realize that Francis occasions the loss of faith in all who accept him as a true Pope: those who submit to him — by denying the dogmas he denies; as well as those who don’t submit to him — by denying the Catholic teaching on the Papacy.

The true Faith is our greatest treasure.

Let us pray, then, for an unshakable Faith and not fail to unite it to hope (cf. 1 Jn 3:3) and charity (cf. Lk 7:47; Jas 2:24) so that we may, by the grace of God, one day hear the words: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt 25:34).

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115 Responses to “The “Perpetual Successors” Objection”

  1. Siobhan

    It’s like *an uninterrupted succession, but be aware that some “successors” will preach a ton of BS* AKA-the thinking & perveying of such >>done by the R & R and Remnant-esque among us.

  2. I am not Spartacus

    recognize-and-resist position

    Name one singe thing any of the Popes you resist as illegitmate has commanded or ordered me to do that is in opposition to my faithful understanding of the Faith once delivered.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      Sure. Catholic doctrine requires you to ASSENT to all papal teaching. How about it? Do you assent to Ut Unum Sint? Laudato Si’? Pacem in Terris? etc.

      Also, let me know how you’ve been doing on this:

      “True ecumenical activity means openness, drawing closer, availability for dialogue, and a shared investigation of the truth in the full evangelical and Christian sense; but in no way does it or can it mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the Church has constantly confessed and taught. To all who, for whatever motive, would wish to dissuade the Church from seeking the universal unity of Christians the question must once again be put: Have we the right not to do it?…. hat we have just said must also be applied-although in another way and with the due differences-to activity for coming closer together with the representatives of the non-Christian religions, an activity expressed through dialogue, contacts, prayer in common, investigation of the treasures of human spirituality, in which, as we know well, the members of these religions also are not lacking.”
      (John Paul II, Encyclical Redemptor Hominis, n. 6)

      At this point, Francis gives almost daily marching orders to his sheeple about what a Christian must (not) do. I hope we don’t have to go through all that.

      • I am not Spartacus

        Yeah, I do assent to each and all of them insofar as I understand them but I am not commanded to actualise them in my life as a faithful Roman Catholic.

        Now, I could come back at you and ask if you assent to all that has been previously promulgated in each and every Papal Encyclical and just me asking you that questions is to get my answer – and we both know it.

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          OK, then you are a member of the Novus Ordo religion.
          Now here is the rub: If you assent to all of the post-Vatican II stuff, then you cannot also assent to the pre-Vatican II doctrine. Case in point: liberty of conscience. Condemned by Pope Pius IX, taught by John XXIII. Which teaching do you accept and which do you reject?

          • I am not Spartacus

            You just labeled IANS a member of the Novus Ordo religion.


            Appealing for Peace

            Encyclical of Pope Benedict XV promulgated on November 1, 1914.

            23. As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline-in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See- there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

            24. It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as “profane novelties of words,” out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: “This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved” (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim “Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,” only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.

            IANS is a Christian Catholic. Who are you?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            I simply identified your religion. “Novus Ordo religion” is not a modifier to the label “Catholic”. It identifies the religion that began with John XXIII and is currently headed by Francis.

            I realize you mean to be a Catholic and think you are one, but I am saying you are mistaken. So, your quote of Pope Benedict XV — which we have used a number of times on our site in various blog posts — is not relevant to what I said.

          • I am not Spartacus

            Well now, you are just being silly.

            There has only ever been one religion and yet you just label those you disagree with as being part of some made-up religion.

            On this blog y’all have frequently cited Sylvester Berry’s “The Church of Christ” but you have not been forthright in what he teaches in that text.

            Just for one instance, in Chapter Two he treats of “The attributes of the church” and what he teaches there renders nugatory all of your wild claims.

            Page 36, Art II “Visibility of the Church” Y’all can look it up, IANS is not going to reproduce it here…

            The plain and simple truth is the One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church exists visibly and 99% of sentient beings identify that visible Church as The Roman Catholic Church but y’all pretend (like the protestants) the Church is not visible anymore – it has no Pope you claim- and what 99% of all sentient beings identify as reality you claim is not reality.

            Ask any sentient being in Rome where a Catholic Church is and he will point you to a nearby Catholic Church while y’all mutter “that aint a Catholic Church, it is a Novus Ordo something or other…”

            You evince no argument y’all have been chosen by Jesus to save His Church but you do evince behavior that distinguishes you little from protestants or old catholics or any other run of the mill schismatic who claims “We are the true Church.”

            So, the vast vast, nearly total number of Catholics on earth are in error about what is the Roman Catholic Church but y’all (conveniently enough mostly American it seems) are the chosen few who see reality.

            And the fact you are not in the least bit embarrassed to make these claims illustrates how Pride has led to your fall.

            You do know that as a schismatic you are outside the perfect society and, thus, not capable of attaining Salvation – but, IANS is sure y’all have that covered too 🙂

          • corvinus ✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ

            “There has only ever been one religion and yet you just label those you disagree with as being part of some made-up religion.”

            I realize you’re one of those who believe that religion is subjective and if the majority of a religion’s adherents decide to change the religion, it’s the same religion… but that’s not how reality operates.

            You might want to read up on the Great Apostasy.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            In other words, you’re basically making all the usual claims. You are welcome to click on the menu bar at the top: select “The Issues” and then “Sedevacantism” and find the answers there. I am certainly not going to debate all these points with you now. They’ve all been argued before.

          • I am not Spartacus

            O, and I knew that you’d ignore the many parts of Berry’s “The Church of Christ” you do know personally agree with when all IANS did was make a single reference to it.

          • I am not Spartacus

            Joe Heschmeyer says:

            June 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm


            It’s true that Cardinals aren’t the only way that pope could be elected. But they’re the way that popes are elected. The only person who could change that would be the pope (I’m sure you see the problem).

            On Facebook, someone suggested that it might devolve to the priests or faithful of Rome to select a man as their bishop, and get a couple bishops to agree to ordain/consecrate him. It’s a clever approach to the (hypothetical) problem, and but it’s not clear to me that this solution works, both because I’m not convinced that authority would automatically devolve in this way, and because this sounds impossible in practice.

            But if that doesn’t work, and I don’t think it ultimately does, what would the alternative be? A group of self proclaimed true believers hold a conclave (despite none of them having authority to do so), and declaring one of their own pope? This is what we’ve seen amongst so called “conclavists.” Does that sound remotely like the Catholic Church?


            Its been a long long time since the death of Pops Pius XII and so why don’t y’al just get on it with and name your own Pope?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            False. Ecclesiastical law concerning the election of the Pope ceases automatically when its fulfillment becomes impossible.

            The reason we don’t simply go ahead and “elect a Pope” is, quite frankly, that it is practically impossible. I won’t list all the reason explaining why. That’s the long and the short of it. However, I see in this not a reason for despair, as some people devoid of faith might do, but rather as a reason to acknowledge that only God Himself can and will resolve the situation, lest any man should boast that his own efforts should have “saved the Church”.

          • poapratensis

            Is this not a tacit admission of the extinction of the Papacy? A species goes extinct once it can no longer raise up a successor. That would seem to be in violation of Perpetual succesors teaching of Vatican I. I happen to think it is certainly possible to elect a valid pope, however impactical it seems. Don’t you?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            It must always be possible in theory, I agree. Practically though it is simply not possible, at least not at the current time. For one thing, you would have to establish with certitude who is a valid elector. You would also need to know who has the authority to call a conclave. Since the result of the conclave will need to bind consciences, it requires authority to call it. Etc.

            However, don’t be scandalized by this practical impossibility. If all papal claimants during the Western Schism hadn’t resigned, the situation might never have been resolved. But let’s not despair. It is no wonder that we have no clear solutions where the Church has not given us an answer.

          • Lee

            Yes many who identify themselves as Roman Catholic today really don’t believe in, submit to, and know what the Church teaches. Neither do they care to. It’s a fact. You’re calling NOW and others who think like him schismatic unable to attain salvation, and yet it’s your pope Francis who bows down and gets kissed by schismatics like Patriarch Bartholomew. Below is a link of a nice picture you can print out and put on your refrigerator

            IANS should be changed to IANC. Which for you would stand for I am not Catholic

          • I am not Spartacus

            You are a rank and file schismatic who accepts as the last legitimate Pope one who made outrageous centralising claims that has led to may of the problems you decry.

            It is well known the Pope Pius XII wrecked the Holy Week Rite of Scared Tradition and it was he who placed the putative mason, Bugnini, in place where he could, eventually, complete his entire wrecking program.

            But, he is your hero and so that is jake with NOW.

            Lex orandi, lex credendi (Latin loosely translated as “the law of praying [is] the law of believing”) is a motto in Christian tradition, which means that it is prayer which leads to belief, or that it is liturgy which leads to theology.

            MEDIATOR DEI

            Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Pius XII On the Sacred Liturgy November 20, 1947

            9…It is, consequently, Our prerogative to commend and approve whatever is done properly, and to check or censure any aberration from the path of truth and rectitude.

            There’s the very principle you deride – that the Pope, not Tradition has authority in the matter of sacred worship – and he’s the last legitimate Pope according to you.

            46 On this subject We judge it Our duty to rectify an attitude with which you are doubtless familiar, Venerable Brethren. We refer to the error and fallacious reasoning of those who have claimed that the sacred liturgy is a kind of proving ground for the truths to be held of faith, meaning by this that the Church is obliged to declare such a doctrine sound when it is found to have produced fruits of piety and sanctity through the sacred rites of the liturgy, and to reject it otherwise.Hence the epigram, “Lex orandi, lex credendi” — the law for prayer is the law for faith.

            47. But this is not what the Church teaches and enjoins. You last persona Pope has a bit of a problem with clay feet according to Tradition and your usual arguments.

            Better find another last real Pope…

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            Better read up a bit first on our position before criticizing a straw man. Of course the Pope can change the liturgy, he just cannot change it the way the Novus Ordo Sect has done. In Mediator Dei Pius XII specifically teaches that the Pope alone has the right to approve new rites.

            Pius XII isn’t our “hero”, he is the last legitimate Pope and had papal authority as much as any other true Pope. All of his teaching must be adhered to.

            If you think you’ve discovered the great “oh my gosh” argument against sedevacantism here, I have to burst your bubble.

          • I am not Spartacus

            you cannot also assent to the pre-Vatican II doctrine of Lex Orandi because your last real Pope declared it an error.

            So, which is it?

            Lex Orand, Led Credendi i or what Pope Pius XII taught?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            I am unable to check your quotes and research the matter now, but of course the teaching of Pope Pius XII is is authoritative and binding, regardless of what you or anyone else may think about it.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            Not surprisingly, even just a shallow review of what Pope Pius XII teaches in Mediator Dei shows that he is not at all condemning the epigram “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”, he is merely correcting certain errors regarding it.

      • I am not Spartacus

        You cite a putative burden on we wee Catholic to know about, read, and assent to Papal Encyclicals.

        IANS has a fairly good sized library at home and he has searched, Denzinger’s, Spirago-Clarke, The Roman Catechism, Ott, the Faith of the Fathers etc etc and he has not read one single entry – not one- claiming that we wee Catholics have any such duty.

        Is it or is it not the case the claim you are making (citing Pius XII) is, in fact, a novel one?

        Show us all where, prior to Pope Pius XII, such duties were to be placed upon we wee Catholics.

        O, and if they were duties, as you claim they are, why were most encyclicals not addressed to laymen?

        The plain and simple truth is you just make stuff up on the fly and you recognise Pope Pius XII as a legit Pope buy you resist what he teaches when it suits you.

        Hypocrisy much NOW

        • 2c3n1 .

          Who’s resisting the teachings of Pope Pius XII? The plain and simple truth is that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Here’s the quote that condemns the R&R position…

          “And, we cannot pass over in silence the boldness of those who “not enduring sound doctrine” [II Tim. 4:3], contend that “without sin and with no loss of Catholic profession, one can withhold assent and obedience to
          those judgments and decrees of the Apostolic See, whose object is declared to relate to the general good of the Church and its right and discipline, provided it does not touch dogmas of faith or morals.” There is no one who does not see and understand clearly and openly how opposed this is to the Catholic dogma of the plenary power divinely bestowed on the Roman Pontiff by Christ the Lord Himself of feeding, ruling, and governing the universal Church…Therefore, by our Apostolic
          authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines severally mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed and condemned.” (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura, Dec 8, 1864.)

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          Laymen don’t have the duty to read papal encyclicals, indeed. That’s because in ordinary Catholic life, Church doctrine comes to the laity by means of the pastor. The pastor receives it from the bishop, and the bishop from the Pope. In a nutshell.

          Pope Leo XIII sums it up: “To the shepherds alone was given all power to teach, to judge, to direct; on the faithful was imposed the duty of following their teaching, of submitting with docility to their judgment, and of allowing themselves to be governed, corrected, and guided by them in the way of salvation. Thus, it is an absolute necessity for the simple faithful to submit in mind and heart to their own pastors, and for the latter to submit with them to the Head and Supreme Pastor.” (Apostolic Letter “Epistola Tua”)

          It all comes down to the same thing: We all must adhere to the teaching of the Church. HOW it gets passed down to us, is of secondary importance.

          I do not resist a single thing of Pope Pius XII. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

          • poapratensis

            Wait, wait. Hold up! How it gets passed to us is of secondary importance? Look, for the first few centuries nothing was at all clear doctrinally. Today it is. The bishops and succesors of Peter declared what is and what is NOT teachings of the Church. I don’t know about you but I don’t regard the gospel of St. Thomas, which may be a fabrication. In the end it boils down to a question. Do you believe in the testimony of some folks in the first century that all this happened, or not? Otherwise we should be Jews, right? So, how this information (church teachings) was passed to us is very much of primary importance if you ask me. Any religion can make teachings and rules, and they do. Christians, however, have the testimony of real events that demostrate the credibility of its teachings. Nobody saw the Angel Maroni (besides Joe Smith) and nobody saw the Angel Gabriel hand Mohammed the Koran. People did see Jesus die on a cross, did see Moses come down from Mt. Sini, did see the stone rolled away and other miraculous events. For these reasons I believe.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            I think you’ve misunderstood what I meant, and that may very well have been my fault. What I meant is that regardless of whether we receive our teaching from the local pastor, it ultimately comes from the Pope. The true doctrine of Christ is what we receive from him, and that is what matters.

      • I am not Spartacus

        Hypocrisy much NWO?

        Ya’ll repudiate the teachings of a valid ecumenical council even though you are not permitted to do so according to the Infallible Teaching of an Ecumenical Council:

        Council of Constance

        In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity, Father and Son and holy Spirit. Amen. This holy synod of Constance, which is a general council, for the eradication of the present schism and for bringing unity and reform to God’s church in head and members, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit to the praise of almighty God, ordains, defines, decrees, discerns and declares as follows, in order that this union and reform of God’s church may be obtained the more easily, securely, fruitfully and freely.

        First it declares that, legitimately assembled in the holy Spirit, constituting a general council and representing the catholic church militant, it has power immediately from Christ; and that everyone of whatever state or dignity, even papal, is bound to obey it in those matters which pertain to the faith, the eradication of the said schism and the general reform of the said church of God in head and members.

        Next, it declares that anyone of whatever condition, state or dignity, even papal, who contumaciously refuses to obey the past or future mandates, statutes, ordinances or precepts of this sacred council or of any other legitimately assembled general council, regarding the aforesaid things or matters pertaining to them, shall be subjected to well-deserved penance, unless he repents, and shall be duly punished, even by having recourse, if necessary, to other supports of the law.


        You are quite transparent in your claims. You demand of others what you do not follow; that is, you are a typical liberal (of the conservative variety)

      • Prettylady!

        How about dominos Jesus by Benedict by way of jpii? Doesn’t that bind NO Catholics to believe that there is salvation outside the catholic Church?

    • Sonia

      The heresiarchs command obedience to their ‘magisterium’. Read the Novus Ordo oath under Wojtyla. The heresiarchs demand attendance of the Novus Ordo Mass, while at the same time teaching that conversion to ‘Catholicism’, is a matter of private judgement/conscience. The Novus Ordo heresiarchs demand you accept that Judaism and Islam worship the Holy Trinity without knowing they do even though these same falsehoods detest the Truth of the Holy Trinity. And on and on. If you don’t accept and assent, you are a recusant…a ‘fundamentalist terrorist’, to paraphrase Bergoglio.

      • I am not Spartacus

        Your claim the Church teaches Jews and Muslims worship the one true God is true but the Church does not claim the jews and muslims worship the trinity as you claim.

        • Sonia

          It follows that if they worship the ‘same’ God, they must worship the Holy Trinity, which is the blatant absurd lie of it all. They belong to the father of lies – the Catholic Church and the Holy See belong to Truth.

  3. poapratensis

    I am glad that the editor has put more consideration to this topic, but I do not think it is nearly as compelling as he thinks it is. It is very clear, when reading the Vatican I constitution, that the papacy was instituted to be a perpetual safeguard of doctrine.

    Yes of course there are interregna, and of course there have been papal imposters and antipopes, but we are not facing just those problems now after nearly 60 years without a pope! We are now facing the possible EXTINCTION of the Papacy and likely extinction of the hirearchy. If, as I do and I think many Sedevacantist do, one holds that the new rite of Episcopal consecration is possibly invalid, or likely invalid, then in the coming decades there will be no more bishops, no more priests, and no more jurisdiction, even if in theory a layman could be appointed pope. Such an idea as extinction of the Papacy or Hirearchy clearly flies in the face of Vatican I and of course the church’s perennial teaching. Perpetual things do not go extinct!

    Yet, it is exactly what we are heading into, and this article just dances around the matter. I suppose one would be forced to argue that the hirearchy (the “true Church”) lives on among the handful Sedevacantist bishops, but I think this claim is troublesome for a number of reasons. In short to claim this would make a mockery of the plain intent of the Vatican I constitution. If the Papacy was instituted to guard and foster the faith, then how could it be that the only true hirearcy left consists entirely of bishops who maintain there is no pope?

    For the record I do not find DeLauriers hypothesis convincing, and it leads to absurd conclusions I think, like one enjoying formal but not material authority. If you can’t exercise authority, you don’t have authority. It is this sort of conclusion that I believe Lefbebvre could not accept, and it is why he never went all in with sedevacantism, though he certainly tolerated it and even openly speculated about it, and, of course, defied as if he were one.

    I’m conclusion, I appreciate the discussion of the matter, but I would really like a compelling explanation regarding the inevitable extinction of the church that follows very prolonged sedevacante status and imposition of doubtful rites.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      Certainly, the post is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of the question of what has happened to the hierarchy, how visibility is impacted, and so forth. The post was meant as an overall refutation of the claim that the sedevacantist position is rendered false (indeed, heretical) by Vatican I.

      I won’t argue the issue because I have never investigated the material-formal thesis in depth, but your comments indicate to me that you are not sufficiently familiar with it. If you are on Twitter, I know you can bring your objections to the thesis to Fr. Nicolas Desposito (@FrDesposito), who teaches at Bp. Sanborn’s seminary, where the thesis is taught.

      The God who created the world, parted the Red Sea, raised His Son from the dead, and can make stones into the sons of Abraham, can also give us a true Pope once more. I don’t need to know how He will do it. Granted, I would prefer to know, LOL, but Faith does not depend on demonstration.

      If you are looking for an alternate theory to the material-formal thesis, Griff Ruby has just come out with a book-length explanation of a proposed solution. I have not read the book, and I am not endorsing it, nor am I condemning it. I am just saying it’s available (a second volume was just published, although vol. 1 is the one that most pertains to this issue in particular):

      “Sede Vacante” by Griff Ruby
      Volume 1:
      Volume 2:

      • poapratensis

        I’m aware of Sanborn’s attempts to explain DeLaurier’s hypothesis. I’ve read them many times. If you think I must be misunderstanding them, then I think it has more to do with the hypothesis not being very compelling more than anything else. Only Sanborn, it seems, definitely holds the hypothesis now, and perhaps some or most of those that have gone through his seminary. You seem non-comittaly positive about it.

        I suppose you are aware that DeLauriers proposed that hypothesis to directly answer what he felt was the intractable dilemma faced by there “perpetual successors” problem faced by a Sedevacantist thinker to whom the extinction of the Papacy was possible if not probable.

        I differ in that I feel it may not be an intractable problem (like you), but it nevertheless disturbs me sufficiently that I have enough doubt about the sedevacantist hypothesis that I think it cannot become some sort of superdogma that outside of holding your are not a member of the Catholic church.

        • I am not Spartacus

          You have to give NOW a bit of a break, He is an authority who accepts that Sanborn is a Bishop even though he is precisely the sort of cleric warned about and condemned by The Council of Trent – Vagus Bishop – but that doesn’t count because..remnant,?

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            Without refuting nor conceding your objection now, ultimately the matter is irrelevant because the question is not whether Bishop Sanborn has authority to teach but whether what he teaches is correct, or at least permissible for a Catholic to adhere to.

          • poapratensis

            Really! It matters not who says it but wether it is true or not. IANS doesn’t seem to get that. It is clear enough that certainly all the sede bishops are operating afowl of church law and without jurisdiction, but what of it in a situation where there has not been a pope in 60 years and there is virtually no true hirearchy? A false pope would have only false jurisdiction anyway, unless one wants to argue that jurisdiction is supplied by common error, but the again common error supposes that those making the error are in fact Catholics. That itself is a worthwhile question.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            All these questions are worthwhile discussing, no doubt. But none of them, ultimately, can somehow vindicate the Novus Ordo Sect as the true Catholic Church, and that is what I’ve been trying to get across.

          • poapratensis

            I understand your point, however, I think it quite queer how strongly you propound your version of dogmatic sedevacantism yet seem to be casually uninterested in the obvious problems it produces. Now, I think some sort of sede solution is most likely to be true, but that doesn’t make me blind to the very clear fact that the papacy/hierarchy of the church is perpetual. OUR Lord said as much. Yet maintaining that all members of the so called novus ordo sect (and this would seem to include all non sede trads) means that more or less the only remaining hirearchy consists of some bishops who may have valid orders and certainly do not have jurisdiction. That would seem impossible to me, and that is why I think one may be a true Catholic yet still traffic in the mainstream mileu. I certainly hope there are bishops who have been secretly ordained in the old rite, who also posess ordinary jurisdiction. The problem is ultimately the pope, as it was Peter who received the comission and therefore all jurisdiction ultimately. These are very compicated matters and well beyond my knowledge, however. But like you say, we can accept mystery (or our imperfect knowlege and intellect), but we cannot accept what cannot be true. Jesus cannot lie, and it seems to me He promised a perpetual church if not papacy (until the end of time at least), and perpetual things cannot go extinct.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            I agree with you. The Church is perpetual and that includes the hierarchy of course. I’ve said as much in the post.

            It is not that I am uninterested in the unresolved questions of sedevacantism, it’s just that these are not the focus of this web site.

            God bless.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            The truth of Sedevacantism is not based on, and has no essential connection with, whether or not Bp. Sanborn has a mission or not. BTW, Sir, could you please tell me what religion you are? Are you Novus Ordo? SSPX? Indult? Eastern Orthodox?

      • I am not Spartacus

        It is Catholic Tradition that one can not teach unless he has been sent.

        Who sent “Bishop” Sanborn and what is his jurisdiction?

        • 2c3n1 .

          It’s is also Catholic Tradition that one cannot teach when he’s a heretic and therefore, not a member of the Church.

          Since all the Vatican 2 bishops and Francis I are heretics, why do you hold they have jurisdiction?

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          You should ask him. However, this is no argument against Sedevacantism. I have not researched the matters involving mission and jurisdiction so I am unable to answer somewhat competently. Nevertheless, all the objection, if valid, would prove is that a particular individual is not allowed to teach in the name of the Church. It would not disprove Sedevacantism. There are hosts of sedevacantists out there who do not frequent any chapels and do not avail themselves of the sacraments administered by sedevacantist clergy. But that’s a whole different issue altogether.

      • I am not Spartacus

        Council of Trent

        ‘No bishop is permitted under any pretext or privilege whatsoever to exercise episcopal functions in the diocese of another bishop, without the permission of the Ordinary of the place and with regard to persons subordinate to the same Ordinary. If any bishop does otherwise, he will be lawfully suspended from his episcopal functions . . .’

        Sess. VII, cp. 5

        IANS supposes that The Council of Trent is now verboten and heretical because of your support for a Vagus Bishop who has no jurisdiction and has been suspended from all of his pretend episcopal functions.

        • 2c3n1 .

          Canon 188.4, 1917 Code of Canon Law:

          “There are certain causes which effect the tacit (silent) resignation of an office, which resignation is accepted in advance by operation of the law, and hence is effective without any declaration. These causes are… (4) publicly defects from the Catholic faith.”

          Since Francis and all the Vatican 2 bishops believe in the condemned heresies that the Church is divided in faith, man has a God-given civil right to religious liberty, etc., they have tacitly resigned from office (if they ever had it) and don’t have jurisdiction.

          You must reject canon law if you accept the jurisdiction of Francis and the Vatican 2 bishops.

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          Considering that there IS NO ordinary of the diocese in which he administers the sacraments, I am not sure how relevant this is. Fruitful discussion of this topic can only be done at length, and that is not going to happen in this combox. This is not a debating forum, only a combox.

        • Mike

          After all that has happened, and continues to happen, you’ll have to forgive me for being a bit suspicious of those who defend the massive and unprecedented apostasy of our time.

          This apostasy was caused by the introducion of new doctrines and new liturgy which the author of this piece, which you link to in your above post, is ultimately defending.

          He changes horses halfway through that article. I am on guard against bait and switch tactics like this. He cites Hus’ condemned statments, but Hus was talking about the personal sins of a Pope regarding moral failures. He was not talking about those sins which sever a man from the Church – Heresy, Schism and Apostasy. That is the difference.

          By the way, I’ve seen you around the internet before. I have asked you in the past why you talk about yourself in the third person, but you did not answer. Would you please explain this bizarre way of speaking?

          Do you want to look like a lovable, eccentric genius or something?

          • I am not Spartacus

            Hus was a revolutionary whose insane ideology was that Bohemia was a holy nation and destined to purify enemy states by wielding the sword against them which would result in Heaven on earth

            The Church later said that Hus’ revolution was a return to the vomit of Judaism.

          • Mike

            I remember John Paul II and Francis condemning Hus in very strong terms, and vindicating the way the Church responded to him.

          • I am not Spartacus

            O, the third person thing?

            It began as a lark and has developed into a habit.

      • I am not Spartacus

        Nishant says:

        June 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm

        Great article, Joe, and I agree with all that you said. But perhaps, to be more persuasive, you should back up what you say with pre-Vatican II sources when arguing with sedes, as we would use first millenial sources when speaking to the Orthodox, or Scripture for a Protestant. I can give you some such sources to prove what you said.

        But yes, it is traditionally taught that the legitimacy of a Pope is a “dogmatic fact” (is infallible, inseparably connected to revelation and its safeguarding by the Church) as soon as it is accepted by the Church. For example, by Van Noort, the great dogmatic theologian, Wernz Vidal, great canonists, Cardinal Billot, one of the greatest Thomist of this last century, by Cardinal Journet, whom Archbishop Lefebvre praised.

        Another thing infallibly taught is that only a Pope can appoint bishops to an episcopal see, or office, only the Pope can grant them ordinary jurisdiction. Even the sedevacantists know their bishops do not have ordinary jurisdiction for this reason. But here’s the rub, and this is very important, there are only 15 bishops left in the world appointed by Pius XII and all have resigned their offices. This means 55+ year sedevacantism is heretical, also it leads to an impossibility, because only the world’s Ordinaries gathered in Council can pass the required
        juridical judgment that even sedevacantists admit is necessary.

        In this way, the Petrine succession and the Apostolic succession (which requires not only orders but also jurisdiction, succession to an episcopal see) are inextricably intertwined, and the consequence of an interregnum indefinitely extended, or extended beyond the point when every bishop appointed by the last Pope (in this case Pius XII) dies is that the Catholic Church will cease to be Apostolic, which is impossible.


        • 2c3n1 .

          Not a single Catholic says Francis is pope. Only the heretics say he’s the pope.

          Also, Van Noort taught that all heretics are outside of the Church. Wernz/Vidal sided with Bellarmine that a pope loses office immediately and automatically the moment he professes heresy. Billot didn’t think a pope could be a heretic at all, but if he did, he wouldn’t be pope.

          As for the jurisdiction issue, not a single member of the Vatican 2 religion holds the Catholic faith. NOT ONE! This means the Vatican 2 religion is a false religion!

          That being said, you’re last 2 paragraphs are your private judgment and flawed. Apostolic succession is not lost in sedevacantism because the issue of jurisdiction is more than you think.

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          Nope, buddy, your comments assume, falsely, that we have all the necessary facts about our situation. This is clearly not the case. I am not going to argue the point further here, since, as I said, it’s a combox and not an endless debate forum. I can only spend so much time moderating and interacting.

          Again, this distinguishes those with true Faith from those with false faith. True faith seeks no demonstration, it simply accepts, aided by grace, as true what God has revealed because He has revealed it. But lots of people need to have “all the answers” first before they believe. We can accept mystery and a lack of answers — we cannot accept contradiction. And thus the only possible position is Sedevacantism.

  4. Rob, Portland

    Since NOW has done a fantastic job at refuting the validity of modern Roman Catholicism, that vindicates the Orthodox church. It is time to swim the Bosphorus!

    • Sonia

      What, and become a no-ham-moham? I don’t think so. Mohametism has been the scourge of the East since the pride of Photius rent the East away from the Vicar of Christ. Now VII Rome rips itself from the See of Peter…the fruits are all too obvious.

      Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.

    • I am not Spartacus

      NOW is already there. However, unlike the Bishops of the Orthodox Church, his Bishop has no jurisdiction and, of course, No Ministry.

      No Jurisdiction, no Ministry is Catholic Tradition.

  5. I am not Spartacus

    If you do not believe that Jews and Mahometans (wrongly) worship the one True God then you must believe in a multiplicity of Gods.

      • Juan V. P.

        Sir, there is no need to apologize. Congratulations for your great work. This website helped me so much to embrace sedevacantist position.

    • Sonia

      Who can say why ‘not sparticus’ is visiting N.O.W. It could be that he/she is wanting to be educated in the Truth of the matter. Disputation is OK if finding the rock of the Truth really is the objective. For the regular folks who visit N.O.W. the Catholic Truth of the situation is as obvious as that the sun is in the sky and fish live in water. The Church – we folks – knows (because this is plain Catholic doctrine) that a heresiarch is not Catholic, that the Protestant religion of VII is not Catholic, that the Novus Ordo is just that – a New Order seeking a one world religion under the ‘auspices’ of the United Nations. The heresiarch Montini’s ‘abdication’ of the Holy Trinity to the UN by ritually making the Papal Tiara ‘redundant’ and declaring solemnly that the UN is now ‘the hope of humanity’…blimey. God is not making this difficult for the those who have the faith and ask, seek and knock.

      • Mike

        There is an ancedote about the time when Patrick Omlor heard Paul VI say that the UN was the last hope for humanity on live television, he turned to his wife and said, “That man cannot be the pope”. That was 1965.

      • Juan V. P.

        Sonia, I agree with you. But ‘not Spartacus ‘ has said he/she has been visiting N.O.W. for years. It seems he/she knows the answers.

  6. poenitens

    Every ‘resistor’ or member of the Vatican sect has bad will, specially in our times.
    Who has not seen picture where antipope JP2 is kissing unholy book of false prophet Mohammad?
    Every one saw it, and if they call that antipope saint or even pope, then it is the same if they personally kissed Koran and betrayed our Lord Jesus Christ.
    So, if JP2 had been pope, then gates of the Hell prevailed the Church.
    And that is impossible if Jesus was Christ, true God and true Man who resurrected third day. Obviously there is no one sentence in the Bible or in the Church’s father’s teachings that it Wii be pope until the end of the world. Yet, they believe that the Church can not exists without the pope. They will accept even Antichrist as pope, so they are more dangerous then any protestant sect because they are acting as they are catholics.
    Here one novus ordoe heretic is defending modern antipopes saying that if antipope Honorious I, who was condemned and anathematized on Church’s Council in Constantinople after his death, and many times after by popes, then modern popes could be also heretics and be in the same time true popes.
    But antipope Honorees I was secret heretic, only few people knew about his heretical letters which were make public at that Council.
    So, that is false argument of false catholics. There was antipopes before, but if they were not secret-occult heretic, then they were rejected by catholics, because who is in the communion with heretic, is also heretic.

    • Michael


      Honorious was not a heretic nor an anti-pope. He was a valid pope and many in his time considered him a Saint. St. Robert Bellarmine defends Pope Honorious from all the accusations made against him.

      God bless.

      • poenitens

        No, we can’t eat a cake and have it.
        Many popes condemned antipope Honorius as heretic, and it was in the text of papal coronation oath. If he was false accused on Council in Constantinople, then many popes were in grave error who condemn him, and who can then trust to papacy if they made false accusations.
        And if he was rightly condemned after reading of his heretical letters, and he remained as real pope (doesn’t matter that he was already dead), then Bergoglio is as Honorius, heretic and the pope, and Novus Ordo sect is true Catholic Church.

        God speed.

        • Mike

          First you call Honorius an antipope, and then you say Bergoglio is as Honorius. Tighten up your argument a bit!

          Honorius was not a heretic, and no pope or council accused him of being one. They condemned him for not properly withstanding heresy and by tacitly allowing it to continue.

          • poenitens

            He was heretic monotheletic because he condone that heresy in the letter to another heretic, patriarch of Constantnople Sergius.
            Yes, that was argument on the First Vatican Council, and many said then that he was not heretic, that he just wasn’t prudent enough to condemn monotheletism in that letter. Council in Constantinople with pope approval judged otherwise and condemned and anathemized Honorius, Sergius and all monothelites:
            Fathers of Vatican I Council thought that if Honorius was heretic and then antipope, then dogma of papal perpetuity is false, and in nowdays we as true catholics see that they were wrong. Papacy can continue even after reign of many antipopes, so it is possible that we could have true pope after many decades after sede vacante.
            It is not pudent and it is false to deny truth that Council of Constatinople and many popes condemn Honorius as heretic.
            It doesn’t matter that Honorius send heretical letter to Sergius, and that is no ex cathedra teaching as defined Vatican I, true pope can not be heretic with or without ex cathedra declarations.
            Even Bergoglio did not made ex cathedra declarations, but anyway he has public heretical speeches, writings, acts and that make him heretic and not a pope.

          • Novus Ordo Watch

            A true Pope cannot be a heretic, not because of papal infallibility but because a Catholic cannot be a non-Catholic at the same time. And to be the head of the Catholic Church, you have to be a Catholic.

        • Novus Ordo Watch

          No, the story is a bit more complex. The usage of the word “heretic” back then was not as restricted as it is today. You want to read pre-Vatican II Church history books on that. In fact, I’ve just decided, since this issue comes up again and again, to put up an article on Pope Honorius I next week. It will be an exclusive English translation of an essay by a French priest.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      There was never an Antipope Honorius I. He was not a heretic, either public or secret, but most definitely not public. Fr. Paul Bottalla’s “Pope Honorius before the Tribunal of Reason and History” is a good book on that.

  7. Sonia

    It is rare that the moderator on any site spends so much time responding to the disputes of a single commenter. For instance, if this were the Matt site, Voris site, or the Verrecchio site, the one disputing would maybe get one comment in or not be allowed at all.

    • Mike

      Louie V pretty much lets anything remain. About half of the comments are from sedes. The other two are like Stalinist Russia.

      • Sonia

        Agree about the Novus Ordo iron curtain of most sites. In my experience Louie would only personally respond to sedevacantist debate on a thread to say, get lost – purportedly to keep his R&R and clueless Novus Ordite customers happy – don’t recall a single instance where he personally debated a sedevacantist on a thread. I received a pretty catty email from the guy before he blocked me. But it is his site and in real Novus Ordo fashion, error has rights and truth must be obscured or blocked.

        • Mike

          If Benedict dies, he will be a “resignationist-sedevacantist”. Not a “classical sedevacantist”. (I think I just made up some new words). So will Ann Barnhardt and other “Benedict is the true Pope” people.

          • Sonia

            When he dies, if Bergoglio is still doing his pantomime, I reckon a lot of R&R will be feeling the ground of their position starting to sink.

    • Novus Ordo Watch

      Yes, I want to encourage legitimate discussion, and that includes allowing posts by those who are critical or disagree. Otherwise it’s not a combox but an echo chamber. However, at the same time I recognize my duty to ensure that no serious errors that could mislead others are uttered here without being refuted, and thus if I am unable to keep up with a barrage of posts, such as ‘I am Spartacus’ is inundating us all in at this time, I will have to consider banning him or at least not approving his posts.

  8. Novus Ordo Watch

    Folks, always remember what IANS is offering you as the alternative to sedevacantism.

    IANS, cut the crap. Start referring to yourself in the first person. I’m tired of the silliness. I will respond more later. I’m sill tied up with various responsibilities regarding the family member I mentioned.

  9. fitzdority

    I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m always amazed how those like “I am not Spartacus” need to buy a copy of Mortimer Adler’s “How to Read a Book.” The sheer hubris of reading for the sole purpose of declaring one’s superiority without having the slightest idea of what the issues are stuns me. He’s not a thinker, just a pamphleteer. The declaration of “Protestants!” by those defending a post-conciliar would-be Magisterium that conflicts with the Magisterium of the ages demonstrates that they react against Modernism by relying on Modernist presuppositions. It’s all intellectual anarchy, and I want no part of it. Like St Peter Julian Eymard said, “There’s no one quite so proud as a Protestant!”

    Keep it up, NOW.
    PS. Someone really needs to explain to IANS that referring to oneself is not only pretentious, it’s just downright silly. Drag queens have more sense than that.

  10. Novus Ordo Watch

    I have already clarified elsewhere that the reason I had to delay responding is that I was traveling on a family emergency and unable to do any serious research.

    So, we have already seen that your quote from the Council of Constance was from the decree “Haec Sancta”, which was never approved by a true Pope. I have no idea what you think you accomplish by quoting an anti-Modernist magisterial text and then saying, “Oh look, this applies to NOW!” Brilliant.

  11. Novus Ordo Watch

    Nope, my “ideology” doesn’t assert it — in my response, I simply sidestepped the question. I know this annoys you because you thought you had caught me in a “gotcha” moment. Sorry to disappoint.

  12. Novus Ordo Watch

    Just for the record: The so-called “Eastern Orthodox” disqualify themselves on the fact alone that they accept and bless adultery. They have practiced “Amoris Laetitia” for quite a long time. The Novus Ordo Sect is only now getting around to it.

  13. Novus Ordo Watch

    Indeed, unity in faith, government, and worship. In other words, NOT the Novus Ordo Sect, where people from Nancy Pelosi to John Vennari are all considered in good standing and yet believe completely different things, refuse Church government, and worship at different “liturgies”.
    Sedevacantists possess unity in faith, government, and worship per se, although not always per accidens.

    • poapratensis

      Unity in government? The sede bishops act like they’re playing a game of Risk with how they attempt to take over and outmanuver each other. If this is the only church left, and there are no true Catholics within the Novus Ordo, then we’re toast.

      • Novus Ordo Watch

        The sede bishops have no jurisdiction and therefore do not govern. When I said sedevacantists have unity in government per se, I meant that they would all submit to the same Roman Pontiff if there were one, and accept the governing authority of all true Popes of the past.

  14. Novus Ordo Watch

    I answered that already. Even a cursory glance at the Pope’s teaching in context isn’t that Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi is an error, but only that there are certain false ideas concerning what this maxim means. And if, God forbid, I should ever in the past had adhered to such a false understanding, I now hereby publicly and officially renounce my error and express my full adherence to the teaching of the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII.

  15. Juan V. P.

    No, that is not true. The articles have been written by Catholic bishops. And they quote the Magisterium and distinguished theologians and canonists who were approved by the Church. Their arguments prove sedevacantism is true.

    It seems you did not read them.

  16. John Raymond

    Taking view you hold always bring doubts, guilt, nagging thoughts. How could it not? We have no pope, the mass the conciliar church has is sacrilegious etc. But looking at litany of words and actions horrifies. I think easiest to prove these 6 aren’t popes are not valid is by attacking them before election. Sidestepping question that you can’t judge pope, as you are judging papal wannabes…and modernist, heretic, mason… A 9 x 11 w some other facts, and I could put them in novos ordo churches. My opinion, Jehovah witnesses do better job of evangelization than n o or traditional.

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