Please watch this short video that explains the position of Sedevacantism:
What is today known as Roman Catholicism is in fact nothing like Roman Catholicism of the past. You can see this for yourself by comparing Church history past and present.
The Second Vatican Council, a gathering of all Catholic bishops called in 1959 by the newly-elected ‘Pope John XXIII’, was the source of this departure. The council was held from 1962 until 1965 in Vatican City. However, John XXIII died in 1963, his successor, ‘Pope Paul VI’, continued and concluded the council, making it legally effective for the entire church.
The long-term effect of the council has been a complete revolution of Catholicism, one that has been most visible in the changes in Catholic worship, specifically in the Holy Catholic Mass. The Mass went from being a solemn, dignified, and otherworldly rite of Sacrifice being offered to the Most Holy Trinity in the sacred Latin tongue by a priest facing God and therefore having his back to the congregation, to being a pedestrian service in which the priest is reduced to the status of a mere presider over a meal, often acting even as an entertainer, reading dull prayers in the common vernacular tongue whilst facing the people. Lots of lay participation in the sanctuary contributes to an already-desacralised service.
The results have been catastrophic: exceptionally low Mass attendance, an unprecedented crisis in vocations to the priesthood, and a ‘Catholic’ populace ignorant of some of the most basic tenets of Catholicism.
The ‘New Mass’ or Novus Ordo Missae, as it is called, is merely one visible symptom of the fundamental problem, which is that the religion you see today as ‘Roman Catholicism’ is not the Catholic religion of ages past but is basically the religion purported by the Second Vatican Council. A great many ideas today promoted as Roman Catholicism, are actually rooted only in Vatican II and were not known or accepted before — and that’s a pretty long ‘before’ — around 1,900 years. Things like ecumenism, interreligious dialogue, interfaith prayer services, opposition to the death penalty, religious freedom as an ideal for every society, the notion of ‘human rights’, declaring all war to be evil (even the just kind) — all these are examples of Vatican II ideas, not Catholic ideas.
According to perennial Catholic teaching, it is not possible for the Catholic Church to undergo a substantial change. Her teachings cannot change in essence; she cannot contradict or abandon what she taught before; she cannot offer a ‘new religion’ to her followers.
In response to the phenomenon of the Vatican II revolution, there are three essential lines of thought that have been proposed as “solutions” to understanding the situation. These solutions can be summarised as:
- Despite appearances, nothing has really substantially changed, and any interpretation of Vatican II that arrives at the conclusion that there has been a substantial change must be incorrect;
- We must oppose (resist) these substantial changes and stick to the traditional, age-old teaching instead and ignore the Vatican II novelties while recognising, that the authorities in the Vatican are legitimate and genuine Roman Catholic authorities — we just cannot agree with them on these points;
- It is impossible for the Catholic Church to change substantially, and because Vatican II constitutes such an impossible substantial change, it is necessary to conclude that the authority which gave us Vatican II is not in fact the legitimate Catholic authority; that is to say, the ‘Popes’ which gave us Vatican II are not true Popes, nor are their successors, who have implemented and expanded this new religion that has its roots in the council. The entire religion that now occupies the Vatican and the official structures of the Catholic Church throughout the world is false — it is not the Catholic religion at all, and its putative authorities are not Catholics but heretical usurpers.
The first line of thought described above is often termed (not necessarily correctly) ‘conservative Catholic’, ‘orthodox Catholic’, ‘Novus Ordo’, ‘conservative Novus Ordo’, or ‘indult’. Prominent organisations and individuals which can be said to promote or be associated with this position would include Catholic Answers, EWTN, Fraternity of St. Peter, Institute of Christ the King, Franciscan University of Steubenville, National Catholic Register, The Wanderer, Latin Mass Magazine, Church Militant, Vericast, Fr. Kenneth Baker, Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, Karl Keating, Scott Hahn, Michael Voris, Tim Staples, Jimmy Akin, Steve Kellmeyer, Dave Armstrong, Mark Shea, and many others.
The second line of thought described above is often termed (not necessarily correctly) ‘traditionalist’, ‘traditional’, ‘resistance’, ‘recognise-and-resist’ (R&R), or ‘SSPX’. Proponents of this position include the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), Fatima Network, Tradition In Action, The Remnant, Catholic Family News, TradCatKnight, Bp. Bernard Fellay, Bp. Richard Williamson, Rev. Paul Kramer, Rev. Nicholas Gruner, John Vennari, Michael Matt, Christopher Ferrara, Louie Verrecchio, John Salza, Robert Siscoe, Eric Gajewski, and many more.
The third line of thought is the one is a theological position known as ‘Sedevacantism’, from the Latin sede vacante, ‘the chair being empty’, referring to the Chair of St. Peter that is occupied by the Pope (when there is a legitimate Pope reigning). The groups or individuals who promote or share this position include True Restoration, Novus Ordo Watch, the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI), Istituto Mater Boni Consilii, Sodalitium, Daily Catholic, The Four Marks newspaper, Bp. Geert Stuyver, Bp. Donald Sanborn, Bp. Mark Pivarunas, Bp. Clarence Kelly, Fr. Anthony Cekada, Fr. Michael Oswalt, Fr. William Jenkins, John Daly, Thomas Droleskey, Stephen Heiner, John Lane, Michael Cain, Mario Derksen, Griff Ruby, Steve Speray, and others.
If you have read this far, then you may be familiar with the Theological debates and issues that are present today. For further clarification on the issues affecting Catholics today or for information on the latest ‘Novus Ordo’ pronouncements or for truly Catholic sermons please visit our links page.