Sunday, July 18, 2010

Is Sedevacantism Heretical?

One Vatican II apologist, I(van) Shawn McElhinney, has posted what he terms a 'treatise' entitled, "A Prescription Against Traditionalism." The author mainly tries to vindicate the Novus Ordo "Mass" and rails against the so-called Traditionalists of the Society of St. Pius X. One part of his posting is optimistically called "A Refutation of the Heresy of Sedevacantism."Far from a refutation, it merely recycles arguments which either misrepresent the issue or have premises which are false.

I will present his arguments available at and expose the fallacies.

1. Christ did not depose the Pharisees who conspired to put Him to death, so who are sedevacantists to declare the papacy vacant?

Answer: We do not depose popes and make declarations. The Church through Her theologians has taught that an heretical pope loses his authority ipso facto, by divine law. As theologian Billot explains "...having become an unbeliever, he (the pope) would by his own will be cast outside the body of the Church." (See De Ecclesia, 5th edition,[1927],632). Sedevacantists recognize the fact of heresy and act accordingly. There is no legal declaration that Osama bin Laden is a terrorist, but would Mr. McElhinney want to board a plane where he was the pilot? In the practical order you see the turban, recognize the fact of a terrorist (in the absence of any legal disposition), and stay off the plane. No legal declarations, just public determinations. The author's argument analogizing to the Pharisees (and making an attempt to satirize it using "The Revised Sedevacantist Version" of the Holy Bible) is very glib, but doesn't get him very far. First, the laws of the Old Testament were superceded by the New Testament, and second, the Church has already interpreted through Her appointed theologians what Scripture and Tradition mean. According to Her approved theologians, the Church has taught that nothing in the Bible or Tradition precludes the possibility of sedevacantism.

2. The definition of the first Vatican Council in 1870 dogmatically assures us there will be "perpetual successors" in the papacy, therefore to claim that the papal throne is vacant is heretical.

Answer: Pure theological and historical ignorance. According to theologian Dorsch (See de Ecclesia, 2:191-192), the definition was directed against heretics who contended that either (a) the Primacy was a power that was given by Christ to St. Peter ALONE, or (b) Christ did not intend the Primacy to be passed perpetually to his successors, but it would either die with St. Peter or pass along to the episcopal college. Mr. McElhinney and his Vatican II sect apologists would have us believe that the definition of Vatican I means that except for a brief period of interregnum between the death of one pope and the election of another, we must always have a living, breathing pope on St.Peter's Throne.
As theologian Salavarri devotes 23 dense pages to this issue (See de Ecclesia, 1:385), the Church tells us that the papacy is an INSTITUTION whose rights and duties will endure in perpetuity, and does not teach that there must always be a man to fill that position.

3. Papal legislation regarding conclaves promulgated by Pope Pius XII allows Masons/heretics to be validly elected as pope.

Answer: The declaration Vacante Sede Apostolis is irrelevant to the issue of sedevacantism. Heresy is an impediment of divine law, that prohibits a man from receiving papal authority (See Coronata, Inst. I. C. 1:312, wherein "Heretics and apostates [at least public ones] are therefore excluded {from being pope}." To be free from heresy and apostasy, he explains, is a requirement to become pope "by DIVINE LAW"--emphasis mine. Hence, the contention that Pope Pius can dispense from Divine Law is false as NO HUMAN AUTHORITY CAN DO SO! Pius dispensed only from impediments of ECCLESIASTICAL LAW.

Mr. McElhinney claims that it is "impossible to embrace sedevacantism and not be a heretic." The facts prove otherwise. While he derides sedevacantists as theological "amateurs" and scoffs at "proof-texting," he nevertheless doesn't understand the Church documents he cites!! McElhinney's "Prescription", far from being medicinal, is pure theological poison that should result in a lawsuit for malpractice. In reality, it is impossible to embrace Ivan Shawn McElhinney's poor attempt at argumentation and not be an ignoramus.


  1. Introibo you have posted rubbish! The heretical position of the sedevacantist is that the Church is going through a great apostasy! Well, this contradicts the very words of scripture..."I will be with you all days...unto the consummation of the world"...the world has not been consumed and our Lord is still with is His Church, which is indefectable and will stand for all time! No where in scripture is a great apostasy within the church mentioned ANYWHERE...not even prophetically or literally. Quite the contrary is mentioned...our Lord says that "wolves will get into the fold"...these are heresyarchs...who have names and obvious agendas. One is to confuse and poison the mind of believers that we are living in a time of apostasy, that the sedevacantists have created! This is in contradiction to scripture and the teachings of Holy Mother Church...who, on matters of faith and morals is it must be, in order for the members of the Church to understand what she teaches, in order for us to save our souls... You my friend are not only delusional, but you are a heretic