On Sedevacantism

Prior to the current and lively discussion on the actual validity of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation from the Papacy, there was (and is) a group of Catholics called sedevacantists who believe that the Chair of Peter has been empty for nearly 50 years, due to putatively-changed doctrine.  “Sedes,” as they are often called in the traditional world, believe that the last valid Pope was Pope Pius XII. Some even deny the validity of his papacy and some even deny the validity his predecessors, going back centuries.  Sedevacantism is Latin for “empty chair,” in reference to the Roman Chair of Peter.  They have very good arguments for their positions, many of which I can not counter.   (For those unfamiliar with this debate, yes—there are actually Catholics who make me look like an ultra-liberal!)

In any case, I have a good friend looking at the sedevacantists. Here is an email I wrote to him to discourage him from joining them. It was only after I hit “send” that I decided it was worth a blog-post, published with his permission, but no names of course:

D,

You write “I simply don’t know what to do at this point.” My answer: Nothing. There’s an old phrase in Canon Law that is: impossibile non tenetur which means one is not held to the impossible in the Catholic life. In other words, God has not made life to be an intellectual riddle that is impossible to solve except for being solved by a few sedevacantists with their big book of old Pope quotes. I fully understand the difference between God’s positive will and His permissive will for this current Church crisis. But both types of providence still fall under God’s sovereignty. If that were not the case, then the only people to be saved would be sedevacantists because they have figured out God’s post V2 code.

It’s all intellectual for them, and really, it’s all intellectual for your quotes to me this past week. Yeah, they are pretty air-tight. So maybe they are totally correct. But sedes are so miserable and mean, that even if they were correct, I’m pretty sure I would not want to go to heaven with them. If only the miserable and mean who have finally cracked the intellectual code of Pope Paul IV and the 1917 code of canon law are going to heaven, then we are all held to the impossible by God and we are essentially nothing more than 5point Calvinists (who the sedes all remind me of.) Also, remember the sedes don’t really have charity (just try to counter me on this!) and if faith without charity means nothing for salvation (1 Cor 13) then no one is going to heaven…in which case every single person is in an impossible situation…and Satan has beat us all into despair via a mind game.

You will never beat Satan at mind games in quoting canon law. I believe sedes are following Satan because Satan can quote Councils and Popes as well as Satan quoted Scripture to Jesus in the desert. But Satan quoted Scripture without obedience and charity. As Calvinists live Sola Scriptura without obedience or charity, so also sedes are Sola Conciliar without obedience or charity.

Every family that goes sede is because the man gets wrapped up into endless syllogisms. I have never met a sede family where the woman, in total love, has a deep understanding of the Church. It is always the mind games of very, very intellectual men who is led by some spirit to lead their whole family into sedevacantism. And their arguments are usually air-tight. But again, Satan can quote Scripture and Popes perfectly.

Be very, very careful to not look at only all your endless arguments but to do St. Ignatius of Loyola’s discernment of spirits. More or less, St. Ignatius teaches that the one gift of the Holy Ghost that Satan can not simulate is peace. Peace is deeper than a feeling. If you are called to lead your family to sedevacantism, you will have an overwhelming peace of the Holy Ghost. (And remember that numerous Popes have set St. Ignatius’ discernment of spirits as the gold standard of retreats and decision making.)

But you will never have peace in sedevacantism, as evidenced by the fact you have never met a peaceful sedevacantist. They are all so jumpy. I used to think they acted neurotic, but now I see that from a secular point of view (not theological) they all act mildly psychotic. There is no peace there. Have you ever met a joyful, peaceful, inspiring sedevacantist?

If you say “No, but that doesn’t matter in the face of all their arguments” then you are left with this:

We are all then called to this Catholic-Calvinism or Sola Conciliar Catholicism of anger, where God has (in His permissive will) wired the universe as a horrible riddle where only loveless sedes are saved and where the average Catholic (who can not read hundreds of pages of 14th century Popes every week to figure out the truth) has a goal of SALVATION HELD TO THE IMPOSSIBLE.

Sounds like a pretty good pathway to despair made perfectly by Satan, if you ask me.

“The Office” Catholics

The Office is not a particularly edifying TV show and I would not recommend it for its secular world view.   I’ve never seen the UK version of The Office and I’ve only seen a few episodes of the American version.  Still, it struck me this week that the personalities (not the religious or political views) but the personalities of The Office characters seem to reflect the very personalities attracted to various movements of American Catholicism in the 21st century.

Notice equal-opportunity target-practice below:

 

JPII Catholics≈Jim

These are the young Catholics who want to make Catholicism look relevant. Jim Halpert is no neo-conservative on the TV show, but his personality is exactly what young neo-conservative Catholics like to be: cool but accessible.  Perhaps he is even hip, at least when compared with the stranger breeds who surround him.

 

Baby boomer Catholics≈Phyllis

Again, Phyllis Vance is not a Catholic in the TV show, but Wikia’s “The Office” describes her as “very depressed, lacks self-esteem and is somewhat eccentric.” Yes, baby-boomer Catholics represent.  Add a dash of harmless SJW in there, and you got it.

 

charismatics≈Erin

Cheerful and shallow

 

Traditionalists≈Angela and Dwight

The skin-tone screams “homeschooling-mommy-blogger.”

Dwight Schrute does not go to the Latin Mass, but he has what all Latin-Mass-men must come equipped with: weapons and conspiracy-theories.

 

Ex-Catholics≈Michael

Michael Scott thinks he’s figured out something no one else has, but really, he has not.

 

Priests

Oscar Martinez SJ?

Superfuit Sunday

Today is the Sixth Sunday which remains after Epiphany.  “Superfuit” is Latin for “remain” or “survive,” because these readings remain from the Sundays of the calendar year prior to Septuagesima Sunday earlier this year.  This is so we can get through all the readings before the last Sunday of the ecclesial year (next week.) Most of today’s sermon is actually taken from St. John Chrysostom’s words on St. Matthew chapter 13, the Gospel for today.  The other person in the feature-image is St. Gregory the Wonderworker.  Both are early Turkish saints, mentioned in this sermon.

Fulton Sheen’s Little Heroine

The only person to reach more people for Christ on television than Billy Graham was a Catholic bishop named Archbishop Fulton Sheen from Illinois, later bishop in New York. Every Tuesday night, starting in the 1950s, up to 10 million Americans from all faiths tuned in to his TV Show, Life Is Worth Living. Not only Catholics, but many older Jewish people fondly remember tuning in to his Tuesday evening show about God.

Venerable Fulton Sheen also traveled the world and raised millions of dollars for foreign missions in poor countries. He is credited with converting the following to the Catholic Faith: Agnostic writer Heywood Broun, politician Clare Boothe Luce, automaker Henry Ford II, Communist writer Louis F. Budenz, Communist organizer Bella Dodd, theatrical designer Jo Mielziner, violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler, and actress Virginia Mayo.

Now a “Venerable” in the Catholic Church, Ven. Sheen is two moves away from canonization. He will, please God, move from Venerable Fulton Sheen to Blessed Fulton Sheen to finally St. Fulton Sheen.

Who was his hero? Who inspired such holiness? Who inspired him to remain in prayer for the millions of people that he reached for Christ? The answer is: An unnamed Chinese girl.

The following has been on many websites.  The original author is unknown, but the account is verifiable in the life, the words and the annals of Venerable Fulton Sheen.


A couple of months before his death, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen was interviewed on national television. One of the questions was this: “Bishop Sheen, you have inspired millions of people all over the world. Who inspired you? Was it a Pope?”

Bishop Sheen responded that it was not a Pope, a cardinal, another bishop, or even a priest or a nun. It was a little Chinese girl of eleven years of age. He explained that when the Communists took over China, they imprisoned a priest in his own rectory near the Church. After they locked him up in his own house, the priest was horrified to look out of his window and see the Communists proceed into the Church, where they went into the sanctuary and broke into the tabernacle. In an act of hateful desecration, they took the ciborium and threw it on the floor with all of the Sacred Hosts spilling out. The priest knew exactly the number of Hosts in the ciborium: thirty-two.

When the Communists left, they either did not notice, or didn’t pay any attention to a small girl praying in the back of the Church who saw everything that had happened. That night the little girl came back.

Slipping past the guard at the priest’s house, she went inside the Church. There she made a holy hour of prayer, an act of love to make up for the act of hatred. After her holy hour she went into the sanctuary, knelt down, bent over and with her tongue received Jesus in Holy Communion, since (at that time) it was not permissible for laymen to touch the Sacred Host with their hands.

The little girl continued to come back each night to make her holy hour and receive Jesus in Holy Communion on her tongue. On the thirty-second night, after she had consumed the last and thirty-second host, she accidentally made a noise and woke the guard who was sleeping. He ran after her, caught her, and beat her to death with the butt of his rifle.

This act of heroic martyrdom was witnessed by the priest as he watched grief-stricken from his bedroom window.


When Bishop Sheen heard the story he was so inspired that he promised God he would make a holy hour of prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day of his life. If this frail, little child could give testimony and witness to the world concerning the real and wonderful Presence of her Savior in the Blessed Sacrament, then the Bishop was absolutely bound by all that was right and true, to do the same. His sole desire from then on was to bring the world to the burning Heart of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The little girl showed the Bishop what true courage and zeal really is; how faith could overcome all fear, how true love for Jesus in the Eucharist must transcend life itself. What is hidden in the Sacred Host is the glory of His love. The sun in the sky is symbolic of the Son of God in the Blessed Sacrament. This is why most monstrances are in the form of a sunburst. As the sun is the natural source of all energy, the Blessed Sacrament is the supernatural source of all grace and love.

TLM Class 1

This is class 1 on teaching the 1962 layman’s missal, but people who go to the Ordinary Mass or Divine Liturgy will learn a lot, too, because linked here is the meditation for each part of the Holy Mass according to St. Francis De Sales, and that comprises part of this “podclass.”