Anything but Sedevacantism!
Analysis of a curious Phenomenon
in the world of the semi-traditionalists, the blind are leading the blind. This is not just rhetoric, it simply describes reality. Whether it be people arguing that there is no point to having the correct diagnosis of a problem if one does not have the cure — as though a correct diagnosis were not at least the indispensable starting point for any remedial action; whether it be Christopher Ferrara promoting the idea of an “Anti-Catholic Pope”; whether it be one blogger’s argument that the Pope need not be submitted to “if he’s an idiot”; or whether it be “Bp.” Athanasius Schneider’s bizarre thesis that while being in union with the Pope one could nevertheless be in schism with Christ: No thesis is too absurd or anti-Catholic for adherents of the recognize-and-resist position not to entertain it as a possible explanation for the current state of the Church, as long as that thesis does not require them to hold the position that the Vatican II Church is not the true Catholic Church and its head is not a valid Catholic Pope (commonly known as “Sedevacantism”).
On July 10, 2016, we published a post entitled, “The Trouble with Jorge: Semi-Trads at the Breaking Point”. Since then, things have only gotten worse — lots worse — for people who try to be good and faithful Catholics but nevertheless accept the world’s worst apostate as the Vicar of Christ and remain inside an ostensibly Catholic establishment which, however, opposes Catholic Faith, morals, and piety at every turn.
Why is it that so many people are bending over backwards to avoid the sedevacantist position?
In early 2015, Fr. Anthony Cekada spoke of an unreasonable fear of Sedevacantism in the semi-traditionalist camp, which was, of course, immediately denied by people of that persuasion. But this veritable phobia of Sedevacantism — we may want to term it “sedevacantophobia” — is anything but illusory. Even if we do not want to term it a phobia, it is nevertheless, quite objectively, an unreasonable systematic and compulsive refusal to consider Sedevacantism as even so much as a possibility to explain the situation in the Catholic Church today. Anything but that! appears to be the battle cry of the semi-traditionalists in this respect.
It is tragic to see so many good-willed people eschew Sedevacantism for no sufficient reason. They have been deceived into rejecting it even as a possibility. Decades of SSPX/resistance propaganda has taught them to put greater importance on having someone to fill the papal office than even the very meaning of the papal office itself.
Thus we now have hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — of “traditional Catholics” who would rather reduce the Papacy to utter meaninglessness and have its divinely-guaranteed purpose of ensuring the orthodoxy of the entire Church overturned, rather than maintain that the Papacy is indeed the bulwark “which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion” but currently unoccupied! Such people have sacrificed the Papacy for the sake of having a “Pope”. Oh, the irony!
But it does not stop there. Semi-Traditionalists have no problem speaking of a fake Church, a fake Mass, fake sacraments, fake theology, fake saints, even an altogether fake religion — but it never occurs to them that perhaps all of this is possible only because there’s a fake Pope. No, this could not be! And so they are forced to attribute to a true Church with a true Vicar of Christ a false religion, false theology, false sacraments, and so forth, all as part of a forlorn attempt to make sense of a situation whose true nature they have excluded a priori as being even a possibility.
We have seen that the Papacy has consequences. So does a denial of the Papacy.
The cognitive dissonance of a “practical sedevacantism” will be coming home to roost.