Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, 553:
“… we bear in mind what was promised about the holy Church and Him who said the gates of Hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics)…”
There are many objections launched against the sedevacantist position – that is, the position expounded in this book according to which the Chair of St. Peter is vacant because the post-Vatican II “popes” are not true popes, but non-Catholic antipopes. We will now address all of the major objections that are launched against this position.
Objection 1): The Gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church, as Christ said (Matthew 16). He said He would be with His Church all days until the end of the world (Matthew 28). What you are saying is contrary to the promises of Christ.
Answer: No, indefectibility (the promise of Christ to always be with His Church, and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it) means that the Church will, until the end of time, remain essentially what she is. The indefectibility of the Church requires that at least a remnant of the Church will exist until the end of the world, and that a true pope will never authoritatively teach error to the entire Church. It does not exclude antipopes posing as popes (as we’ve had numerous times in the past, even in Rome) or a counterfeit sect that reduces the adherents of the true Catholic Church to a remnant in the last days. This is precisely what is predicted to occur in the last days and what happened during the Arian crisis.
Answer: The authority a Catholic has to determine that heretics are not members of the Church is Catholic dogma, which teaches us that those who depart from the Faith are considered alien to the Church.
Answer: Not so. The declaratory sentence which follows an automatic excommunication is merely a legal recognition of something which already exists. If this were not true, the automatic excommunication would be meaningless.
Answer: A “material” heretic is a Catholic erring in good faith about a dogmatic issue. The Vatican II antipopes are without doubt real heretics. They cannot be material heretics (Catholics erring in good faith) for many reasons, most important among those reasons being: 1) they don’t hold the essential mysteries of Faith; 2) they reject obvious dogmas of which they are fully aware.
Answer: The Church has existed for years without a pope, and does so every time a pope dies. The Church has experienced a papal interregnum (i.e. period without a pope) over 200 different times in Church history. The longest papal interregnum (before the Vatican II apostasy) was between Pope St. Marcellinus (296-304) and Pope St. Marcellus (308-309). It lasted for more than three and a half years. Further, theologians teach that the Church can exist for even decades without a pope.
Answer: Vatican I’s dogmas don’t contradict a vacancy of the Papal See; in fact, it’s only those who reject the Vatican II antipopes who can consistently accept these papal dogmas, since Benedict XVI utterly rejects them.
Answer: First, people need to understand what the teaching “No one can judge the Holy See” means. It comes from the early Church. In the early Church, when a bishop was accused of a crime, there would sometimes be a trial presided over by other bishops or by a patriarch of greater authority. These bishops would sit in judgment on the accused bishop. The Bishop of Rome, however, since he is the supreme bishop in the Church, cannot be subjected to any trial by other bishops or by other people.
Answer: Many of those who believe Benedict XVI is the pope, yet reject the official actions of his “Church,” such as Vatican II, attempt to see a justification for their false position in this passage from St. Robert Bellarmine. In fact, this passage is one of the most commonly used pieces of evidence that people attempt to throw against the sedevacantist position. Unfortunately, the passage has been completely misapplied and distorted.
Answer: It is not true that Pope Liberius gave in to the Arians, signed any Arian formula, or even excommunicated St. Athanasius. Pope Liberius was a staunch defender of the truth during the Arian crisis, but his return from exile gave some the idea that he had compromised, when, in fact, he had not. We quote Pope Pius IX.
ANSWER: As we’ve already shown, it’s a dogma that 1) heretics are not members of the Church; and 2) that a pope is the head of the Church. It is a dogmatic fact, therefore, that a heretic cannot be the head of the Church, since he is not a member of it.
Answer: If whether or not Benedict XVI is a pope does not matter, then the non-Catholicism of the Vatican II sect does not matter, the New Mass doesn’t matter, etc. One cannot separate one from the other. You cannot separate pope and Church. Furthermore, to maintain that Benedict XVI is the head of the Catholic Church is to assert that the gates of Hell have prevailed against Her.
Answer: Pope Paul IV declared that Catholics could not accept such a heretical claimant, even if obedience were given to him by "all" – indicating by such a statement that all giving obedience to such an antipope is a possibility.
Answer: John XXII was not a heretic, and his reign is no proof that heretics can be popes.
Objection 14): Pope Honorius was condemned for heresy by a general council after his death, yet the Church does not consider him to have ceased to be pope, even though he was accused of heresy during his reign.
Answer: As we have already seen, it’s a dogmatic fact that a heretic cannot be the pope, since it’s an infallibly defined dogma that a heretic is not a member of the Catholic Church.
Answer: 1) People misunderstand in what the visibility of the Church consists; 2) the Vatican II sect cannot be the visible Church of Christ; and 3) the Vatican II sect denies this very teaching on the visibility of the Church.
Answer: The one making this objection, Chris Ferrara, is completely wrong, as usual. First, there are many examples of manifest heresies from the post-conciliar antipopes which require no explanation or commentary, as we have seen. Second, papal authority teaches us that some heresies do require explanation, deep study and analysis to uncover and condemn, as we will also see.
Answer: This is simply not true. Antipope John Paul II’s heretical and invalid 1983 Code states that such a declaration is necessary in Canon 194 § 3. But the 1917 Code doesn’t. The 1917 Code’s parallel canon to canon 194 is canon 188. Canon 188 of the 1917 Code does not contain this provision, but simply declares that a cleric who “Publicly defects from the Catholic faith” (188 § 4) loses his office by that very fact “without any declaration.”
Answer: No, the Council of Constance didn’t condemn the idea that a heretic would cease to be the pope at all. This is a serious misunderstanding of this proposition. As we see clearly above, the Council condemned something significantly different. It condemned the proposition that a wicked man would cease to be the head of the Church, since he is not a member of it. The proposition from the heretic Hus rightly asserts that one who is not a member of the Church cannot be the head of the Church, but it falls into trouble by stating that the pope ceases to be a member if he is “wicked.”
Answer: The Joint Declaration with the Lutherans by itself proves that the Vatican II “popes” are non-Catholic antipopes. The fact that John Paul II and Benedict XVI neither wrote the document nor signed it is completely irrelevant. They both approved of it publicly numerous times, and agreed with it.
There is No Reason not to accept the Sedevacantist Position
We have addressed in much detail the major objections launched against the sedevacantist position. We can see that there is nothing in the teaching of the Catholic Church which should cause one not to accept the undeniable fact that the Vatican II sect is not the Catholic Church, and that the men who have headed this sect (the post-Vatican II “popes”) are not popes at all, but non-Catholic antipopes. On the contrary, there is undeniable proof for this position and every reason to accept it.
 Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Sheed & Ward and Georgetown University Press, 1990, Vol. 1, p. 113.
 Denzinger 51-52e; Warren H. Carroll, A History of Christendom, Vol. 1 (The Founding of Christendom), p. 494; J.N.D. Kelly, Oxford Dictionary of Popes, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 25.
Sign up for our free e-mail list to see future vaticancatholic.com videos and articles.