Since AnnaM declines to continue this discussion here are a few final points regarding Sedevacantism – or at the Dimond brothers sect version of it.
1.Sedevacante; sedevacantist position - Sede is Latin for "chair" and Vacante is Latin for "empty." A sedevacante period is a period when there is no pope: the Chair of St. Peter is empty. This usually occurs after the death of a pope or after a pope's resignation; this has occurred over 200 times in Church history, and has lasted for years at time.
Whilst it is true that there were a few gaps of several years between Popes, the longest being four years (304-308) during the persecution of Diocletian. In more normal times the longest is 2 yrs 9 months between Clement IV and Gregory X (1268-1271), due to deadlock between the voting Cardinals. However neither compares with the 55 years since the death of Pius XII in 1958
Catholics believe Jesus founded a hierarchically structured and visible Church. Leaving aside the persecution period of Diocletian, that visibility and structure remained in the sedevacante periods because the administration of the Holy See continued under the Cardinal Camerlengo
until a new Pope was elected. Manifestly if there has been no Pope since 1958 there remains no structured and visible Church, nor can a new Pope be elected because there would be no visible source of authority to call a conclave, nor validly appointed cardinals to form one. In which case the Church has become defectable and overcome by Satan, thus contradicting Jesus’ promises that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it and that He would be with his Church to the end of time.
Sedevacantists have no valid and visible structure. The Holy Family Monastery (whom AnnaM links to for her views) consists of two “brothers” who are not even priests.
The sedevacantist position describes the position of traditional Catholics who hold that the Chair of St. Peter is presently vacant because the man in Rome can be proven to be a public heretic, and therefore not a true pope.
Two questions arise here:
Firstly, what is a heresy, and therefore a heretic?
Secondly, who is in a position to declare someone a heretic?
Heresy…..In the Roman Catholic Church, heresy has a very specific meaning. Anyone who, after receiving baptism, while remaining nominally a Christian, pertinaciously denies or doubts any of the truths that must be believed with divine and Catholic faith is considered a heretic. Accordingly four elements must be verified to constitute formal heresy; previous valid baptism, which need not have been in the Catholic Church; external profession of still being a Christian, otherwise a person becomes an apostate; outright denial or positive doubt regarding a truth that the Catholic Church has actually proposed as revealed by God; and the disbelief must be morally culpable, where a nominal Christian refuses to accept what he knows is a doctrinal imperative….
Who is in a position to declare that someone is a heretic and therefore excommunicated form the Church? I would suggest that only someone who is in a formally appointed position to do so. Thus for a lay person this would be his/her bishop. For a bishop this would be the Pope or a commission to whom he entrusts the matter, for example the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).The only possible body for declaring a Pope a heretic would be a Council of the Church, as happened in the case of Pope Honorius I.
[A] General Council could announce to the Church that the Pope, as a notorious heretic, had ceased to be a Catholic and hence had ceased to be Pope. It is important to note that the Council would neither be judging nor deposing the Pope, since it would not possess the authority for such an act. It would simply be making a declaratory sentence, i.e. declaring to the Church what had already become manifest from the Pope’s own actions. This is the view taken in the classic manual on Canon Law by Father F.X. Wernz, Rector of the Gregorian University and Jesuit General from 1906 to 1914. This work was revised by Father P. Vidal and was last republished in 1952. It states clearly that an heretical Pope is not deposed in virtue of the sentence of the Council, but "the General Council declares the fact of the crime by which the heretical pope has separated himself from the Church and deprived himself of his dignity."
Have any of the Popes from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis been pronounced a heretic by a General Council? NO!
3.The doctors of the Church also teach that the Chair of Peter would become vacant if the pope were to become a manifest heretic.
Doctors of the Church have only taught this as hypothetical possibilities but they believe that it would not actually be possible for a Pope to be a manifest heretic in practice. St. Robert Bellarmine taught: "The manifestly heretical pope ceases per se to be pope and head as he ceases per se to be a Christian and member of the Church, and therefore he can be judged and punished by the Church. This is the teaching of all the early Fathers."(3) Saint Robert was, of course, discussing a theoretical possibility, and believed that a pope could not become an heretic and thus could not be deposed, but he also acknowledged that the more common opinion was that the pope could become an heretic, and he was thus willing to discuss what would need to be done if, per impossible, this should happen: "This opinion (that the Pope could not become an heretic) is probable and easily defended . . . Nonetheless, in view of the fact that this is not certain, and that the common opinion is the opposite one, it is useful to examine the solution to this question, within the hypothesis that the Pope can be an heretic."
)The great Jesuit theologian, Francisco de Suarez (1548-1617) was also sure that God’s "sweet providence" would never allow the one who could not teach error to fall into error, and that this was guaranteed by the promise Ego autem rogavi pro te . . . (Luke 22: 32). But, like Bellarmine, Suarez was willing to consider the possibility of an heretical pope as an hypothesis, particularly in view of the fact, he claimed, that several "general councils had admitted the hypothesis in question".(5) Saint Alphonsus Liguori (1696-1787) did not believe that God would ever permit a Roman Pontiff to become a public or an occult heretic, even as a private person: "We ought rightly to presume as Cardinal Bellarmine declares, that God will never let it happen that a Roman Pontiff, even as a private person, becomes a public heretic or an occult heretic."
Are any of the Popes from Pope John XXIII to Pope Francis manifest heretics?
Only in the mind of sedevacantists and what right do they have to make such a judgement? Non whatsoever!
Why are these heresies only manifest to them and not to the 1.1 billion Catholics throughout the world?
More pertinently why are these heresies not manifest to the Bishops and theologians of the Catholic Church? Have any bishops or theologians raised the issue of Papal heresy in the last 55 years?
4. Vatican II sect - this phrase describes the counterfeit Church that has arisen since Vatican II, which was prophesied in Catholic prophecy and Sacred Scripture. This counterfeit sect is rife with heresy, apostasy and the most outrageous scandals, …... the Vatican II sect is not the Catholic Church, but the Devil's counterfeit to lead people astray during the Great Apostasy.
AnnaM would have us believe that over 2,000 bishops from around the world, plus their theological advisors (periti), entered into a giant conspiracy to pervert the Catholic Church by changing infallibly declared dogma. Or at the very least a groups of bishops, led by Pope John XXIII and later by Paul VI, duped over 2,000 assembled bishops and their periti in to doing just that. Moreover 1.1 billion Catholics (including priests and theologians) went along with it apart from a tiny group of dissidents who could see the errors that no-one else could.