The definition of Sede Vacante is not defined correctly. It is an adopted word to explain an empty chair as a result of a death or resignation of a pope. The problem with this definition alludes to the state of the church to be headless. Our Lord said “Thou art Peter . . . . and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” This implies that no matter what happens to the pope there will always be someone to act in the place of the pope who will run the church until another pope is elected. Hence we have the term “perpetual successors”. The Church has always taught that St. Peter’s successors to be in an unending, an unbroken chain. So up until the Vatican II Council, there has never been a break in the line of successors (Vatican Council I).What I wish to state is up until the Vatican II Council, the proper understanding of Sede Vacante is really Sede Transition for, as I pointed out, the Church is never without its delegated authority.
Sede Vacant-ism explained.
As many of you know the results of the Vatican II Council propagated by Paul VI caused a split in the Catholic Church, the split was caused by what appeared to be a legally elected pope? Paul VI instituted into Church teaching (ex-cathedra to the whole church) decrees which have been previously condemned by other dogmatic councils. As a result of this action Sede Vacant-ism was perpetuated among many of the traditionalists, while the other groups continued to hope for a turn-around.
Being a Sede Vacante in this present form cannot be related to its past meaning because in the past, again, the church maintained its formal jurisdictional authority. Today Sede Vacant-ists do not have formal jurisdictional authority, even if, to explain this dilemma, they tried to explain it away by saying that we are going through just another interregnum. If you accept this position then who’s in charge of the Church and why are they not trying to elect a true pope? An interregnum means a break between popes; but these Sede Vacant-ists have no jurisdictional way to elect one — or if they did, why haven’t they? The problem here is unless they can find a way to elect a pope, the line of successors (popes) has been broken in violation of Church teaching. I will cover this problem in the next two subjects.
Anti-Popes and AntiChrists
These are two different meanings. To begin with an anti-pope is someone who is opposed to another legally elected living pope. Now, as many of you know we have had plenty of anti-popes all through the centuries. You will find however, that, an anti-pope can still be a Catholic and continues to belong to the church. As a matter of fact the first anti-pope actually became a Saint, St. Hippolytus of Rome (217-235 AD). During the western schism, which really wasn’t a schism, we had three popes for about thirty years. To begin with this was more about politics and not matters of faith. So we had two anti-popes and one true pope at this time. Once the division came to an end all the participants remained in the church, therefore, you could not call these anti-popes ‘AntiChrists.’
The true definition of an AntiChrist is a God against God or someone in place of God and in our case, it’s someone in the place of Christ. St. John the Apostle is the only one to use the word AntiChrist. The first true AntiChrist that St. John is referring to in the Apocalypse was the High Priest Caiphas who sat in the chair of Moses and had Christ killed (The Synagogue of Satan). In the future the chair will become the chair of Peter of whom the AntiChrists will take over and be accepted as true Popes by most of the world.(1). St. Paul referred to him as the ‘man of sin’ or the ‘son of perdition.’ The generic term for AntiChrist can be used for any sinner but mostly those with authority who go against Christ. The AntiChrist spoken of in the Great Apostasy (schism) or in the end times are specific individuals generally related as ‘each’ or as ‘one person each.’ Our Lord makes it very clear in speaking about the ‘abomination of desolation’ . . . “for there shall arise false Christ’s and false prophets [many] in so much as to deceive the elect.” Matt 24:24 My friends, traditionalists are the elect. Our Lord makes it clear that many of these AntiChrists in the end times will be followed by the elect. What this means is, those who remain as Sede Vacant-ists will be saved and those who compromise with these AntiChrist popes will be lost. “The See of Peter and posts of authority in Rome being occupied by Anti-Christ’s.” Archbishop Lefebvre, August 19, 1987.(2)
The Church goes into the wilderness where it stays, (for the most part) until Christ returns. Apocalypse 12. And in Apocalypse 18: 4-5 it says, “Go out from her, MY people;…..For her sins have reached unto heaven.” Heaven on earth is the MASS.
So you have it my friends of the truth. The line of successors has been broken without any acceptable way to mend it. According to most Doctors of the Church the Great Apostasy lasts about 40 to 50 years and we are in the 49 year of the “Great Apostasy,” as of Nov.19 1969, which concludes with the Second Coming of Christ on that Last Pentecost Sunday.
Grace be with you, In Christ, Joseph
(1) The Book of Destiny, Fr. Herman Kramer. Pg. 321
(2) Catholic news June 1988 Catholic Encyclopedia 1912 under Infallibility and AntiChrist.