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Can You Be Both a Catholic and a Sedevacantist? Q: I have recently become friends with someone who follows Sedevacantism. It has provided an opportunity for me to be challenged to more fully understand …More
Can You Be Both a Catholic and a Sedevacantist?

Q: I have recently become friends with someone who follows Sedevacantism. It has provided an opportunity for
me to be challenged to more fully understand church teaching. Would you consider sharing your wisdom and
expertise to explain why Sedevacantism is heretical? –Sarah
A: A tiny but consistent minority of Catholics would identify themselves as sedevacantists, and it’s a
phenomenon that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. Let’s take a look at what the term actually
means, and then we’ll see how its proponents fit (or don’t) into the universal Catholic Church.
The English word “sedevacantist” comes from the Latin phrase sede vacante (“the seat being vacant”), which is
commonly used during those infrequent periods when there is no Pope. After a Pope dies—or as we saw rather
recently, if he resigns his office—there is a brief span before a conclave starts and a new Pope is elected. During
that time, nobody would disagree that the papal seat really is vacant; but once the Cardinals elect a man who
accepts the office of Pope, the seat isn’t vacant any more. As we saw back in “Canon Law and the Upcoming
Conclave,” canon 332.1 notes that when the Cardinals in conclave have lawfully elected a man who has been
consecrated a bishop, he becomes Pope the moment he accepts the election. From that point on, the seat is
filled until the new Pope either dies or resigns. Catholics ordinarily take this for granted, even if they don’t fully
understand all the details.
But sedevacantists are Catholics who think that there currently is no Pope, and therefore “the seat is vacant.”
That obviously means that they believe Francis is not really Pope today—and in years gone by, there have been
sedevacantists who insisted that Benedict XVI was not a valid Pope, while others said that Saint John Paul II was
an imposter Pope, and still others have held that there has been no Pope since Pius XII died back in 1958.

The full debate on the question in the .pdf uploaded.

Source:
Can You Be Both a Catholic and a Sedevacantist?