Sedevacantism means empty chair.    Some who claim to be Catholics hold that the Church has elected fake popes.  Traditionally the pope can have a rival but here it is claimed that there may be no rival and yet the pope may not be really pope.

Conclavists are those Sedevacantists who believe in working towards appointing a new pope of their own in opposition to the pope in the Vatican. They consider him to be an apostate and a fake and not a real pope at all. Some say the pope can only be elected by a revelation from Heaven. Some say the pope can only be elected by the laity for there are no true cardinals left to perform an election of the pope. Others say they hope that the Vatican will convert and that God will make it choose a true pope and restore its power to.
It is surprising that the Protestant Reformers didn’t attempt to put a Protestant pope in Rome to rival the Catholic one. Many Protestants thought that the Bible said that the successor of Peter was head of the Church. They rejected the pope because they believed he was a heretic because the pope exists for the faith and not the faith for the pope. They could have argued that say Leo X was a heretic for opposing the reformation and upon his death claimed the right to correct this by electing a Protestant ecclesiastic to take his place.

The Reformers probably saw from the Bible that the pope was just the creation of ambitious religious liars who abused the Bible and tradition.
Jesus appearing to appoint the true pope is one way the papacy could be restored, only the Church teaches that until Jesus returns in the second coming there will be no new revelations equal to tradition and scripture and for a revelation to make a new pope it would have to be of that standard and be an addition to the Bible. Logic would say that if the cardinals are all lost to the Church that this is only a disciplinary rule anyway for many popes in the first millennium were elected by priests and the people so the group believing itself to be the embodiment of the true Catholic Church can create and elect a new pope without having cardinals. Another option is to say that the Church has been run at times without a pope and depended on the teaching of dead popes so it can do it now. The pope has seen his role as rock chiefly in terms of teaching so not having a pope is not the end of the world. This view contradicts the Catholic interpretation of Jesus telling Peter that he was the rock indicating that if he meant to make Peter a pope then Peter or a pope could not possibly be done without. Many of the supporters of election from Heaven say that it is true that such a revelation can’t make a pope by itself but if the faithful accept what the revelation says about who should be pope that is what validates the election.
It seems that if the Church is in heresy and putting heretics on the chair of Peter to rule the Church that the next time there is a Vatican conclave to elect a pope what should be done is this. A faction of bishops would have to fight the Church on this through its courts and tribunals on the basis of canon law. If the Church wouldn’t give in, the bishops could declare all involved to be heretics and schismatics and excommunicate them. This way then the right of power would pass to this group who could then elect a new pope and declare the Vatican pope an antipope. It needs to be bishops and who are also involved in trying to correct the Church through the legal channels for it would be a serious problem if a group has to go to some sedevacantist or schismatical bishop to look for holy orders for only bishops can ordain and make new bishops. That would be against God’s law that you stay with the legitimate hierarchy. Even if the hierarchy are now heretics they still represent the visible Catholic Church. What we are trying to preserve is the visibility of the Church and it can only be done in the way we have outlined. The bishops could involve priests and laity but the bishops would have to be the leaders in the rival conclave. The pope used to be chosen by priests and laity. The group would have to be legally recognised by the Church as having serious points to make and a legitimate complainant. That would be the only way to stop just any group from getting together to elect a pope. If a bunch of laypeople can choose a pope as you see in the case of some of those fake popes going around then what mandate do they have to elect a pope? They need recognition from the Church and if the Church disobeys the law of God and defies them to the end only then can they proceed to elect a pope.
The conclave of bishops we were talking about need to get together and elect a pope before the Vatican does for the question of a visible Church means that if Rome gets there first then the pope it elects must be considered a true pope. This rival conclave would have more authority than the Vatican if it is orthodox. Divine law and reason decree that the papacy can be created this way in case of absolute necessity. The first pope to be elected this way would be the real pope and not the likes of Pius XIII and Michael I who based a lot of their claims on gossip about the Roman pontiffs being heretics and members of occult organisations and concluded that they were therefore antipopes.
So if the bishops set up a conclave then in opposition to the Vatican one, what will happen? The jurisdiction of the Church would be taken away from the Vatican and continued in the new pope elected in a rival conclave at the same time as the Vatican is holding its conclave and the visibility of the Church would be maintained. It is Catholic dogma that the visibility of the Church will never pass away even if an impostor Catholic Church and pope take over the Vatican so it must be plain that the visibility has switched to the rival conclave. The Church law currently says only cardinals can elect a pope but clearly if the cardinals and the pope were all nuclear bombed the archbishops and bishops would have to look for a new pope. The cardinals rule is only a disciplinary rule. It is possible that people who agree will find that there could be as many as ten rival conclaves at the one time in the future producing several rival popes so it does seem that if the college of cardinals disappears and fakes take their place that the papacy cannot be restored.
Anti-sedevacantists say that the biggest criticism of sedevacantism is how it opens the door to chaos and schism and disorder. The sedecantists are not one Church though they say the true Church is one so in their actions they deny that the Church is the united visible body of Christ on earth. If the authority of a Church that is drifting into apostasy can be transferred to a small conclave say in Berlin then how can you say the Church is visible for that would mean true Catholics won’t be in communion with the true pope for they won’t know about him? Is the idea that the power to elect a pope will transfer to a new conclave if the Vatican conclave is heretical and non-Catholic any help to visibility when it opens the door to chaos? God needs to keep things simple. If the Church and pope become heretical then they were never instituted and protected by God in the first place. It seems that the answer then if the Cardinals who are electing a new pope are mostly heretics and there is two or more cardinals who walk out and start their own conclave they would choose the true pope even if one just chooses the other as pope.


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