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Orthodox Sedevacantists?

By John C. Pontrello (July 2018)

Over the past few years, the Sedevacantist establishment has been busy trying to defend their invisible Church ecclesiology and their papacy of desire. First, they were in a war with John Salza and Robert Siscoe, the authors of “True or False Pope?” For the time being there appears to be a cease-fire between the two rival schismatic sects but if Salza and Siscoe ever get around to releasing a second edition of their book it will be game on.

More recently, the Sedes have been on the offense against Orthodox Christianity. This is interesting because although the Sedes are warring tribes, they are not known for picking fights with Orthodox Christians. So what is changing? What is changing is that many traditional Catholics are finally waking up to the fact that they have been burned three times- first by Vatican II, second by traditional Catholicism, and finally by Roman Catholicism. Many of these people are wisely bypassing the Protestant temptation and going back in time to discover Orthodox Christianity. This most recent effort by the Sedes against Orthodox Christianity is a fairly reliable indication that they are suffering significant losses to the Orthodox “schismatics” among their ranks and they are forced to respond. That is what we are now seeing. Obviously, not everything is ok in Trad fantasy-land and the “Greek schismatics” have become their latest target. This got me thinking. Even if Sedevacantists could succeed in refuting Orthodox Christianity, what good would that do them? Sedes will just have to go back further than the East/West schism to find the “true” Church of Christ. Good luck with that. Thankfully, most Sedes today will be gone in a few years; the virus just has to run its course. Not only is there underwhelming historical evidence to support the papacy but also there were no “Sedevacantists” until after Vatican 2. In fact, the Sede Virus didn’t officially arrive on the scene until the late 1960s with homosexual playboy drug addict cult leader Francis Konrad Schuckardt (former self-constituted leader of today’s CMRI). “Bishop” Francis was one of the first to declare the Holy See vacant. No surprise, he went on to declare himself “pope.” Great start for the Sede Virus and of course, many more followed his lead. Wait a second; did I say Sedevacantism did not even exist until the post Vatican 2 era? You bet I did. How on earth could that be if Jesus instituted the papacy?

Some Orthodox Christians have attempted to refute Sedes by declaring that Orthodox Christians were Sedevacantists more than 914 years ago. Actually, I have been guilty of this mistaken comparison myself due to the fact that both Orthodox Christians & Sedevacantists share in common a rejection of the papacy for its heresies. Some Orthodox Christians will say in response to their antagonistic Sede “welcome to the club, we’ve been Sedes for the past 1,000 years.” But is that true? Were Orthodox Christians really Sedevacantists almost one thousand years before the post Vatican II era? Let’s go back to the great AD 1054 schism between East and Rome since that should be the logical starting place for Protestants and Roman Catholics. From an Orthodox Christian perspective, the see of Rome fell into heresy and the pope became a heretic but something is missing. Can you spot it? How about there were no Sedevacantists! Think about that for a moment. Shouldn’t all Orthodox Christians have declared that the Catholic Church was in an emergency crisis due to a state of interregnum from at least AD 1054? Surely, there must have been numerous Eastern conclaves with the intent of “filling the vacancy of Peter’s Chair.” Do we find any? Not even one. To emphasize the significance of this, remember that the Sedevacantists have recorded more than 30 antipopes in 50 years. That’s six tenths of an antipope per year. At that rate, there should have been approximately 600 Orthodox Christian initiated antipopes and yet we don’t find a single one in the past 1,000 years. Really? But there is more. Why didn’t Orthodox Christians claim that their ordained hierarchy only functioned because of supplied jurisdiction due to the “crisis of the Holy See?” And what about epikeia? Where is that term or its Greek counterpart economia used in relation to the apostasy of Rome after 1054? And shouldn’t Orthodox clergy have set up resistance churches and engaged in endless negotiations with Rome all while disclaiming their own authority due to the absence of a “Vicar of Christ?” To go even further, where were Orthodox "Una Cum" Roman Pope Liturgies or R & R (Recognize and Resist) Orthodox Christians? Where are they today? Starting to get the point? If you're a Sede wake up man.

The fact is Orthodox Christians never thought of the Church as enduring a state of interregnum but they definitely should have if the papacy were the real foundation of Christ’s Church. There is just no way that faithful Christians of the East could have missed the great “papal interregnum” that should have begun in AD 1054 and continued to the present day. The point is all Orthodox Christians would have been Sedevacantists or at least R & R Orthodox but they never were and that is to say nothing for other Christian splinter groups prior to the East / West schism. Surely, if the papacy were the true foundation of the Church, the Sede Virus would have reared its ugly head as early as the Book of Acts. Never happened. And the reason is simple: the Sede Virus is the culmination of Roman Catholic heresies dating more than 1,000 years. For Thomists out there, the formula might go something like this: Vatican Council 1 minus Vatican Council 2 plus Pope Francis Schuckardt= Sedevacantism. Sadly, many of today’s newbie Sedes have no clue that Pope Francis Bergolio had a predecessor- Pope Francis Schuckardt. The only reason Pope Francis Schuckardt’s pontificate didn’t fly with his disciples is because he got caught liking Dick and Jane a little too much and the ensuing rebellion instigated by members of the "compound" culminated with a shootout that was picked up by mainstream media. As the pressure mounted, Pope Francis Schuckardt took his guns and loot and ran for the hills. Otherwise, Pope Francis 1’s legacy would include papal successors to the "Chair of Spokane."

The next time Orthodox Christians are challenged by anyone infected with the Sede Virus, I hope they will realize why comparing Orthodox Christians to Sedevacantists is an affront to Orthodox Christians spanning 2,000 years. While both groups reject the papacy, Orthodox Christians do so without any papist baggage. In my next piece, I’m going to talk about the upcoming Sede conclave. If you're a Sede, save your money.

John C. Pontrello

John C. Pontrello is a former Sedevacantist activist and seminarian in a traditional Catholic religious community. Prior to his association with traditional Catholicism, he managed an investment planning practice for many years. He currently resides in Western New York. His book entitled "The Sedevacantist Delusion: Why Vatican II's Clash with Sedevacantism Supports Eastern Orthodoxy" can be purchased through Amazon.com and is highly recommended.

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