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The Upcoming Sede Conclave

By John C. Pontrello (August 2018)

Introduction: This is a follow-up to "Orthodox Sedevacantists?"

I used to be more sympathetic to the Sedevacantists but something inside me is changing. Maybe it is the anonymous Sedes who send me the same old material and threaten me with damnation that makes me want to see all Sedevacantists rounded up, shipped off to Paraguay, and banned from interacting with other human life. In Paraguay, they can set up their own holy sees and live happily ever after… until some Sede sacks another Sede village, loots its wealth, rapes the women, slave-traffics the children, burns the heretics, steals the land, and supplants their own bishop in the newly conquered see- all in God’s name. That would never happen right?

Although a mass deportation of Sedevacantists to Paraguay seems like a fine idea, we don’t even have to go that far to rid the world of one of Christianity’s most obnoxious fundamentalist religious sects. Thankfully, there are ways to kill this virus. This piece will cover one.

In March, I received a lengthy email from a Conclavist. A Conclavist is a Sedevacantist who thinks the Sedevacantists must assemble in conclave and elect a pope. I sort of like Conclavists because these people are all about action. Unlike most Sedes who remain contented with their self-constituted Latin Mass Clubs, Conclavists are genuinely discontented with the state of affairs of the Roman Catholic Church and they demand a serious resolution to the perceived crisis of the Holy See. Most Conclavists rightfully place the responsibility upon the Sedevacantist bishops (men who snatched the sacrament of Holy Orders) whom they believe comprise the true remnant impotent hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Now the Conclavists want them to perform and who can blame them? Well, not me. There is no argument from me that the Sede bishops ought to be held accountable for doing pretty much nothing for 50 years.

The sincere and passionate Conclavist who wrote to me was annoyed that I didn’t give the Conclavists the same attention that I gave the R & R traditionalists and the Sedes in my other writings. It was very important for him that the Conclavists be distinguished from these two traditionalist groups and given equal status. At first, I wanted to dismiss him but as I read his lengthy email, I began to find myself agreeing with him on a number of points. Then it dawned on me; this is Conclavism’s moment to shine. After decades of obsessing over the Vatican II modernists and continuous ranting, whining, and proselytizing for an essentially non-existent Church, the Sedevacantists, who see themselves as the remnant Catholic Church, need to put up or shut up. That is why I support the Conclavists. In fact, Conclavism is the dirty little secret that the Sede establishment would like to keep shelved but I think it is time for this movement to take center stage in the Traditional Catholic world. With enough support, Conclavism can wipe out a large percentage of the Sede Virus with one action. What action?

Imperfect Council

Anyone who has followed the Sede movement for any length of time has heard this term thrown around forums. According to theologians such as Cajetan, an Imperfect Council (which does not include the pope) may be called under the following circumstances: “when there is a single heretical pope to be deposed or when there are several doubtful supreme pontiffs.” At least one theologian speculated on what would happen if an enemy wiped out the pope and the College of Cardinals at the Vatican. According to that theologian, if that were to happen, the responsibility for electing a pope would fall to the Roman clergy. Yet, according to the Sedevacantists there are no Roman clergy because they all defected to the “Novus Ordo Sect.” For the moment, I will ignore the fact that defection of the Holy See equates to defection of the Roman Catholic Church. What is important is that the Sedevacantists insist that their bishops are the successors of the Apostles and that the responsibility of electing the next pope devolves to them. Excellent. This is what I wanted to know. Let us see if they can prove it.

Interestingly, although the Sedes have had conclaves in the past, none of their pope products has stuck. When asked why, they claim that none of their past elections were legitimate because they were not “Imperfect General Councils.” From what I have gathered from Sedes themselves, an Imperfect General Council must include an assembly of Sedevacantist bishops from around the world. Very well then, let us get on to business. I thank the Sedes for claiming that they have the authority to elect a pope and restore the See of Rome. I also thank them for telling us how it must be executed. This is really everything I need to know. Traditional Catholics are you hearing this? This is the good news you have been waiting for. No more suffering. No more fighting and bickering. No more driving 150 miles one-way for Mass. No more garage and hotel Masses. No more pope pretenders ruling the “pseudo” Catholic Church. No more mocking and obsessing over Francis and the “Novus Ordo sect.” The Sedes can call an Imperfect Council and bring an end to fifty years of chaos and confusion.

If you are a Sede, it is important that you understand that Cajetan’s conditions have been met. Therefore, the Sedevacantists are obliged to hold this council and elect the next “true” Vicar of Christ as soon as yesterday. So what is the problem? Why haven’t we seen this Imperfect Council yet?

I wrote this piece to shine the spotlight on Conclavism. The importance of the Conclavists cannot be understated. In fact, I want to help the Conclavists by inviting the Sedes (and a whole bunch of heretics as advisors and observers) to participate in the upcoming Sede Conclave. Since none of the current Sede bishops has shown any inclination to put their Latin Mass Clubs on hold for the good of the Church Universal and call this conclave, I have decided to step up to the plate and do it myself. The where and when are yet to be determined, but I am seriously considering holding it at my house. I’ll have to clear this with my wife first, but if she is OK with it then I will proceed with organizing the event.

So why would any Orthodox Christian be interested in helping the Sedevacantists hold an Imperfect Council? Three reasons. First, Orthodox Christians are criticized by traditional Roman Catholics for not proselytizing and making converts in the US. I hear them. The outcome of a Sede Imperfect Council will make many new converts to Orthodox Christianity. Second, the people infected with the Sede Virus need help and sometimes the best way to help delusional people is to play along. Third, I believe that a properly executed Sede Imperfect Council can bring about Sedevacantism’s demise faster than any of the schismatic sect’s enemies ever could. In other words, if this council is executed correctly it can kill the Sede Virus.

Who will attend?

To answer this question we have to consider at least two of the reasons why this Imperfect Council hasn’t already happened in 50 years. At the top of the list is the fact that Sedevacantism is a religion that doesn’t require a pope… or a living magisterium, a holy see, apostolic authority, a visible body, Rome, etc. From a Sede perspective, “why mess up a good thing?” The truth is many Sedes have nice little gigs set up for themselves. Some of these people have made names for themselves; donations come in; books, pamphlets and DVDS are selling and they are viewed as superheroes among their disciples. This is important stuff to these kinds of personalities and they really do not want their interests threatened by Conclavists. That is why some Sedes (I won’t mention names) will always, always find fault with any Sede bishop or priest who comes along. It is just a matter of time. You see, if the Sede establishment cannot find some heresy with which to hang their competition on, they will invent one. Otherwise, all Sedes would have to submit to other Sedes and support the upcoming Sede conclave. This would be very bad for business.

Another important reason why the Sedes have not assembled an Imperfect Council is that they know that every time the Sedevacantists produce another “pope” they expose Sedevacantism as the farce it is. Therefore, the longer the Sedes can continue their charade the better for them. The Sede establishment is bright enough to know that they cannot really elect a true pope but too bad for them. They, in virtue of their self-constituted bishops with miters and dainty lacy gloves, must be called out on it now. The restoration of the Holy See in Rome is the only answer for these people and deep down they know it. That is why no Sede should let the Sedevacantist bishops off the hook for holding this council now.

Every Sede must get on board with Conclavism and force the election of a pope in an Imperfect Council and no one should support any Sede who refuses to participate. Do not attend their Masses, do not request their sacraments or prayers, do not circulate their materials, and most of all do not give them as much as a dime. "No Pope? - No money" should be the motto of Sedevacantists everywhere. Instead, the Sedes will be invited to contribute to a new fund drive for the upcoming Sede Conclave. Stay tuned for details.

As for the conclave? When the Sedes prove they cannot elect a true Vicar of Christ (either by failing to hold this Imperfect Council or by actually producing the 35th Sede antipope) they will also prove that nobody should ever be a Sedevacantist again. And that is where many new Orthodox Christian converts will be made.

I wish I could say that an Imperfect Council will spell the end for the Sede Virus but that would be naïve on my part. Note well that even after an Imperfect Council, the work of eradicating the Sede Virus will not be finished. One thing we have learned from history is that heresies never die completely. With this one, we are dealing with a crafty virus. Upon threat of extinction by way of Conclavism, the Sede Virus will mutate into other strains such as "Sedeprivationism." I wrote about Sedeprivationism or “Partial Pope Theory” in my article “Full or Partial Pope?” Indeed, with pressure mounting by Conclavists, Sedeprivationists are on the rise. This idiotic theory serves as an escape clause for the Sede Virus and I will probably have more to say on it after the upcoming Sede election. Nevertheless, an Imperfect Council will cure many infected people and that is what is important.


The next time a Sede gets in your face and tries to convert you to their non-existent church, help them out by inviting them to the upcoming Sede conclave. Tell them you’d be glad to join their invisible church if they can elect a Vicar of Christ and restore the Holy See first. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The papacy is the foundation of the Roman Church not the faith of the Fathers. Hey, as a recovered traditional Catholic, I know how it feels when a pope goes ahead and unilaterally changes the faith. But that is Roman Catholicism at least since the addition of the Filioque ten centuries ago.

Anyone interested in supporting the upcoming Sede conclave can write to me at John@thesedevacantistdelusion.com.

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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