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The Sede Virus - Part I

By John C. Pontrello (September 2018)


I began writing this over a year and a half ago and then walked away from it. My reluctance to finish and publish was due to mixed feelings. On one hand, I’ve never been comfortable categorizing all Sedevacantists together. First, I still have some Sede friends. Second, I respect and admire some of the movement’s pioneers, many of whom did not know the term “Sedevacantist” and would have rejected it on the grounds that they were just Catholics doing what the Church taught them to do. Unlike most of today’s Sedevacantists, those people suffered through the Vatican II revolution and experienced the chaos and betrayal first hand. I tip my hat to the clergy who found themselves without a place to exercise their priestly ministries, the faithful who hung in there with them in garages, hotel rooms, and other makeshift chapels, and lastly, the wisest of the lot who came to realize that the traditional Catholic movement was hijacked and that staying home on Sundays was the safest choice.

On the other hand, there are more than 30,000 Christian denominations including several new ones that still think they are Roman Catholic. My hope is that readers will realize to what extent the papacy is responsible for this, not Luther. In modern times, the Roman Church’s Vatican II spawned a new era of schism comprised of those who call themselves "traditional Catholic." This movement is a dangerous, destructive conglomeration of sects, personality cults, false prophets, and charlatans. It was necessary that the real cause of this insanity be identified and on August 22, 2015, I published my book implicating the Roman papacy. I wrote this piece for friends and family of anyone afflicted with one of Rome's most obnoxious schizoid-creations to date.

The Sede Virus

The Sedevacantist movement has enjoyed resurgence during the pontificate of Pope Francis and not just because more people are realizing that a public modernist globalist communist pedophile protecting heretic isn’t supposed to be the pope. The Sede Virus is spreading because that’s what communicable diseases do. I know the virus well; I once suffered from it. I know where it comes from and I know how to kill it.

In recent times some big names in Catholic apologetics stepped up to try to defeat the Sede Virus once and for all. The mission failed. As Protestants erased tradition in attempt to liberate themselves from the papacy, Catholics who try to liberate themselves from the Sede Virus must also erase their own foundation. Their problem is that the virus proceeds from the papacy.

Sedevacantism flirts close to the whole truth about what happened to the Roman Church after Vatican II. As I state in almost all of my writings, the truth is the Roman Church defected and failed according to its own terms. While all brands of traditional Catholicism deserve credit for exposing the defection, the Sedevacantists stand apart as the sect that consistently proves it. Remember, the Sedevacantist position is the only traditionalist position that allows one to say with a straight face that if the Vatican II Church were still the true Roman Catholic Church then it would have defected. To this extent Sedevacantism has done important work but its useful life has expired.

Occasionally, persons infected with an aggressive strain of the Sede Virus threaten me. Although they have not read my book they are always motivated to present “crucial material” concerning their end-times invisible church and their Papacy of Desire and warn me about what happens to faithless reprobates who write books for Satan. Some readers will be able to identify this strain as deriving from a certain Sede laboratory located in Upstate NY. This common strain never fails to manifest the gamut of the disease’s toxicity and it also presents the most compelling reasons for widespread dissemination of a cure. Later, I will get into the cure and how it should be administered to the infected. First, let’s learn some things about this virus.

Like most viruses, the Sede Virus is contagious. Make no mistake; some gifted minds have succumbed to it. One reason is that the virus does an effective job of masking Rome's defection. All it takes is opposition to Vatican II and an ardent desire to uphold some select doctrines on the papacy and one is immediately at risk. Therefore, Catholics should carefully discern which spirit lurks behind the movement, good or evil, before allowing themselves to be taken in by the truthful aspects of the information with which the disease is cleverly concealed. This is an important step because good people have been and continue to be maimed by the self-constituted charlatans who peddle the virus or function as handlers of victims. Knowing what to look for in advance can prevent the rape and pillage of well-meaning people. There are several common symptoms that identify a serious underlying spiritual malady among the infected and it is important to recognize them. Following are five of the Sede Virus’ most toxic symptoms and a few insights into their causes.


Hysteria is often the first identifiable sign of infection. Victims are notably fearful and panicked. Hyperbole and melodramatic language often introduces their “critical” “urgent” conversion message that centers on the “crucial” state of the Catholic Church & the world, the death and destruction soon to follow, and of course, acceptance of their religion as the only hope.

In general, there are three causes of hysteria following infection. First, victims perceive (correctly) most of the things that constitute defection of the “one true Church” as defined by the same. So far so good. However, because “the one true Church cannot defect” they are forced to draw another conclusion from the evidence. Although all Sedevacantists try to hide the defection under the misnomer “papal interregnum”, the problem remains unresolved in that all the matching characteristics of defection are still present. What could this possibly mean? Since these could never concur with a real papal interregnum, the infected are forced to arrive at a more acceptable conclusion - 1. THE WORLD IS ABOUT TO END.

The second cause of hysteria stems from the Roman dogma “No salvation outside the (Roman) Church.” Once upon a time, the dogma meant that all heretics, schismatics, and unbaptized persons go to hell and now the Sedevacantists have arrogated the dogma to their religions. Since, to most traditional Sedevacantists a heretic, schismatic, and non-Christian is just about everyone else, including Sedevacantists from rival tribes, this means that ... 2. Everyone is going to hell unless the Sede acts quickly and does something about it!

The third cause of hysteria is 3. God has been trying to kill us since Vatican II. Here, Roman Catholicism’s juridical notions of sin, redemption, and salvation serve as the basis for conceptualizing a vindictive punishing God who came to earth not as physician for the sick but as executioner of sinners. At this point God intends to wipe us all out. It is the case that all traditional Catholics expect retribution for the present condition of the world as the consequence of divine justice. In other words, a serious crime was committed and punishment must follow. In fact, many alleged 20th Century Marian apparitions carry this theme. As an example, one popular belief that emanated from yet another so-called Marian apparition is that God has been trying to hurl a comet at earth. This would have already occurred were it not for the Roman goddess Mary restraining God the Father’s arm and thwarting the plan.

Note: In Roman Catholicism, Mary has come a long way from the humble obedient handmaiden in the Gospel and still recognized by all Orthodox Christians today. Here we find that a clash of wills exists between God and Mary as illustrated by the need or desire to "restrain or hold back God’s arm.” That the Mother of God does not always have uniformity with the Divine Will is a logical outcome of Roman Catholicism’s Marian doctrines that has essentially given her godlike status of her own. This conception of Mary is a radical deviation from Orthodoxy.

Note: As another example of how far some Sedes will go in their juridical notions of crime and punishment, it has even been suggested by one extreme Sede sect (the same idiots referred to above) that a certain professional sports team’s loss was caused by a player coming out publicly as a homosexual. That particular personality cult believes that God intervened and caused the team to lose a game as a form of retribution for the sins of one of its players.

Hysteria eventually drives some Sedevacantists to pray a hundred rosaries per day (Mary will protect us from God’s wrath), consume large quantities of vitamins, build basement bunkers and hoard survival items like bottled water, canned food, precious metals, and weapons for the imminent apocalypse. This symptom necessarily leads to the next one.


If you believed the world is about to end, everyone is going to hell, and God has a hankering to kill us, you would feel despair too. We must remember that the Sedevacantists, in virtue of their beliefs, must contend with all of the things that constitute defection of the one true Church. These devastating losses do include essential constitutional components of the Roman Catholic Church (papacy, living magisterium, priesthood, sacraments, authority, jurisdiction, etc.) and leaves them without the Church’s material foundation. And if all that isn't enough there is another factor that contributes to despair- they remain hopelessly enslaved by their worst enemy. In the real world, we can separate ourselves from invalidating and abusive people and make healthier relationship choices but this option is not on the table for one who holds the Sedevacantist position. In fact, despair is one of the five viral symptoms because the infected belong (invisibly) to the system of papacy, which repeatedly kicks them in the teeth. For the same reason battered women return to their abusive partners, Sedevacantists return to theirs. It is an ongoing abusive love-hate relationship.

As a consequence of despair, those with the Sede Virus are drawn to negativity. The virus itself thrives on fear & pessimism while its peddlers and handlers exploit these things for personal gain. Remember, to a Sedevacantist, negative news is additional confirmation that the world is about to end. Non-infected persons must recognize the condition of despair in those with the Sede Virus and remember that those who truly dwell in Christ joyfully carry their crosses with faith, hope, and love. Unlike the signs and effects of the Holy Spirit, the Sede Virus exudes toxicity.


The state of being “fanatical” is defined as “motivated or characterized by an extreme, uncritical enthusiasm or zeal, as in religion or politics; rabid.” (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/fanatical). The key word in this definition is “uncritical”. What makes the Sede Virus dangerous is not the enthusiasm of its victims but rather their uncritical zeal for a defunct church.

The Sede Virus excites the passions, which in turn interrupts the infected person's ability to think critically about the contradictory positions he or she is forced to hold. An example is how Sedevacantists relentlessly try to convert non-members to a Roman Catholic Church that hasn’t been seen since the mid-1950s. To a Sedevacantist this is no contradiction. Moreover, an infected individual’s extreme religiosity, dogmatic rigidity, and intense scrupulosity make real communication with him or her extremely difficult.

One of the problems with eradicating the virus is that the Sedevacantists’ beliefs do not materialize out of thin air; they often have their basis in past teachings and practices of the Roman Church. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola will help us understand the virus. Loyola wrote, “We should always be prepared so as never to err to believe that what I see as white is black, if the hierarchic Church defines it thus.” This teaching, along with a few beauties from Boniface VIII, Eugene IV, Pius IX, and Leo XIII remains part of the immovable foundation of the Sede Virus.

Make no mistake, aside from the movement’s exploiters and opportunists, Sedevacantists are dead serious about their status as the one true Church and often look upon non-members with contempt. Consequently, Sedevacantists have been known to commit outrageous crimes and moral injustices against other human beings who do not share their imaginary status. How could this be? Once again, we turn to the papacy for the answer, which taught, “Error has no rights.” As this teaching remains one of the pillars of the Sedevacantists, the problem should leap off the page. To a Sedevacantist, everyone outside of his or her sect is in error and if the Sedevacantist personally judges them culpable for their errors, they will be considered heretics who are outside the Church, have no rights, and deserve death. Death? Yes, because it is better to kill a heretic than allow him to corrupt the faith. It is that very notion which led to the murderous inquisitions as well as the sacking of Orthodox Christian Constantinople during the 4th Papal Crusade (Papist historians claim this blood bath was accidental). Now consider this gem: “That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.” – CONDEMNED (Pope Leo X, Exsurge Domine, The Errors of Martin Luther). Interestingly, Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, never forced people to believe in him but the papacy thought it was a great idea because nothing demonstrates the Gospel message better than a good human torching. Traditional Sedevacantists, as opposed to the liberal Sedevacantists and Partial Pope Theorists (AKA Sedeprivationists), are fast to remind their audiences that the Church never officially rescinded its teaching on the kindness of burning heretics. Why do Sedevacantists point this out? Because they think it should be enforced! While good sense and natural empathy compel a normal person to recoil at the thought of torturing human beings, individuals who contract the Sede Virus and learn the Church's teachings on such things (Exsurge Domine, Ad Extirpanda, etc.) will manually override their consciences and conform to the man-made office of the papacy. For that reason, there are Sedevacantists who anxiously await the restoration of the papacy so that the papacy can restore the inquisitions. Readers who think I exaggerate do not yet understand the Sede Virus.

Note: It is a common practice of Sedevacantists to assume the role of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition AKA the Holy Office or Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Peddlers of the virus will often send their “materials” along with formal warnings to traditional Catholics whom they deem heretics and give them a certain amount of time to retract their errors before “exposing” them publicly. This lunacy of traditional Catholics “exposing” one another has been going on for decades. My intentions have been to demonstrate how the same papacy "exposes" them.

Sedevacantists are fanatical about being Sedevacantists. Because they are the "end-times remnant true Church," they perceive their duty is to convert the world to their invisible and unauthorized Churches and if force were still an option they would employ those means.


The fourth symptom is withdrawal from the world. Those who contract the virus will withdraw from all of the things that used to be near and dear. But note well, this withdrawal is not like that of the great monastics and ascetics who voluntarily walked away from the world to pursue spiritual things in place of worldly things. Rather the afflicted are forced into social isolation because of their absurd dead-end positions. You see, when everyone in the world belongs to a false church except yourself and the few who share your special status as the end-times elect, a host of social problems do follow.

The problem is that the Sedevacantists have never possessed the Roman Church's actual foundation in the papacy. Never mind that what was allegedly instituted by Christ should never be lacking, once the rule for unities in faith and communion has been stripped from Roman Catholicism, the new rule becomes every man for himself. This opens the door wide open for endless schisms, self-appointed leaders, and mind control cults that dominate traditional Catholicism today. Did we see something with the Protestants after the Reformation? Yes we did. Did the Protestants argue they were upholding correct teaching via the Scriptures? Yes of course they did. In a similar fashion, the Sedevacantists continue splintering into cultish sects and the reason is identical as that of the Protestants–wrong foundations. For the Sedevacantists it is the papacy (of desire) and its book of dogmas and for the Protestants it is Sola Scriptura. Because both foundations are incorrect, their basis for orthodoxy and heterodoxy becomes subject to the minds and whims of unauthorized individuals. Consequently, as is consistent with all religious cults, the Sedevacantists suffer the loss of their Roman Catholic Church but also their friends, families, & colleagues. For a Sedevacantist there is no place safe to go.

In conclusion, the people infected with the Sede Virus are forced into unnecessary isolation because they fail to identify the real cause of their problem. The Roman papacy, now reduced to a theoretical concept, forces the Sedevacantists into doctrinal and social dead ends. In the next and final symptom of the Sede Virus, we will see where this ends.


The fifth and final symptom of the Sede Virus is delusion. This means the infected victims have unrealistic or out of touch thinking about themselves and the world in general. Every Sede is delusional; it is only a matter of degree. For example, all Sedevacantists believe they are the remnant true Roman Church last formally recognized in 1958 or prior (e.g., 1951, 1914, etc.). Another example is that all Sedevacantists believe the Roman Church is currently experiencing a papal interregnum.

Delusions may start harmless but they often rise to dangerous levels as Sedevacantists begin to believe they are God’s chosen “elect” commissioned to save the Church and the world. Many of them believe they are especially appointed to do God’s work. As the disease worsens, some will become end-times false prophets and visionaries. Signs will be seen everywhere and reported by the false prophets as the event marking the reign of the Antichrist. From Y2K or lightning strikes at the Vatican to the latest hurricane, Sede false prophets have continued to read into events with stunning inaccuracy. Still, others will organize conclaves in order to force the end of the imaginary papal interregnum. As we just saw in the last symptom, many will withdraw from the world in anticipation of Jesus or St. John the Evangelist crowning a “true” pope. Others will become biblical characters (e.g., Enoch & Elias) themselves. Last, some Sedes will become popes by way of miraculous private revelation. All of these things have occurred and will continue to occur among the various Sedevacantist sects. This will remain the Sede Virus' legacy. To date there have been more than 30 antipopes courtesy of the Sedevacantists and more are certain to follow because there will always be a few bent noodles who correctly conclude that their movement has no right to exist without the papacy and they will see no other choice but to restore it themselves.

Each of the above five symptoms worsens with time (the disease’s progression) and makes communication with infected persons extremely difficult. Nevertheless, this virus can be cured. In the next segment, I will explain how.

End Part 1

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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