John of St. Thomas on Sedevacantism
“De Auctoritate Summi Pontificis”Disputatio III, Articulus IIXVII De Depositione Papae & Seq.
I hope this can be of some help to the scholarly sedevacantists. Me? It is enough to follow the teaching and example of Archbishop LeFebvre who spoke in the name of Christ in His Church.
Sedevacantists often refer to two 1986 talks of Archbishop Lefebvre (found in the July 1986 issue of the Angelus) to try to prove that the Archbishop's position on sedevacantism changed over time. They caim that his thinking progressed on the matter and that by 1986, he came close to sedevacantism. Here are two quotes of the Archbishop AFTER 1986, which show that he was still against sedevacantism towards the end of his life.
1. Excerpt from Archbishop Lefebvre’s conference in Flavigny, December 1988 – Fideliter March/April 1989
"So what is our attitude? It is clear that all those who are leaving us or who have left us for sedevacantism or because they want to be submitted to the present hierarchy of the Church all the while hoping to keep Tradition, we cannot have relations with them anymore. It is not possible.
"Us, we say that we cannot be submitted to the ecclesiastical authority and keep Tradition. They say the opposite. They are deceiving the faithful. Despite the esteem we may have for them, there is of course no question of insulting them, but we do not want to engage in polemics and we prefer not to deal with them anymore. It is a sacrifice we have to make. But it did not start today, it has been going on for twenty years.
"All those who separate from us, we are very affected by it, but we really cannot make another choice if we want to keep Tradition. We must be free from compromise as much with regard to sedevacantists as with regard to those who absolutely want to be submitted to the ecclesiastical authority.”
2. Archbishop Lefebvre, Priests’ Retreat, 1989
“I think, nevertheless, that we need a tie with Rome. It is still there in Rome where we find the succession of Peter, the succession of the apostles, of the apostle Peter, of the primacy of Peter and of the Church. If we cut this tie, we are really like a boat which is cast off to the mercy of the waves, without knowing anymore to which place we are attached and to whom we are attached. I think it is possible to see in the person who succeeds all the preceding popes, since if he occupies the seat, he was accepted as Bishop of Rome at Saint John Lateran.
"Now it is the Bishop of Rome who is the successor of Peter, he is recognized as successor of Peter by all the bishops of the world. Good! What do you want? We can believe that he is really the successor of Peter! And in this sense, we attach ourselves to him and through him to all his predecessors, ontologically, if I may say. And then, his actions, what he does, what he thinks, and the ideas he spreads, it is another thing, of course. It is a great sorrow for the Catholic Church, for us, that we have to observe such a thing. But I think that it is the solution that corresponds to reality.
"The solution of sedevacantism is not a solution: it poses a lot of problems, because if since Pope Paul VI there were no popes, then all the cardinals that were made by these popes are invalidly made; so the votes they made as cardinals, members of the Conclave, are void; and who will then re-establish the tie with John XXIII?; and even if we think that John XXIII wasn’t pope either, then we have to go back to Pius XII. Who is going to re-establish the tie? Because if these cardinals were invalidly-made cardinals, they cannot elect the future Pope. Who is going to designate the new pope? We are completely lost! It is not surprising that in these circles there have been groups that have made a pope. It is logical. Let us keep a little the solution of common sense and the solution that the faithful inspire in us.
"Every time that there were stories of sedevacantism that caused a little trouble in the Society, I must say, well, on the whole, we can say that the faithful did not follow. These faithful followed us, followed the solution of the Society, And I think that if one day we all of a sudden took the decision - the authorities of the Society, the majority of priests – and said “it is clear now, we affirm that there is no Pope,” the faithful would not follow us. Most of the faithful would not follow us! With good reason. Look at Bordeaux for example, when Fr. Guepin left with Father Belmont, well they thought that they were going take two-thirds of the parish with them. They had two or three families, that’s all. No, no! The faithful have the sense of the faith. See how they reacted to the episcopal consecrations. The faithful have the sense of the faith. They have good sense and the sense of the faith. We can rely on the judgment of our good Christians, our good faithful.”
Read more: Post-1986 Quotes of the Archbishop against Sedevacantism