Although Teresa and I had discussed the notion of having a together blog before, and there was even a previous short lived attempt at one on the blogspot platform, the specific idea for this particular blog came about as a result of an encounter with a very smart sedevacantist, whose work I have admired for some time. That encounter almost cost me my own faith. It took some time (a few weeks), but I got through that ordeal. My faith had been shaken, but it did not collapse.
Sedevacantists are an odd lot. Finding any two of them who agree on very much other than the one thing that makes them all sedevancantists can be harder than you might imagine. I’ll be frank — many of them are nuts. And not in the charming, eccentric way that some lovable kooks are, but more like the dangerous type, certifiable, in need of being locked up. Ask a sedevacantist who he or she thinks was the last pope, and be prepared for almost any answer. For some, it is Paul VI, for others it is John XXIII, or one of the more recent Piuses XII, XI, or X. For a few, the vacancy extends back quite a bit farther, to Leo X or before. One person I corresponded with very briefly several years ago had ceased to be a sedevacantist, not because he came to his senses and accepted that the pope reigning at that time was the genuine successor of Peter, but because he became an anti-pope, taking it upon himself to have himself crowned (I have a sadly funny picture of him on my hard drive in which he is dressed in full papal regalia standing majestically by some chicken wire on some midwestern farm somewhere). As his arguments and opposition to previous claimants to the papacy progressed (i.e., as his madness worsened), and he tried to definitively determine who his most recent “predecessor” was, he found that he had serious doctrinal and moral misgivings about the legitimacy of each and every claimant to the papacy before him, all the way back to St. Peter himself!
Sedevacantists qualify as such by one and only one specific belief. I know of no other beliefs that they all tend to hold in common except perhaps some obvious ones of the Mere Christianity sort like the Trinity, the Incarnation, virginity of Mary, that kind of thing. But now, conditions have changed, and the number of sedevacantists has suddenly quantum jumped from a few thousand to billions. Sedevacantism is the belief that the See of Peter is vacant, and now, since the Holy See actually is vacant and everyone knows it, we are all sedevacantists now. Even non-Christians are sedevacantists. The Vatican is now the chief center of Sedevacantism.
The papacy’s Twitter account is now sedevacantist!
Today I am a sedevacantist. Of course, it is, in a trivial sense, no surprise that I have lived to see the day where I would be one, but it is also true that today the living pope (emeritus), the brilliant man who was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he became His Holiness Benedict XVI, is a sedevacantist. I never thought I’d see that day!
This period of vacancy has made me think of the man whose splendid work was in no small part the inspiration for this blog whose brief friendship almost cost me my Catholic faith, and I have dropped him a line, wishing him well. For this short time, there is nothing for us to disagree about.