25 October 2015

On Declaring the See of Peter Vacant


Just now I came across this post, courtesy of someone on Catholic Reddit.  It includes the following point:
To be sure, it’s possible that the sedevacantists are right that a heretical pope in fact loses his office, just as does a heretical bishop. But in the case of the heretical bishop, there is a competent forum superior to the bishop who has jurisdiction and may therefore authoritatively adjudge the question and depose the bishop. But in the case of a heretical pope, there is, in his lifetime, no competent forum superior to him who can authoritatively judge the question and depose him. A subsequent pope could do so; Pope Pius XIII, after his election, might turn around and say that Francis I was an antipope, that he invalidated his office as of such and such a date, and that all his acts are therefore void. But we may not. We don’t have the authority. (Nor does a council, by the way, for if a council could depose a pope, the implication would be that a council is a hierarchically-superior forum to the pope, which is the heresy of conciliarism into which the Council of Basel lapsed in 1439.)
Good point, I think.  Feel free to read the entire post.

[Update: A more thorough treatment of the question, which contradicts the quote above, is found in this lengthy and impressive article.]