The Public Apostasy of Pope Marcellinus

The Sedevacantist would have us believe that a pontiff can lose his office by professing "manifest" heresy or committing public acts of apostasy. Yet in such statements there is usually lacking a distinction on what constitutes a "manifest" heresy or a "public act" of apostasy. As we shall see, there is not a direct correlation between holding or teaching a heretical proposition and being a "heretic", nor between committing an act of apostasy and being an apostate in the formal sense. We shall explore this distinction with a lengthy examination of one of history's less memorable pontiffs, Marcellinus, who was pope during the Great Persecution of Diocletian. Marcellinus is of great interest to this discussion because he very well may have committed a public act of apostasy.

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Sedevacantism and the Alleged Loss of the Four Marks

A pivotal point in the Sedevacantist debate is the question of the Four Marks of the Church. Sedevacantists assert that, while the previous six popes have all been anti-popes, there are no valid bishops left in the world, and the whole sensus fidelium has fallen into heresy, yet somehow the Church has retained its Four Marks. It is definitive Catholic teaching from the Apostles Creed on that the Church perfectly possesses these Four Marks, and to say they are lost or not present is to say that the Church is no longer the Church. Thus the Sedevacantist must maintain that the Church preserves the Four Marks despite lacking a Successor to Peter, while the orthodox Catholic must prove that such a scenario would mean the Marks had been lost. This article originally appeared on the Traditionalist blog Athanasius Contra Mundum on September 3rd, 2009. The dispute is between Mr. Ryan Grant representing the Catholic position and one of the Dimond Brothers, Sedevecantists.

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False Principles of Sedevacantism (Part 2)

In our first article in this series, we examined how the principles of Sedevacantism require us to divide the person of the pope from the Petrine unity that inheres in the pope's office; since the unity of the Church is safeguarded and guaranteed in the person of the pope, as Vatican I taught, a denial that there is any legitimate pope is a denial of Vatican I and also destroys the Church's unity, which is one of her Four Marks. In this post we will continue on refuting the errors of the Sedevacantists, specifically those dealing with "public, manifest heresy."

In this article, we will look at some disputed historical minutiae surrounding the cases of John XXII, as well as more debates about the cases of Honorius and Liberius, as well as the Council of Florence and Pius XII.

Read more: False Principles of Sedevacantism (Part 2)

False Principles of Sedevecantism (Part 1)

The difficulty of tackling Sedevacantism is that Sedevacantist ideas are generally developing into different areas, or as a friend of mine has mentioned, they are "upping the ante". Some, like the Dimond brothers, have embraced a heretical Feeneyism, while declaring other Sedevacantists, such as Cekada's enterprise, as heretical. However the same false principles employed by the Dimond Bros. are also employed by all sedevacantists, simply to a different degree: derogating authority from the Church to themselves to interpret doctrine, and a lack of philosophical and theological understanding of doctrine in general, and papal authority in particular.

One key claim of the Sedevacantists is that it is possible for the Chair of Peter to remain vacant for an extended period, more than a generation.

Read more: False Principles of Sedevecantism (Part 1)