Treatise Against Sedevacantism 1: Compare and Contrast

Pope John Paul II kissed a book, to be polite.
Pope Alexander VI kissed a bunch of women, out of lust.
Pope John Paul II prayed with Muslims.
Pope Urban II preyed on Muslims.

The Church and history tells me the Crusades were “just wars.” I believe it. John Paul tells me that there’s a higher standard of behavior, and war is always a failure of humanity, and I believe that, too.

The Church tells me that the sins of Rodrigo Borgia do not constitute a violation of the Papacy because his personal sins do not constitute heresy. Yet the Sedevacantists would have me believe that the alleged personal sins of John Paul II–which may or may not even have been sinful in his case–constitute acts of heresy.

Now, it’s important to observe the caveat that they may or may not have been sins in his case: after all, intent is a key element of mortal sin, and those who judge these acts to have been mortal sins on JPII’s part are thereby judging his intent.

What I don’t get is why the sedevacantists tell me to honor the papacy of Alexander VI and not that of John Paul II? Why does some corrupt Medieval pope who lived in luxury and filth merit my respect, but John Paul–whose life exhudes evidence of living the Beatitudes–does not?
If I were to hold up the two and say, on the basis of actions, “Which is obviously an invalid Pope? Which of these is not living according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” The answer would not be John Paul II.

If sedevacantism is possible–and I’ll grant it’s theoretically possible–then there are a lot more presumptive popes throughout history who have been invalidated than just John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

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4 responses to “Treatise Against Sedevacantism 1: Compare and Contrast

  1. Can’t wait for #2- who are you going to compare to Bl John Paul The Great next? This Odd Wikipedia Article might give some ideas of Popes previous to 1539 who were sexually active:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sexually_active_popes

  2. A more appropriate comparison is that Pius XII did not remonstrate Fulton Sheen for not condemning AA. There too Catholics are praying with non-Catholics. O t o h, Pius XII did not give a formal approval of AA, as far as I know, and did not personally pray the “peace prayer” – truncated version of a prayer of St Francis – with Prots of various denominations. In both cases something natural – peace in this world or sobriety in these individuals – is the motive for a prayer that is in fact interreligious.

    Saying Urban II preyed on Muslims is harsh, since those Muslims in question were starting to prey on Christian Palestinians and Pilgrims. And since the crusade was not a general war on Muslims as such, only those ones who oppressed Christians – as far as the Pope and the Theologians were concerned.

  3. HGL,

    Thanks for the observation. I usually use Pius XII in regard to a) Karl Adam’s _Spirit of Catholicism_, which anticipates many “Vatican II” ideas, was vetted and approved by Pius XII’s Holy Office; and b) it was under Pius XII that Fr. Feeney was censured. However, many sedevacantists consider Pius XII a false pope, too.

    As for the second part, I know it is, but I was just being rhetorical.

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