Today while driving I pondered about the [probable] apostasy and repentance of St Marcellinus and the Honorius affair, then once again began to wonder what was the end game for sedevacantists. A little less than a year ago I was myself a sedevacantist, as was everyone, but then came the white smoke and we stopped. For some though it will not be so simple.
My most viewed ever post gave a very light reflection on some of the issues surrounding sedevacantism, although the only people I know involved with sedevacantism no longer hold the position (most went back to the mainstream and the other went Eastern Orthodox). I suspect the post made such a splash because the issue is taboo. The FSSPX/FSSP group worry about pushing their faithful over the edge, the ICRSS and diocesan crowd have a different set of priorities, and the rest of the Catholic world just sees it as a very strange and minute topic. Still, Fr. Anthony Cekada's writings have garnered the interest of canonical clergy and writers like Msgr. Wadsworth, Deacon Alcuin Reid, and Dr Geoffrey Hull.
On an unrelated note Fr. Anthony Cekada reports that the "pre-1955" Missal is coming back into print (thanks for the hint, Alan). Good news!
The situation begs the solemn question: why not elect a papal claimant? In my post I noted that according to sedevacantist ecclesiology episcopal authority in the Church is gone. This means no College of Cardinals and no Ecumenical Council to elect a claimant. Were this the case one could, I think, safely assume that the Code of Canon Law and the existing rules on election would be quite irrelevant. But, I mentioned, there could be one way to elect a claimant, a way derived from precedent: popular acclamation by the people of Rome.
From the second century until the ninth or there about the Pope was elected by the Catholic laity of the city of Rome. In later days the Cardinals, the clergy of Rome, handled the nomination process and, during a two century period, the Byzantine emperor would stamp his seal of approval on the Pope-elect. Surely there are some sedevacantists in Rome and given that in their ecclesiology they are most certainly true Catholics, while the other Christians of Rome would be dubiously Catholic, could not Roman sedevacantists elect someone who could then petition a Thucite bishop (or whoever else is wandering with Holy Orders) for consecration? Voila!
Since the lack of a Pope and the heresy of the validly consecrated bishops of the world in the 1960s eliminated episcopal authority would not a Roman sedevacantist election create the alleged Pope who could restore order? Pius XII, oddly claimed to be the last "true" pope (I'll take John XXIII any day), did claim that all episcopal authority derives from the Papacy (Ad Apostolorum Principis 39). A claimant would mean dioceses, parishes, and, above all, a solution!
So why not? It could be done tomorrow morning! Despite my tongue-in-cheek tone I am entirely serious.