Special thanks to Jayne for doing the leg work on this one.
I'm not particularly an SSPX fan. I attend the officially approved FSSP Catholic Mass. However, I'm not immediately a critic of the SSPX either.
With that qualification out of the way, here's some great text discussing the nature of those people who define themselves by denying the popes since the 60s--those wacky, wild, zany, crazy sedevacantists!
Sedevacantists are truly obsessed by the question of the papacy. One may well wonder if in many of them this is not due to some psychological trauma. Their understandable ancestral veneration for the pope seems to unleash a veritable panic at the idea of contrasting their cherished, idealized image of the papacy with such popes as Paul VI and John Paul II.
Sedevacantism appears to be more of a psychological than a theological problem. It would be both easy and cruel to evoke here some of the variations, as well as the successive divisions fostered by their numerous cliques and the astounding reversals and turnabouts coming from their inconsistent motives.
But why be so harsh with them? Are not those reproaches, which they make regarding the Pope's teaching, his pastoral approach, including some erroneous Vatican II teachings, indeed well founded? Admittedly, some indulgence could be shown for some theological error which, for the moment, has but little practical consequences, if we were not to note and observe the dire consequences brought upon the faithful. We now see only too well what effects those theological outpourings produce in passionate Catholics. They now have become their own pope. They judge their own priests. No longer do many of them have recourse to the sacrament of Confession. No longer do they hearken to the Church's infallible teachings. They generally bring moral ruin on their own families. [These are the self-titled and self-styled "home-aloners."- Ed.]
We used to know truly pious Catholics. After a few years we met them again only to find them marked by a psychological behavior found in types such as the Jehovah's Witnesses or in protestants in general: haughty, understanding everything, seeing everything through their jaundiced and obsessed eyes, unceasingly shaking their rattles of definitive, final, and unanswerable arguments which they do not understand themselves. Beware the time when they lose their God-given Faith and give up on everything.
How can one explain such a breakdown in the Christian spirit? We may well wonder if sedevacantism may not prove to be even more grave, more serious than it first seemed. Experience has proved that that which is understood by most of those Catholics won over to the sedevacantist camp turns out to be quite a simple idea: an unworthy pope is no longer pope. This strangely resembles the unhinged teachings of Wycliffe and of John Hus: A pope in the state of mortal sin is no longer pope, a bishop in the state of mortal sin is no longer bishop having authority in his own diocese, nor does a pastor in such a state have any authority over his parish. And the same for a king over his country, etc. We may think that John Hus was sincere in his errors. His death does not seem to be one of a formal heretic. But this fact changes nothing with regard to the eventual ugly consequences. The followers of Jan Hus later became bloodthirsty wolves feeding on their exploited fellow citizens as they hunted to death those bishops, pastors, kings and princes whom they thought were not worthy of life.The following quotation was found here:
If sedevacantism were simply a misunderstanding about whether or not the present pope is pope, there wouldn’t be much reason to spend time or energy in exposing and opposing it, for men make wrong choices all the time. However, sedevacantism doesn’t simply stand by itself, but has supporting ideals which oppose the Faith. Sedevacantism must be exposed and opposed, as we saw with Gallicanism, because of its disrespect for the pope and the desire for the right to judge the pope.The SSPX has done a lot of work to speak out against those who deny the post-Vatican popes. And that is good. If only the rest of the Catholic clergy also tackled these issues, we could nip this problem of sedevacantism in the bud.
Sadly, though, the West dithers. It seems as if the current Church leadership is caught up in the silly Modernist Pageant where they show off their liberalism.
Meanwhile, liberals and radical protestant-style sedes gnaw away at Church members--and oh yeah, all the Iraq Christian kids just had their heads cut off last week.
Oh, to be a Catholic in these times.
Society is on the very eve of most terrible scourges and greatest events; one must expect to be governed by a rod of iron and to drink the chalice of God's wrath.
-The Holy Mother at La Salette, September 19th, 1846.