I am attempting to compile as many refuted surface objections as possible to Pope Michael’s claim to the papacy, in order to deal with any more serious ones that anyone has. These objections presume that one has rejected the 1) novus ordo, 2) indult, and 3) SSPX positions.
Here are a list of common objections and responses so far:
I. The election only had a few people; therefore it was not the consent of the Church
Response: Effectively, the remnant sedevacantist world was contacted to elect a pope, and it was the duty of the clergy to elect a pope due to the devolution of this responsibility given the defection of the cardinals. Hence, as the Scripture says, “many were invited; few were chosen” in Matthew 22:14, the same was true for this task. Those who did not participate essentially cut themselves off from the Church. There were 30 years that elapsed which was ample time to hold an election, but none were held.
II. The election was not valid due to too few people
Response: This is a slippery slope argument, because suppose only 99% of sedevacantists had participated. Keep whittling that number down and at what point would there be “too few” people to have a valid election? No such numerical requirement exists.
III. The election was of a layman and only bishops are able to become pope
Response: Layman have been elected to the papacy before, for instance Pope St. Fabian in 236.
IV. There has been no restoration of the Church under pope Michael, why should we think he’s pope?
Response: This is a judgment of effects rather than validity of the election and about the actual situation today. The seed has been planted and can yield an abundant harvest if objections to the validity of Pope Michael’s papacy can be cleared. Imagine the traditionalist groups coming into communion with Pope Michael and abjuring whatever errors they have made. This again is a slippery slope argument, which would be invalidated in time if and when greater numbers of clergy and laypeople come in to communion with Pope Michael.
V. There have been no miracles in the “Pope Michael Church”, hence Michael is not Pope
Response: A miracle is not necessary to establish that one is elected pope, as it wasn’t in the popes before Vatican 2.
VI. He’s just crazy, he can’t be pope
Response: This is not a real objection but an attack on character. Many people think that sedevacantists or SSPX “traditionalists” are “crazy”! Who defines what is “crazy”? It also does not in any way logically show that Pope Michael’s papal election was invalid.
VII. Cardinals didn’t elect him, therefore he cannot be pope
Response: Cardinals didn’t even exist in the early Church for some centuries as electors of the pope (up to the 11th century?). Laypeople and the clergy participated in papal elections. The method of election was not always as straightforward as one may think, as St. Alphonsus relates, “It doesn’t matter that in past centuries some pontiff has been elected by fraud: it suffices that he has been accepted as Pope by all the Church, for this fact he has become true pontiff”. Even fraudulent elections were held as valid.
Objection 8.2: The sedevacantists have not universally held Michael as pope according to St. Alphonsus’s quote.
Reply: This is the same as Objection #1.
VIII. There is currently no way to elect a pope, so Michael couldn’t have been elected (“terminal” sedevacantist obejection – it is impossible to elect a pope perhaps until the end of the world)
Response: Peter is to have perpetual successors according to Vatican 1, so there is always a means of electing a pope. The reason why it took so long to elect a pope after Vatican 2 was because the schism was so subtle and confusing that many thought that the Vatican 2 false religion was Catholicism. However, just because it took long to elect a pope, doesn’t mean that the vacant See was to exist indefinitely.
IX. Francis is a material pope and this creates an obstacle to a pope being elected (the “sedeprivationist” objection or “material-formal thesis”)
Response: Some adherents of sedeprivationism have promoted it as being merely a “theory”, but this “theory” has prevented them from supporting or holding a conclave to elect a pope. It is therefore a distinct position, separate from sedevacantism. I think it’s fair to concede that more scholarship should be done to address this objection, but I think it’s sufficient to conclude that this “theory” is not tenable because it still holds that the false Vatican 2 religion is in some way in control of Christ’s Church, so much so that they have the power to prevent a “formal” pope from being elected, potentially until the end of the world. Yet, Peter is to have perpetual successors. The Vatican 2 religion is either Catholicism or it is not Catholicism. Since we know it is not Catholicism, we know that they have no power to produce a pope. Additionally, it should be noted that there are sedevacantists who would not recognize the current Vatican 2 “pope” as pope if he converted to Catholicism, because they judge that the Vatican 2 false religion is entirely non-Catholic and has nothing to do with the Catholic faith whatsover. (Note: It is not possible to be both a sedevacantist and a sedeprivationist, and willingness to accept a Vatican 2 “pope” as pope if he became Catholic is the clear litmus test between these two positions). Hence, it is from this sedevacantist view that conclavism naturally follows.
X. It is not contrary to the teachings of Christ that we have a long sede vacante and could continue this indefinitely (a sedevacantist objection)
Response: It is not contrary to the teachings of Christ for there to be an elected pope.
XI. Since pope Michael was elected as a laymen, how is it even possible for he to become a bishop?
Response: There are plenty of schismatic or heretical, yet valid bishops who could abjure their errors and enter the Catholic Church (which Pope Michael presides over) and thus consecrate him as bishop. I believe this has happened. It’s also possible that some bishops could have existed around the world who never took heresies upon themselves in the wake of the Vatican 2 religion, however the aforementioned happened.
XII. Pope Michael was a heretic involved with the SSPX before election, therefore he could not be elected pope
Response: He validly abjured any errors before election, making him a Catholic in good standing and papabile (able to be elected pope).
XIII. Pope Michael is an unintelligent Kansan and wasn’t smart enough to be elected.
Response: Actually, His Holiness’ family is originally from Oklahoma, and high or low intelligence isn’t a determinant if one can be pope or not, but rather one simply must be an eligible Catholic male.