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The Dimond Brothers' Fatal Flaw on Sedevacantism & Orthodoxy

Sedevacantism according to John C. Pontrello

One day I alerted the monks to the existence of a book written by John C. Pontrello against the sedevacantist position, "The Sedevacantist Delusion – Why Vatican II’s Clash with Sedevacantism Supports Eastern Orthodoxy?". [1] When I explained to them my intention of refuting Pontrello’s work, they wrote back stating that it was not worth the effort. [2] I found it very puzzling that such a book devoted to methodically demolishing the objections most often launched against sedevacantism, explaining in depth the indefectibility of the Church and the Holy See, that the Dimonds did not take the matter more seriously.

Yet, the more I sought to refute this book, which I became aware had been influential in the conversion of many people to Eastern Orthodoxy, the more I realized that its conclusion were logical and obvious. In fact, it gave answers to all the frustrating questions that I had accumulated over the years, that had gone unaswered by the monks due to the absense of any viable pastoral care within MHFM. The more I continued in my attempt to refute this book, the more my irritation / anger increased towards the premise held by the partisans of Pontrello: for, if true, it would have meant that the Roman Church I sought to defend had failed in its mission; which for me was impossible! Indeed, if John Pontrello is right, then the Church of Rome has defected. But since I was and still am convinced that it is impossible for the Church of Jesus Christ to defect … to be defeated, it means that it still exists, alive and well; but not as the Dimonds purport it to be.

As a sedevacantist, what I was constantly explaining to people is that before all else what makes up the papacy and the Catholic Church is its papal office in conjunction with the Holy Spirit, and not just the person who sits in the Chair of St Peter as the pope. John Pontrello's book, however, refutes this assertion point by point, proving that the definitions of the papacy do not revolve solely and exclusively around this papal function. Conversely, jurisdiction, charisma and unity must be interrelated, and the phenomenon of the succession of persons on the throne of St. Peter must be in perpetuity so as not to contradict Catholic dogmatic teaching.

Reading the 1873 encyclical of Pope Pius IX, Etsi Multa, [3] makes it clear that the arguments pronounced in the condemnation and anathema of the partisans against “papal infallibility” – who held that the Roman Pontiff and all bishops, priests and faithful joined to him in the unity of faith, had fallen into heresy by endorsing the conclusions of an ecumenical council of the Church -- apply equally to the sedevacantists of today in schism with Rome because of their rejection of the episcopal declarations made at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). What was reproached to those partisans against “papal infallibility”, by Pope Pius IX in 1873, was a condemnation of schism for their denial of the indefectibility of the Church.

John Pontrello's book completely refutes the Dimonds’ argument and proves that their interpretation / understanding is erroneous and incomplete. It’s as if they wanted to hide any real questions that would jeopardize their position. Sedevacantists could object stating that at Vatican II, Paul VI was already an antipope before his validation of the council. But the point is that the date of such an affirmation does not matter. For anyone who calls himself a Catholic and thinks that he is no longer in communion with the Holy See, has only two solutions, as John Pontrello points out: either he is in error or there has been a defection. [4]

Still according to the same person, one should not ask the question of how long the Church can last after failing. The sedevacantist theory of a long exceptional period of interregnum is only a distraction from all that is advanced on the true definition of the indefectibility of the Church. That “true” definition is referenced in Pontrello’s book and is based on information taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia and the writings of a number of renowned Catholic apologetics and refutes the private interpretation espoused by the Dimonds.

The logic is that if we continue to hold Dimond’s position, which can be summed up as saying that we can live without a Roman pontiff, then we must ask ourselves this question: if it's been 57 years since the Catholic Church did not need a Roman pontiff, then how would a Roman pontiff become necessary the following year? This is what the author of the book says on page 73; and it makes sense.

Sedevacantists come to you with the famous quote used by the Dimonds on La Salette, Rome will lose faith and become the seat of the Antichrist, [5] but you can then ask them to explain the other passages within the same message, that they do not mention, that contradict sedevacantism. [6] Sedevacantists will bring up the argument used by the Dimonds quoting St. Athanasius, "Even if the Catholics faithful to tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” [7] And you should reply that the presuppositions of this great saint were not those of the Dimonds. Indeed, they were consistent with the indefectibility of the Church.

St. Athanasius lived at a time when the East and West Churches were not separated and formed one Catholic Church. That is why the idea at that time of losing a very large percentage of Roman Catholics, along with their bishop, was not contradictory to the universal Church. [8]

Objection 15

An article from MHFM arguing against Sedevacantism.

When I told you that I had warned the MHFM monks concerning John Pontrello's book, and did not receive a relevant response, I also wish to point out that a similar issue occurred years ago on the subject of Invincible Ignoranc, which Peter Dimond denounces and claims to have refuted in his book Outside the Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation. I had personally informed him of Singulari Quidem, the letter to the Austrian bishops of March 17, 1856. [9] Note that it is Quidem and not Quadam or Quadem. Peter Dimond quotes Quadam on page 107 of his book [10] but not Quidem. That error was drawn to my attention by an MHFM opponent who alerted me. Peter Dimond responded to me by email stating that this passage was clearly heretical and that he would deal with it later. Such negligence to correct an obvious error should act as a wakeup call to the defenders of Dimond’s book. Here is the quote from Pope Pius IX on Invincible Ignorance, pronounced two years after the publication of his encyclical that Dimond claims to have explained in his book:

“There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord, outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. …This hope of salvation is placed in the Catholic Church which, in preserving the true worship, is the solid home of this faith and the temple of God. Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control.” [11]

To remain consistent, Peter Dimond should have reacted and openly condemned Pope Pius IX for “heresy”, to coincide with his book’s accusation of the pope being weak in his stance on salvation. I believe you will agree that MHFM's rigid position on the issue of "invincible ignorance" position should have placed Pie IX’s statement in “Singulari Quidem” in a far more precarious position that that of simply being “weak”. Especially since the issue of “invincible ignorance” is fiercely criticized and condemned by Dimond as being a proof of apostasy for whoever would dare to hold that position today. One only has to look through the chapters of his book on "invincible ignorance" to realize this. [12] Why should Pope Pius IX, the one who wrote the infamous “Syllabus of Errors” (1864), escape the generally harsh condemnation attributed by the Dimonds to all such “hereticalantipopes? Spared by the Dimonds’ obviously confused state; Pius IX should have been hit with the condemnation of heresy years before presiding over the First Vatican Council (1870). If we reflect back to the sedevacantist argument used to legitimatize their separation from the Vatican II signatory, Paul VI (namely that Paul VI was already a heretic before Vatican II), then how can it be that one can ignore Pius IX’s similar “heretical” status and thus the legitimacy of the First Vatican Council? To remain consistent, the sedevacantists should at least question the validity of the pontificate of Giovanni-Maria Ferretti (Pius IX).

By the way, it is interesting to note that during the proclamation of the dogma on "papal infallibility", by the Pius IX, at Vatican I, numerous lightning bolts struck the dome as well as other parts of St. Peter's Basilica, which then did not have a lightning rod attached to it [13] The theory of the "end-time" according to MHFM, and more exactly of the similar event of lightning striking Saint Peter's Basilica during the reign of Benedict XVI, [14] should logically remain consistent with that of Pius IX. But perhaps some conveniently choose to “play ostrich”, sticking their head in the sand, so as not to have to consider / recognize the anti-pontificate of Pius IX. For if Pius IX was declared to be an antipope; it would reduce to ashes numerous claims and statements presented on the Dimond Brothers’ website.


[1] John C. Pontrello, The Sedevacantist Delusion – Why Vatican II’s Clash with Sedevacantism Supports Eastern Orthodoxy, CreateSpace, South Carolina ; 2015. Available at https://www.thesedevacantistdelusion.com/ or Amazon https://www.amazon.fr/Sedevacantist-Delusion-Sedevacantism-Supports-Orthodoxy/dp/1511768746

[2] E-mail from MHFM to Jeremy Austin; 01/16/2018, on the chat platform Fleep: “Regarding Pontrello, we don’t believe that it’s worth it to do a video on him. Hardly anyone or a very small number of people know who he is. He doesn’t really have a following. Doing a video about him would actually give him more publicity.”

[3] Encyclical Letter Etsi Multa of Pope Pius IX; Nov. 21 1873: http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9etsimu.htm

[4] John Pontrello, Etsi Multa Reloaded ; Feb. 11 2019 : https://www.thesedevacantistdelusion.com/etsi-multa-revisited

[5] Cit. vaticancatholic.com, Catholic Prophecy foretold that there would be a Great Apostasy and a counterfeit Church in the Last Days: https://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/great-apostasy-last-days-prophecy/#.XKs5jlUzaM8

[6] Pontrello, op. cit., p. 62.

[7] Cit. vaticancatholic, Answers to the Most Common Objections Against Sedevacantism PDF: https://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/21_Objections.pdf ; p. 331-332.

[8] Pontrello, op. cit., p. 61.

[9] Email exchanges between Jeremy Austin and Peter Dimond. I do not remember the date and did not keep the email but am sure of what we were conversing.

[10] Peter Dimond, Outside The Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation, PDF: https://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf; p. 107.

[11] Encyclical Letter Singulari Quidem of Pope Pius IX; March 17, 1856 http://www.papalencyclicals.net/pius09/p9singul.htm

[12] Peter Dimond writes for example in his book Outside The Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation: “Those who insist that ‘invincible ignorance’ can possibly save a person who dies as a non‐Catholic simply depart from and deny the dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church.” ((https://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/2nd_edition_final.pdf ; p. 98). Voir aussi spécialement la page 105 (qualifiée d’« hérésie destructrice » selon Peter Dimond).

[13] Cit. Father Victor E. Novak, An Appeal To Traditional Roman Catholics From an Orthodox Catholic Priest http://orthochristian.com/105123.html : “Vatican I was anything but a free Council, and when Pius IX saw that he could not get a near unanimous vote he changed the rules and required only a majority. The night before the vote many bishops left Rome knowing that under the new rules a tragic new innovation would be pushed through. When the vote was taken many bishops were already gone, and lightening struck St. Peter’s where the bishops were meeting during the vote.”
Multible Lightning Strikes at Vatican I: T. Mozley, Letters from Rome on the Occasion of the Oecumenical Council, 1869-1870 2 (London: Longmans, Green, 1891; Westmead: Gregg International, 1969) 445-46: "The storm, which had been threatening all the morning, burst now with the utmost violence, and to many a superstitious mind might have conveyed the idea that it was the expression of Divine wrath, as 'no doubt it will be interpreted by numbers/ said one officer of the Palatine Guard. And so the Placets of the Fathers struggled through the storm, while the thunder pealed above and the lightning flashed in at every window and down through the dome and every smaller cupola, dividing if not absorbing the attention of the crowd. Placet, shouted his Eminence or his Grace, and a loud clap of thunder followed in response, and then the lightning darted about the baldacchino and every part of the church and Conciliar Hall, as if announcing the response. So it continued for nearly one hour and a half, during which time the roll was being called, and a more effective scene I never witnessed. Had all the decorators and all the getters-up of ceremonies in Rome been employed, nothing approaching to the solemn splendour of that storm could have been prepared, and never will those who saw it and felt it forget the promulgation of the first Dogma of the Church."

[14] Vaticancatholic, Is The World About To End? ; Oct. 23, 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_8sIq50gs and Babylon Has Fallen, Fallen; Aug. 23, 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8J-Ae8QPVI


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