Strange Bedfellows!

The Wanderer Beds Down with the Sedevacantists

Christopher A. Ferrara


( In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the drunken Trinculo takes shelter from an approaching storm by hiding under the cloak of what he believes to be a monster asleep on the beach. “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” he declares.

As the post-conciliar tempest unleashed by papal decisions rages on with no letup in sight, The Wanderer has found its own strange bedfellow to provide shelter from the storm; it has taken refuge under the cloak of sedevacantism.

In a pair of recent articles, one by Peter Vere (“Sedevacantism Rising?”) and the other by Paul Likoudis (“Pope Paul VI Warned Traditionalists” June 1, 2006 issue), The Wanderer presents with approval the sedevacantist attack on the traditionalist position of conscientious abstention from such ecclesial innovations as the New Mass, ecumenism and dialogue, none of which have ever been imposed upon the Church as binding obligations of the Faith. 

The gist of the articles is that, just as the sedevacantists contend, there are only two alternative approaches to the post-conciliar “reforms” in the Church: The Wanderer’s unquestioning acceptance of them all, or the sedevacantists’ rejection of them as the acts of imposters who could not be true popes. That is, The Wanderer is now arguing that in order to be logically consistent one must either see things The Wanderer’s way or become a sedevacantist.

Meanwhile, The Wanderer continues to ignore a growing number of Vatican-level admissions of the obvious truth that the traditionalist position has always been consistent with the due liberty of sons of the Church, as the post-conciliar novelties, including the New Mass, are not at all de fide.

For example, The Wanderer has had nothing to say about the widely reported advice of the commission of cardinals to John Paul II in 1986—a commission that included Cardinal Ratzinger—that the traditional Latin Mass “had never been suppressed and that a bishop did not have the right to forbid a priest from saying the Traditional Mass.”[1] Moreover, “Cardinal Ratzinger in his conference of 24 October 1998 underlined that the Council never forbade the use of the previous liturgical books. In a recent interview, Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez emphasized this same opinion that the Missal of St Pius V had never been suppressed.”[2]

To take another example, no less than Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos recently stated in a published interview that “The Mass of Saint Pius V has never been abolished,” and that criticism of the post-conciliar reforms by the Society of Saint Pius X “can be a treasure for the Church”—I repeat, a treasure for the Church. As the Cardinal noted: “In the Church in fact we are all free to formulate critical observations on what doesn’t concern dogma and the essential discipline of the Church itself.”[3]

In the face of this evidence, Mr. Likoudis’s article for The Wanderer sides with sedevacantist spokesman “Brother” Peter Dimond, who inveighs against traditionalists from a remote rustic compound in Fillmore, New York. Referring to Dimond as “Brother Peter,” Likoudis cut and pasted verbatim from Dimond’s website a reference to Paul VI’s obiter dicta in a 1976 speech that adoption of the new Missal “is not left to the free choice of priests or faithful,” and another reference to an angry private letter from Paul VI to Archbishop Lefebvre in the same year. Ignoring the decision of a Vatican commission and the subsequent public statements of Vatican cardinals, including the cardinal who became the currently reigning Pope, The Wanderer is now reduced to enlisting sedevacantists as research assistants in its anti-traditionalist polemic. (Notice that in doing so The Wanderer at least concedes that traditionalists are not sedevacantists!)

The Wanderer’s unprincipled obscurantism cannot conceal the salient fact that no Pope, either during or after the Council, has ever declared to the faithful that whoever prescinds from the New Mass, ecumenism, dialogue or the other prudential novelties of the past forty years is not a Catholic in good standing. Only Catholics of The Wanderer stripe and their newfound sedevacantist bedfellows insist upon this—The Wanderer to justify its decades-long quiescence in the face of every disaster from the New Mass to altar girls, and the sedevacantists to justify their lunatical opinion that we have had no Pope since 1958 and that virtually the entire hierarchy consists of heretical impostors.

Thus, it seems The Wanderer would rather drive people from the Church than admit that its approach to the post-conciliar crisis has been wrong from the beginning.  As the traditionalist position comes ever closer to complete vindication, The Wanderer becomes ever more desperate in its defense of the indefensible. Bedding down with a monster, The Wanderer completes its descent into farcical irrelevance.


[1] Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro, “John Paul II and Benedict XVI – What Next for the Traditional Mass?,” The Latin Mass Society Newsletter, August 2005.

[2] Ibid.

[3]30 Days, September 2005.