NOTE: Please read this post BEFORE reading Fr. Paul Kramer’s quote below.
“The correct refutation of the Sedevacantist argument is made by pointing out their misapplication of a prescription of penal law to the administrative provisions of Canon 188. 4°. Sedevacantists presume on the basis of Canon 2200 §2, that the Conciliar Popes are manifest heretics who have defected from the Catholic faith, and therefore lose office if ever they were validly elected. The canon reads, ‘When an external violation of the law has been committed, malice is presumed in the external forum until the contrary is proven.’160 The expert commentary of Fr. Eric MacKenzie explains, ‘The very commission of any act which signifies heresy, e.g., the statement of some doctrine contrary or contradictory to a revealed and defined dogma, gives sufficient ground for juridical presumption of heretical depravity… Excusing circumstances have to be proved in the external forum, and the burden of proof is on the person whose action has given rise to the imputation of heresy. In the absence of such proof, all such excuses are presumed not to exist.’161 What is set forth in the canon is a provision of penal law. The accused is presumed guilty of the crime on the basis of the fact of his having committed a criminal act, and therefore he bears the onus to prove his innocence – ‘In the absence of such proof, all such excuses are presumed not to exist.’ A penal sentence of guilt is arrived at on the basis of a presumption of guilt. For the administrative provisions of Canon 188. 4°, a presumption of guilt that is not morally certain does not suffice, because the canon statutes the loss of office not on the basis of a presumption of guilt, but either on the evidence of the manifest and patent fact of one openly leaving the Church, or, if the heretic still maintains the pretence of being a Catholic, the evidence of the manifestly patent public fact of the pertinacity; i.e., the dolus or culpa of formal heresy. For the guilt of formal heresy to be manifest, the condition stated in Canon 2197 3º must be fulfilled, that the act be committed under such circumstances that by no subterfuge can the guilt be hidden, nor can there be any excuse for it extracted from the law: ‘et in talibus adiunctis commissum, ut nulla tergiversatione celari nulloque iuris suffragio excusari possit’.”
Kramer, Paul. To deceive the elect: The catholic doctrine on the question of a heretical Pope . Kindle Edition.