I recently listened to a recording on sedevacantism again, and I think it set off a series of thought in my mind. Fr. Germán Fleiss took a very absolute monarchy/literalist view of the gospel relating to St. Peter's place in the Church, and it occurred to me he could be very right about that interpretation, yet wrong about the popes generally. Let us assume that Peter alone was given this much power- okay, then, what did Peter do with it?
We do not have records of an absolute monarch making changes willy-nilly across all Christendom. This happens later.
Instead we have records that indicate the older style of monarchy. It looks much more like property rights if you really think about it. A series of rights, authority, traditions, etc...- all sort of coalesce around various bishops. The big issue, not to be ignored, is- is it really okay in your uber-ultramontane stance, for a true pope today to violate things- agreements made by popes, if not directly, then as a consequence of the power structure previous popes had already put in place?
The idea of the monarch as absolute, naturally, came much later, and was the entry point for the bureaucrat. Suddenly, the more valid authority was the 'expert' with a letter from the king, rather than the man who owned the land. The burgeoning cancer took about 200 years to metastasize, culminating in the revolutionary movements in the 1800s. Of course, there being a whole earth to consume, the cancer continues, while a variety of peoples display that lack of fecundity symptomatic of a dying nation.
I propose the same thing happened in Christianity. The sedevancatist position is a vulnerable one, accepting Vatican I- which was, frankly, the gun that fired Vatican II. The revolutionary movement brought with it the triumph of the bureaucrat in Christendom, and the bureaucrat does not want to remind anyone of ancient rights negotiated long ago- no, the bureaucrat wants to validate his own authority. While secular bureaucrats were rearranging governments so that the seldom enforceable will of the people could be appealed to rather than the will of a king, Church bureaucrats found themselves in a different situation. First the popes were now coming from their own ranks, and second, the pope is essentially a captive to the bureaucracy in the Vatican. How can he escape? Every time Francis says something stupid, I get aggravated, but then I wonder if Benedict wasn't a very smart guy. If you can't reform the system, give it what it wants, and hasten the destruction the bureaucrats seem blind to.