I realize I've said this before, but it seems to me like you guys are functioning as though there's no pope, yet you, to varying degrees, insist that there is in fact a pope.
So if there was no pope, what would be different?
Great question, Byzcat. (Just ignore Meg...she enjoys arguing and name-calling and thinks that's an actual form of conversation.)
Practically, you are correct, generally speaking
, in that this question doesn't change anything...or should I say, it SHOULDN'T change anything in the daily life of catholics. We still all have to save our souls, still need to say the rosary, to practice charity and do our daily duties. ...So, really, the question and debate is theoretical. A heretic pope has the same outcome as there being no pope - the lack of leadership from rome is absent either way. We're all on our own to save our souls either way.
However, it does matter specifically
, because in the real world, even those who agree with the Resistance or who don't care about the topic of sedevacantism at all, have to find masses to attend. And oftentimes "resistance" Trads have to go to "sede" chapels because that's the only option. And vice versa. And most clerics take this THEORETICAL debate and make it a PRACTICAL issue, because they constantly preach about it (and some even refuse sacraments to those who are on "the other side"). It's quite childish, uncharitable and totally at odds with the reason they became clerics to being with. So in this sense, the question is unavoidable, because clerics on "both sides" are obsessed with the question to a degree that is unhealthy. The devil has done a great job to split up Tradition by way of this question; a question that should be a fun theoretical and historical exercise but has turned into an Inquisition-level, Hatfields vs McCoys bloody mess.