So I was thinking the other day about a scenario - whether completely possible or completely impossible, I’m not sure.
Here’s a scenario: I think we can all agree that the military weapons of today are the most destructive in history; we can destroy an entire town and leave 99% of the population dead in a single bomb. Therefore, let us say that the Third Vatican Council is convened in the near future (for whatever reason). I do realize that there are over five-thousand bishops of today. Let us assume that all the bishops attend.
Now, the Third Vatican Council is convened, and all bishops take their seat. Suddenly, some rogue nation or terrorist organization launches an atomic bomb - fully functional, no defects, and so on - and it lands in the middle of Rome. The entire Vatican collapses and disintegrates, and every bishop inside dies.
Now, my question is: with all the bishops of the Church dead, what would happen what would happen to Apostolic Succession? Who would take charge of the Church? How can a priest from Italy legitimate authority over, for example, a priest in Africa? Who’s to say who is in charge?
I want to note and emphasize that this is purely a thought experiment… not any personal wish or desire, of course. Not at all. But I want to know what would happen in this scenario. Or is it one of those “It’s impossible because of Matthew 16:18” answers?