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Further to a question you answered titled Papal error, I was wondering if you could provide some guidance on Vatican II, and what it meant for the Catholic Church? Many “traditional Catholics” (often identifying as “Sedevacantist”) seem to believe that the council was entirely invalid. However, as you know, there are very many Catholics that attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, and maintain communion with Rome. It seems that even amongst those that attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, AND are in good standing with the Church, the Novus Ordo is still not considered preferable.

Outline of the Answer
• Evil in the Church
• Christian Life
• The Mass
• A Real Traditional Catholic

Wlthough much evil came into the Church because of Vatican II, there has been evil in the Vatican right from the beginning. Hence the problem of evil in the Church does not relate to Vatican II itself; it derives from an age-old problem of “faith” lived not from the heart but only intellectually as a duty or, even worse, as a pernicious hypocrisy motivated by a grasping for social identity, status, power, or wealth. When faith doesn’t fill our hearts, demons have a gaping permission to make our minds their playground.


A traditional Catholic, in the most general sense, is simply someone who cherishes the tradition of the Catholic Church—and part of that tradition is the beautiful and reverent liturgy of the Latin Mass. Some traditional Catholics, however, believe that the traditional Latin Mass is the only valid liturgy of the Catholic Church, and so they reject the Novus Ordo Mass.

A sedevacantist is someone who believes that the sede (Latin for seat) of the pope is now vacant. That is, sedevacantists claim that because of Church errors in the past there is now no legitimate pope in the Church.

Consequently, you cannot reason with Sedevacantists because their “faith” is based on what they believe to be wrong with the Church, and so, ironically, they are stuck helplessly in their minds with the same false reasoning that they seemingly oppose. That is, in being so obsessed with the idea that others are wrong they cannot see how wrong their own ideas are.

Christian Life

A true Christian life, therefore, is a life not focused on what others do wrong; a true Christian life is a life that, despite the heresy, hypocrisy, and spiritual blindness surrounding us, focuses quietly on living in chastity, modesty, and humility; it’s a life of constant prayer and gratitude, a life purged of lust and hate, a life without competition, and a life detached from the world and all its sins. Sadly it’s a life that few Christians today have any interest in seeking.

The Mass

As for the Mass, it would be ludicrous to believe that Christ would deny His graces to anyone who chooses not to go into schism with Rome despite administrative squabbles in the Church,[1] however much evil influence may be at the root of those squabbles. Succumbing to such a belief—that is, that our salvation depends on our correctly deciphering a puzzle—would send a person right into the murky depths of Gnosticism.

Thus the choice between the Novus Ordo Mass and the traditional Latin Mass is merely a matter of preference. Still, because of its structure, the Novus Ordo Mass has a vulnerability to abuse, and anyone heartbroken by the abuses afflicting the Novus Ordo Mass would do well to attend the traditional Latin Mass (or an Eastern Catholic Rite liturgy). To be spiritually pure, however, this choice should be made simply because of a desire for reverence, not because of disputes about the legitimacy of the Novus Ordo Mass.


Notice that I prefer to speak of the “traditional Latin Mass” rather than “Mass in the Extraordinary Form.” Why? Well consider what “extraordinary” has come to mean because of modern abuses. Vatican II permitted Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion to be used in extraordinary circumstances, but today, rather than be used only rarely (as their name implies), such persons are used on such a regular basis as to be normal, not extraordinary. Hence, in the Church today something “extraordinary” now means something “normal.” Accordingly, it is fitting that the Novus Ordo Mass, which is today the normal way of celebrating Mass, be called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and that the Latin Mass, which has been traditional for centuries, be called what it is: the traditional Latin Mass.


A Real Traditional Catholic

Still, keep in mind that even though the traditional Latin Mass has its foundation in elegant reverence, you will find that many of the persons at a Latin Mass are there only as intellectual Catholics, not as humble souls seeking chastity, modesty, humility, constant prayer and gratitude, freedom from lust and hate, freedom from competition, and freedom from the world and its enticements and sins. But if, from the depth of your heart, you do seek humility, chastity, modesty, constant prayer and gratitude, freedom from lust and hate, freedom from competition, and freedom from the world and its enticements and sins, then, regardless of what others around you do, you will be a REAL Traditional Catholic.


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1. Notice that there is a meaningful difference between administrative issues and dogma. On the one hand, variations in how the Mass is celebrated by the Novus Ordo Mass and the traditional Latin Mass do not change the theological purpose of the Mass. On the other hand, the ordination of women, for example, would be a rejection of the Catholic theology of the priesthood and therefore a rejection of Catholic dogma. If the Vatican were ever to reject Catholic dogma, then the matter of legitimate schism would be in our faces.


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