This post originally appeared on the True Restoration Blog and was authored by Stephen Heiner.
I've recently been in contact with numerous readers/listeners who are experiencing the trauma of leaving what they have always considered to be the Roman Catholic Church but what they have come to see is merely an imposter which is the vanguard of the One World Religion. Whatever travails they are experiencing, I often applaud them for taking what I consider the "short route."
My journey from conservative Novus Ordo to recognition of sedevacantism as the answer to how we got to where we are now took well over a decade and featured painful separations from those I "left behind." So, when I see people who are moving from the Novus Ordo directly to sedevacantism, I cry "bravo," and remind them whatever pain they are feeling now, they are skipping all the intervening steps of pain (in my case Conservative Novus Ordo to Byzantine Rite to Latin Novus Ordo to Indult to SSPX to sedevacantism).
There's not always a clear roadmap to dealing with these problems. But because one of the missions of True Restoration is to help those from the Novus Ordo see where true Catholicism lies, we do have some suggestions on where to start.
I. The Second Vatican Council
What is your solution for this abomination in Church history? A council which, far from restoring the faith and affirming Catholics worldwide, led to the apostasy of millions, the de-Catholicization of numerous Catholic constitutions of countries, and the decline of the moral influence and temporal power of the Church worldwide? Tell yourself it's a "pastoral council" so it doesn't "count"? Tell yourself there's no actual heresy when you've never read a single document? Only listen to what your priests tell you about it when that's exactly what got us into this mess in the 1960s?
Read the documents yourself and listen to clerics who've actually read and studied these documents, not clerics who repeat tired old cliches but have never actually read and studied the documents. Restoration Radio dealt with this troublesome council early in our first season. Listen here and if you'd like to thoroughly prepare, read Nostra Aetate, Dignitatis Humanae, Unitatis Redintegratio, Sacrosanctum Concilium, Gaudium et Spes, and Lumen Gentium ahead of time. Just have some Tums or Rennie handy.
II. The New Order of Mass
What is your explanation for this wretched, clearly protestant and maimed rite? Are you part of the "Paul VI didn't do it right so it doesn't count" group? Perhaps you are part of the group that non-ironically calls the Mass that has existed in its current form since Pope Gregory the Great the "extraordinary form"? Whatever your position, you owe it to yourself to read Fr. Anthony Cekada's landmark Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI. Father has told me before that he has been told that some FSSP priests refuse to read the book and I was just two weeks ago told by a Novus Ordo seminarian that a deacon-to-be-ordained has the book and can't bring himself to read it. These Novus Ordo clergy know that ideas have consequences and they are afraid of these ideas. Truth, though, fears nothing.
Our current society in general, and Trads in particular, are not necessarily able to get through a thoroughly-footnoted 450+ page book. That's okay! Father has made it easy by creating YouTube videos for each chapter! Forget about audiobooks, Father pretty much "shows" salient points of the book to you! It doesn't get any easier than that. Watch all these videos. Look at the radio series we created to support the book. Also check out True Restoration Media's short interview with Father on what he calls the "charter of the Traditionalist movement," the Ottaviani Intervention. Be prepared to be upset at how much you have been lied to. One of those stress balls might help.
III. The Problem of the Pope
Some time ago I chatted with a reporter for NBC News about sedevacantism in relation to Francis. She kept referring to our "movement" and I had to correct her on more than one occasion to tell her that we do not represent a "movement." "We are Roman Catholics," I stated. "We would rather *die* than separate ourselves from the Roman Pontiff. The thing is, this man is not the Roman Pontiff. Sedevacantism is simply a holding position until things return to normal."
I once again refer you to Father Anthony Cekada, who has been one of the leading Traditional Catholic clerical polemicists of the last 30 years. His never-to-this-day-refuted-or-answered Traditionalists, Infallibility, and the Pope is still the first article I send to many people who write and ask for answers. For those on the "Resistance" side of things, I also send the Open Letter of the Nine, which exposed problems which had nothing to do with sedevacantism that are still plaguing the Society of St Pius X to this day and hour. A good collection of all his writings can be found in the Sedevacantist Primer.
When Catholics look at problems or challenges, we don't simply do so on "gut" and "feeling." We read and research what prior Councils and Popes and Doctors of the Church have said. We pray about it. We bring these issues to knowledgeable clergy we trust. We pray some more. We remind ourselves that Catholicism and truth are one, and while we may never face the pain of actual martyrdom, the "soft" martyrdom of losing your Novus Ordo friends (and family!) is a small price to pay for being faithful to Jesus Christ (the "Catholic God" Francis doesn't believe in) and his Holy Catholic Church.
We pray again, and ask for the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the cost.