A Catholic, legitimately perplexed, can rely upon the infallible and solid former teachings of the Church, and refuse all statements that break with Tradition.
The constitution Dei Filius of Vatican Council I condemns as impossible the idea:
that to the dogmas declared by the Church a meaning must sometimes be attributed according to the progress of science, different from that which the Church has understood and understands.”
A Catholic who is legitimately perplexed can therefore rely on the infallible and certain teachings of the past and reject any statement that breaks with that Tradition, by the mere fact that it introduces a different meaning from the one that has been asserted in the preaching of the Church’s Magisterium, and with greater reason if it contradicts that traditional meaning. This act of discernment cannot be condemned as though it reintroduced the principle of individual interpretation [libre examen], since it is performed in reliance on the supernatural authority of God who reveals, as that authority is manifested to the discerning believer by means of the unquestionable teachings of the ecclesiastical Magisterium.
This judgment of right reason, enlightened by faith, served as a landmark for Archbishop Lefebvre, and still serves as one for the Society of St. Pius X in its critique of the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
We are not against the pope as pope, but we are against the pope who teaches us things that were condemned by his predecessors.” (1)
This is why we must judge the documents of the Council in the light of Tradition, in the sense that we reject those that are contrary to Tradition, we interpret those that are ambiguous according to Tradition, and we accept those that are in conformity with Tradition.” (2)
Out of an ecumenical concern, the liturgical reform of Paul VI marked a certain regression with regard to explanations given by the Magisterium from the Council of Trent to Pius XII. The question arises first of all with respect to the Mass, but also with respect to the other sacraments.
Moreover, on at least three points, the teachings of Vatican Council II appear to be, if not in logical contradiction, then at least difficult to reconcile with the statements of the earlier traditional Magisterium.
In addition, on the level of ecclesiology, there are ambiguities or novelties that appear chiefly with the new definition of the Church as sacrament and the vague notion of the common priesthood [of the faithful].
This liturgical reform, this threefold opposition and these two main ambiguities logically raise the question: What underlying principles could explain the thoroughgoing novelty of the pastoral magisterium introduced at Vatican II?