Charitable, informative, challenging

Podcast Discussion: Novus Ordo vs. Sedevacantist


The Catholic vs. podcast is a Novus Ordo podcast produced and hosted by David Mary Andrew Ross. The host, who is a convert to the Vatican II Church from atheism (2009), interviews guests who have a religious position different from his own. The format is informal and conversational, and the idea is to generate light rather than heat.

On Sep. 30, 2017, in an episode entitled Catholic vs. Catholic, the host interviewed sedevacantist Stephen Heiner. The show is available for free and can be listened to here:

In roughly 58 minutes, Ross and Heiner challenge each other on a number of different issues, including the teachings of Vatican II, wolves in sheep’s clothing, the disaster of Amoris Laetitia, and the visibility of the Church.

Stephen Heiner is the founder of True Restoration, a sedevacantist media apostolate. True Restoration produces and publishes radio shows, video interviews, and books relating to topics of interest for traditional Catholics, thus helping to educate people in the Catholic Faith and its unique take on every aspect of our world.

True Restoration is home to the popular Francis Watch radio show. Other current shows include This is Catholicism, From the Pulpit, Catholic Spirituality, Apologetics, Tradition and the Church, Clerical Conversations, The Catholic Home, and others. Although most content on True Restoration requires a paid subscription, the organization has released a large number of free episodes, which can be accessed here.

On the Sep. 30 edition of the Catholic vs. podcast, you will find Mr. Heiner making the case for Sedevacantism succinctly, charitably, and convincingly. We would like to express our gratitude to Mr. Ross for his sincerity, courage, and good will in hosting a sedevacantist guest for his podcast. Being a convert from atheism, Ross has already given an extraordinary response to God’s grace, and we pray and trust “that he, who hath begun a good work in [him], will perfect it unto the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6).

For more information about Sedevacantism, objections against it, and responses to such objections, please see our Sedevacantism topical page.

Image sources: / True Restoration
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29 Responses to “Informative Podcast Discussion: Novus Ordo vs. Sedevacantist”

  1. jay

    The terms the “right” “conservative” Traditional Catholic” is a misnomer those terms are used for a True Catholic by the Vatican II sect to give the impression that their are different degrees of Catholicism in individuals. This false belief is the basis for Lumen Gentium # 15 The Vatican II sect is heretical and for decades have used their weasel wording to push their false agenda. Many converts to the Vatican II sect are from Protestantism or Atheism so they are taken in by the ‘bricks and mortar’ of the sect. This is one of the saddest consequences of this heretical sect. WE can only pray that the Holy Spirit guides them to the true Church.

  2. 2c3n1 .

    A novus ordo podcast hosted by a gentleman who has not read all the documents of Vatican 2 and was oblivious to the teaching on religious liberty. Let’s hope and pray he studies and continues in his conversion.

    Heiner did a great job except suggesting that disciplines are not infallible. Also, he could have explained how cardinals are not needed in the election of a pope.

      • 2c3n1 .

        Yes, and we should also qualify that universal or general disciplines refer to the laws and practices that belong to the external ordering of the whole Church like worship, liturgy, or administrating the sacraments.

  3. Sonia

    “Charitable, informative, challenging.” eeek.

    The logic about faith and falsehood, nope V Papacy is bang on.

    PS. Mr Heiner says he was born and raised Catholic. How old is he? If one was baptised into the Novus Ordo, they grew up a heretic, by the very fact that Novus Ordo is a false faith. No different than being christened an Anglican, or Presbyterian.

  4. J Nelson

    Interesting, but it seems to me that his critique of the Novus Ordo words of consecration could have been a bit less muddled. The key point, I believe, is that according to St Thomas Aquinas, the form (words) of the sacrament must reflect the grace being conferred, and not merely a true statement. While it’s true that the sacrifice of Christ is sufficient “for all”, it is only efficacious “for many”. He did touch on this point, but didn’t really drive it home.

    • Stephen L M Heiner

      There was a longer discussion on this topic in the original interview but it was edited for time. Your points are well taken.

  5. Eric H

    I thought the section from 16:35 to 20:08 was troublesome. Quotes from Mr. Heiner:

    There is no principle of unity because sedevacantists argue that the pope is the principle of unity. Therefore, if there is no pope, there is no subordinate hierarchy in waiting.

    During an interregum, the papacy is still the principle of unity, right? This is typically said to explain why the Church was not formally divided during the Great Western Schism. Most people who inadvertently recognized the wrong man as pope did so in good conscience and remained Catholics.

    When the papal see falls vacant, it doesn’t mean that Cardinals, bishops, parish priests, religious superiors, etc. lose their offices. They are still the hierarchy, although temporarily without a head, and they continue to teach, sanctify, and govern the flock. I don’t know what Mr. Heiner means by a “subordinate hierarchy in waiting”.

    The visibility of the Church resides in those who have the faith, not necessarily in a living hierarchy at any given time. Keep in mind, every time that we have a pope die, all Catholics around the world have no pope. It doesn’t mean the Church is invisible.

    Ross’s reply to this was spot on. “No, but the Church government is always intact. That’s the point. Even if you’re in the deepest jungle and unaware of who and where that government is. There is a government, always.”

    I believe it is a serious error to say that the Church could ever lack a living hierarchy — that is, living successors of the Apostles in the full sense, equipped with episcopal orders and ordinary jurisdiction. I suppose the Church could have only one such man, but not zero.

    …[T]he Church doesn’t guarantee that all the bishops couldn’t be killed. … [T]echnically speaking, Church government grinds to a halt when the pope dies, because there is no ordinary jurisdiction in place.

    Same error. If all the Catholic bishops were killed, the hierarchy would have defected. And there certainly is ordinary jurisdiction during an interregnum. Ordinary jurisdiction is that which is attached to an office (1917 Code of Canon Law, can. 197).

    I think the biggest problem with the sedevacantist position is the seeming lack of a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction who is clearly a Catholic. There must be such a man, or else the hierarchy established and authorized by Christ has died out, which is impossible. At this point I think we are down to four possibilities: (1) an elderly bishop who is incommunicado, perhaps imprisoned; (2) an elderly bishop in a Novus Ordo retirement home, who doesn’t realize that he is still the lawful bishop of his “former” diocese, (3) an Eastern rite bishop who has continued to profess the Catholic faith despite belonging to the visible organization headed by 40 years of antichrist “popes”, that is corrupt in its official doctrine, law, and liturgy (Novus Ordo) and in the boots-on-the-ground reality of what people believe and how they act (4) a Roman rite bishop similar to case 3, but actually presiding over an apostate Novus Ordo diocese. None of these possibilities seems very likely or offers any practical hope for our ecclesiastical future.

    Finally I want to commend Stephen Heiner for his courageous public work on behalf of the true Catholic faith. As an armchair quarterback I may disagree with some of his views, but I admire his character.

      • Eric H

        I believe that they claim to operate with supplied jurisdiction on account of the crisis. They don’t claim an office to which ordinary jurisdiction is attached. Some say that they have it anyway, but as far as I’ve heard they don’t agree.

    • J Nelson

      Perhaps one could say that during any papal interregnum, the papacy continues to be the principle of unity, while there may not be a “practical” unity in this sense: theologians can have a variety of opinions on a doctrine that has not been defined, and there is not a Pope to settle the matter. Once it is defined by the next Pope, then those who held the erroneous views must accept the papal decision. Until that happens, however, there is a “practical” or “merely apparent” lack of unity, due to the lack of agreement among these theologians,which is entirely permissible. But the papacy as a principle of unity remains, since both the theologians who held the true opinion and those who held the opinion eventually found to be false are all considered orthodox prior to the papal definition. This demonstrates that the supposed lack of unity among sedevacantists is to be expected, and could exist during any papal interregnum, long or short.

    • Stephen L M Heiner


      Let me clarify what I meant. Just as when there is a pope, you know someone to be a Catholic by his/her submission to the pope, you also know someone to be Catholic when there is no pope by that same person saying “there is no pope.” The pope is the principle of unity. I can understand your confusion about “subordinate hierarchy in waiting” but when I went back to listen to your citation here I realized that the host edited out a longer string of that conversation in which he was asking if there was some who I thought could become pope, along the lines of the (nonsense) Siri thesis.

      As to your question about “all the bishops being killed,” I was referring to discussions held by Pius XII with the curia regarding nuclear weapons and I think I should have said “almost all” instead of all. But this was being thought about.

      I don’t understand people being hung up on this “bishop in the woods” with ordinary jurisdiction. The law serves souls, not the other way around. You can’t look at this situation and say, “But, there has to be a bishop with ordinary jurisdiction, so I will bury my common sense for that one legalistic point of view.”

      As Novus Ordo Watch has said and as I say, following Fr. Cekada’s quote: “sedevacantism may lead you into mystery, but it won’t lead you into contradiction.”

      I was animatedly discussing these issues with a Benedictine priest attached to the SSPX here in France and he thought he had a “gotcha” with me along this same legalistic line of thinking, “Well how do you get a pope, then?”

      “I don’t know, Father. But I know that a heretic can’t be Pope.”

      A Catholic doesn’t work backwards from legal principles. He works forward from doctrinal ones.

  6. Siobhan

    Since the term “abjuration” has been mentioned, I thought I’d (very briefly- sans detail ) – tell my experience with it for those unfamiliar with the term etc. It was determined by a sedevacantist Bishop that in my case a formal abjuration was necessary. This formal abjuration was in the form of a written document of several pages eschewing Modernism & all non Catholic beliefs, including the positions etc. of VII Sectarianism. At the end of this document my signature was to be affixed after the text was read aloud by me in the presence of a witness & the Bishop.

    Suffering from more than one speech impediment, somehow I performed the task of reading aloud the text without making one hesitation or error. I’ve never stated with such conviction anything else in my entire life as when I made the abjuration & the relief of finally being able to do so, because of the wisdom of the Bishop, is indescribable. For those for whom the same determination is made, that they themselves must make a formal abjuration, there is nothing to fear. On the contrary. God bless you all.

  7. jay

    Somewhat off subject . has anyone heard of a group called headed by one Bro. Peter Dimond and does the very knowledgeable Mr. Heiner have an association with them?

  8. Stephen L M Heiner

    Be very careful about the views of Mr. Gorey, in which we hear echoes of the Pharisees and their legalism, and a whole lot of blindness.

    Here is the point. Long before Martin Luther was excommunicated (which was *years* after he publicly started teaching heresy), no Catholic should have had anything to do with him. You do not need a legal permission to act in the practical order. Our Lord spoke to this issue about rescuing a donkey from a pit on the sabbath. If you know someone is rumored to be a child molestor, you don’t say, “well, he hasn’t been formally charged or convicted, so of course my children can play with him.” We have to save our souls and we do not have permission to risk them, and we have to be wise as serpents.

    Also, Mr Gorey makes a meal of the discussion of Trudeau’s bishop, or kissing the Koran, etc. when I specifically said that these things are simply symptoms. The issue is Vatican II. Does it teach doctrine materially different from the doctrine of the Catholic Church? Yes or No? That determines everything. Mr Gorey has clearly *not* read the documents for him to make such smug statements as “this is not the way the Church judges.”

    Finally, as regards the pope issue, Mr. Gorey does not address my point that the Church, in the person of Pope Paul IV, foresaw the possibility that a heretic (secret or otherwise, convicted or not-convicted) could somehow obtain a papal election and he clearly points out that this person could not validly become Pope, by the principle of St. Robert Bellarmine, succinctly expressed that “he who is not of the body cannot be the head.” And so, we have clear Catholic teaching on this.

    As to the trial and the Holy Office and all this business – the Holy Office is relatively young in the Church, only having been established about 500 years ago. The Church has neither the time nor the resources to go around convicting every heretic in the world. The Church frees us as Catholics to use *common sense* to know that people like Justin Trudeau are *not* Catholic and there needs no announcement from the Holy Office or anyone else to know that. Any properly catechized 7 year old could determine this by asking Mr. Trudeau 3-4 questions. This idea that Francis, Benedict, JPII, all these people “didn’t know” they were contradicting Catholic doctrine is really, in Mr. Gorey’s words, supremely pathetic. They know better because they grew up in the Catholic Church.

    Abuses. Please. We are talking about doctrine here. Get serious – and remember you’re not talking to some dummy who hasn’t heard these straw men before. Perhaps go back and read some Vatican II documents and we can have a serious discussion.

  9. jay

    John XX111 . In his opening speech 10/11/62 never said that Vatican II would be a pastoral council. So you can’t really say Vatican II was pastoral but the real proof is its fruits.

  10. Stephen L M Heiner

    “greatest theologians,” please name one. Again, you sidestep the issue of the documents because, as I suspected earlier, you have not read a single one to completion. I’ve read all the Vatican II documents. That’s hardly a “cursory” examination. I don’t even know if you have done a “cursory examination” yourself.

    The Vatican II documents are not “extremely complex” this is another straw man. They are heterodox and immediately at odds with documents from any council in Church history.

    I’m sorry, but the term “pastoral council” has no definition of any merit. Saying something is a “pastoral council” doesn’t mean anything. Every single Vatican II document was ended with this formula:

    “Each and every one of the things set forth in this Decree has won the consent of the fathers. We, too, by the Apostolic Authority conferred on us by Christ, join with the venerable fathers in approving, decreeing, and establishing these things in the Holy Spirit, and we direct that what has thus been enacted in synod [council] be published to God’s glory… I, Paul, Bishop of the Catholic Church.”

    Does this sound like something “not binding on the faithful”? If you’ve ever read the documents of the Council of Trent (which, I suspect you have not) you would notice that this formulation is very similar, almost word for word.

    Let’s look at the closing speech of your “non binding” “pastoral” council, shall we?

    “At last all which regards the holy Ecumenical Council has, with the help of God, been accomplished and all the constitutions, decrees, declaration, and votes have been approved by the deliberation of the synod and promulgated by us. Therefore, we decided to close for all intents and purposes, with our apostolic authority, this same Ecumenical Council called by our predecessor, Pope John XXIII, which opened October 11, 1962, and which was continued by us after his death. We decide moreover that all that has been established synodally is to be religiously observed by all the faithful, for the glory of God and the dignity of the Church…we have approved and established these things, decreeing that the present letters are and remain stable and valid, and are to have legal effectiveness, so that they be disseminated and obtain full and complete effect, and so that they may be fully convalidated by those whom they concern or may concern now and in the future; and so that, as it be judged and described, all efforts contrary to these things by whoever or whatever authority, knowingly or in ignorance, be invalid and worthless from now on Given at Rome, at St. Peter’s, under the [seal of the] ring of the fisherman, December 8… the year 1965, the third year of our Pontificate.”

    Does that sound like you are free to pick and choose what you would like about Vatican II?

    As for Religious Liberty, let’s just do a side by side, shall we?

    “From which totally false idea of social government they do not fear to foster that
    erroneous opinion, most fatal in its effects on the Catholic Church and the salvation of souls, called by Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, an insanity, namely, that ‘liberty of conscience and worship’ is each man’s personal right, which ought to be legally proclaimed and asserted in every rightly constituted society…But while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition… Therefore, by our apostolic authority, we reprobate, proscribe, and condemn all the singular and evil opinions and doctrines specially mentioned in this letter, and will and command that they be thoroughly held by all the children of the Catholic Church as reprobated, proscribed, and condemned.” That’s from Quanta Cura. From a real Pope.

    Now, under the approval of an anti-pope, Paul VI, I offer you an excerpt of Dignitatis Humanae:

    “This Vatican synod declares that the human person has the right to religious freedom…this right of the human person to religious freedom should have such recognition in the regulation of society by law as to become a civil right…”

    You didn’t address my previous points and created some new straw men. Nice try, but again, your tricks/tactics have been seen for the last 50 years. Alas, you are not the first, nor will you be the last, to try to fool people into thinking that the Novus Ordo sect is Catholicism. The problem is, I’m not some hayseed who will be fooled by your “be cautious” and “be humble.” I’ve read the documents; I know my faith.

    • Nicholas Gorey

      I am not a defender of Vatican II. I want to make that very clear. I believe that the council was, in the suppressed words of Our Lady of Fatima, “an evil council,” one which gave us “an evil mass.” I believe that most Catholics, Novus Ordo or Traditionalist, know deep down, by virtue of the sensus fidelium, that Vatican II was a scourge on the Church. One day, in God’s providence, He will send us a pope after His own heart who will declare Vatican II null and void. That is for sure. On this point I agree with the Sedevacantists.

      There are three possibilities, logically:

      1. Vatican II did not actually teach any DOCTRINAL error and was thus protected by the Holy Ghost. This goes to my point about religious liberty being solely a political stance and not a matter of faith and morals. Religious liberty was condemned by Pius IX and Gregory XVI (and I think by Leo XIII, as well), and it is at odds with the interests of the Church, objectively speaking. The Church should not be adopting this position. However, there may have been certain social policies adopted by the Church in the past, support for certain regimes or monarchs, things of that nature, that were also questionable, like the Concordat with Nazi Germany, which may have even placed Catholic souls in jeopardy, as such an argument could be made. If this is in fact the case, that we are looking at a political issue, then the Church could have erred in this regard without having defected. As I said, if the Council had said that man has the right to worship in the other religions because they are true, something like that, then that would be a different ballgame.

      2. Vatican II did teach doctrinal error and was thus not an ecumenical council of the Church. The formula invoked by Paul VI does not contain an anathema. I don’t know that the above qualifies as a promulgation of infallible teaching. We do know that John XXIII said that it would not be the intention of the Council to bind anything. Did he not say that? That alone is very significant. Matter, form, but also INTENTION.

      3. Vatican II was promulgated so as to give infallible teaching in the capacity of an ecumenical council of the Church and it ended up binding errors on the faithful, which would indicate that the Church defected. This is impossible, therefore the Council could not have been convoked by the real Catholic Church.

      That is a possibility, certainly.

      On the other hand, there may be a fourth option. Our Lady asked that the Secret be opened in 1960 (mentioning that it should be read by the Holy Father–and she knew that this was going to be John XXIII, interestingly). Perhaps therein lies the answer, at the moment obscured from us.

      The problems needs to be fixed by the faithful from within the Church, not by shrill voices from without. Let me ask you something, in the Arian crisis, was St. Athanasius a Sedevacantist? Also, if I am following the wrong pope, in my defense, so was St. Vincent Ferrer.

      • Stephen L M Heiner

        I’m sorry, you are not following in the footsteps of St. Vincent Ferrer. You’re following a known heretic who is actively destroying Catholicism. The claimant backed by St. Vincent Ferrer.

        The Pope during the Arian crisis was not a heretic. This is another old canard, which has been addressed here on Novus Ordo Watch.

        You continue to pivot to new arguments each time I bring something up, so I’ve concluded you are not of good will.

        My main points still stand. You do not need a legal declaration from the Church to be a heretic. There is the sin of heresy, which is obvious to everyone and causes people to avoid you for practical reasons. Then there is the crime of heresy, which is prosecuted through the proper channels. Jorge Bergoglio is not a Catholic, which makes him ineligible for election. You’ve not answered that.

        Vatican II presents doctrinal errors. You would know that if you have read a single document, but you haven’t so why would you? You cite John XXIII, but he merely opened the council, and Paul VI could have decided otherwise – as it was, you don’t need an anathema to make something binding.

        Is Vatican II Catholic? Is Jorge Bergoglio Catholic? These are simple questions with simple answers and there is a roadmap to act accordingly.

        As for the private revelation from Fatima, elevated by many (including yourself) to a Super-Dogma, that has no bearing, practically speaking, on doctrinal issues. I can just hear it now, St. Thomas responding to a disputed point, “But, Our Lady said…”

        Sorry, that’s just not how Catholics do theology. In any event, I’m not convinced you are serious, as you presume to speak about things with which you are not familiar. Read a few documents of Vatican II, read the documents of the Council of Trent, read Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, and then we can probably have a more productive discussion. I doubt, however, that such things interest you.

  11. Sede for Christ

    Hi Stephen, if I could just make a few comments. The common usage of the phrase “born and raised catholic” means to the average person that you were baptized by a Catholic priest and raised inside the Catholic Church physically, not theologically. You could not claim that you were “born and raised catholic” if you were baptized validly by a Eastern Schismatic priest as an infant and raised in that Church building of the schismatics. Neither could you claim to be ‘born and raised catholic” if you were raised in the Novus Ordo Sect, even ignorantly, innocently and w/valid baptism, except by desire, which you would have to mention because it is obviously not assumed in the phrase “born and raised catholic”.

    But that issue aside, those in the Novus Ordo Sect (including the SSPX) are not members of the Catholic Church, objectively. Otherwise we have a Church divided in Faith. That is a theological argument, not a canonical/legal argument. The fact that traditional catholic sede priests do not require (and could not require) a person converting from N.O. religion or SSPX to make an abjuration, doesn’t mean that they are members of the Church therefore; the conclusion doesn’t follow. All it means is they are not legally separated from the Church, and therefore neither is the false religion they adhered to, which is the crux of the quandary of sedes.

    And then you talk about essentially what is ignorance and material heresy. Theologians distinguish neither when speaking of heretics as non-members of the Church. Because obviously, if material heretics or those who adhere to heretical doctrines innocently or who adhere to a heretical sect ignorantly could be members of the Church, the Church would be divided in Faith and it’s visibility ruined. That is, again, a theological argument, which cannot be countered with a canonical/legal argument.

    This is not to say that those who have reached the age of reason, are baptized and are non-members of the Church are culpable morally speaking; or that they are immediately plunged into mortal sin; or even that they are outside the Church. It simply means that they are not members of the Church. Being inside the Catholic Church and a member of it obviously being two different considerations.

    And yes, if you profess heretical beliefs you are objectively a heretic, regardless of culpability. That is the definition of a heretic. That does not, again, mean you are a sinner, culpable or outside the Church. Those are separate issues. Just as a mental patient, who lacks reason, who kills someone in cold blood is still a murderer, even though not morally culpable, nor a sinner, nor even aware of what he has done; nonetheless, he is a murderer.

    The issue I see with Sedes typically, is they misunderstand and fail to distinguish outside the church and membership in the Church, legally separated and theologically separated from the Church, and ignorance from objectivity. They think that because someone is not required to make an abjuration of error when going from NO/SSPX to sede, that that somehow proves that they were members of the Catholic Church, but mistaken about the group/beliefs they held, culpability notwithstanding. But if that were true, you would have a Church divided in Faith and it’s visibility would be ruined. This is a theological/moral argument, not a canonical/legal argument.

    In closing, not all Sedevacantists are Catholics (think the Diamond brothers), but all Catholics today are only, must necessarily be, and in fact are, Sedevacantists.

  12. Sede for Christ

    Been reading the Comments and what is interesting, not only in the comments, but elsewhere is that some seem to think that knowledge of the Vatican II docs is required to know or to judge cognitively that Francis and his 5 predecessors are false popes and the institution they have and do head is not the Catholic Church, or that is at least the implication. An illiterate person could figure it out very easily, with a Catholic understanding/conscience and honest comparison (and some good will, sorely lacking these days).

  13. Stephen L M Heiner


    As I said – you’re not serious. I’ll pass on replying to any more of your points. You’re just someone with a lot of time on his hands to type but not any to read.

  14. Stephen L M Heiner

    For anyone still reading all the comments (I must admit, I don’t normally participate in comment boxes at all, but the management of NOW encouraged me to in this case) I would point out that my body of work, and that of TR, is mostly concerned with Restoration. We are interested in building a Catholic life, which cannot be done primarily through polemic, so, while we do have one monthly show dedicated specifically to the Vatican II sect, called Francis Watch, the overwhelming majority (10-1 ratio) of our programs deal with Catholicism – from catechetics, to apologetics, Scripture, spirituality, the Magisterium, papal encyclicals, etc. We have realized that the Novus Ordo sect is not Catholicism and we have *moved on*. We leave it to outlets like NOW, who are better equipped for the task and more engaged in the daily issues, to fight the endless polemical battles with those who want us to accept that heretics can be popes and that an “evil Mass” can be given to us by the Catholic Church.

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