There are three types of Catholics today: those who believe we're in a major crisis caused by the changes since the last council, those who believe the crisis is because we haven't made enough changes, and those who wonder what the other two are talking about ('What crisis?'). Pope St. Pius X saw this crisis coming and labelled it Modernism. He even made the newly ordained take an oath against it. Sixty years later that oath was removed for some reason.
Fr. Richard Heilman references the first major crisis in describing the current one. I don't know how Arius came to the conclusion Jesus wasn't divine, but he managed to convince eighty percent of the clergy into thinking likewise. Judas was the first clerical traitor; Luther perhaps the most effective. Since we've always had them it's unlikely the Church is without clerical traitors today.
No one is born a traitor to the Church. At some point they turn, succumbing to the temptations of the Enemy.
Dr. Bella Dodd was once a great enemy of the Church; Archbishop Sheen helped get her back. If her testimony is to be believed then while a communist, she helped get eleven hundred fellow communists into the seminary with the purpose of undermining the faith. Why would she lie about that? If true then it's likely some of those clergymen were at Vatican II in positions of authority and/or influence.
Vatican II was the first ecumenical council called for no specific reason in particular. It was to be a pastoral council to create a new language to relate to the modern world. It wasn't in defence of heresy like Nicea was to Arianism or Trent was to Luther. It should have focused on the heresy of Modernism but perhaps that will be tackled by Vatican III. Two years of consultations prior to the council created an agenda that was scrapped on the first day primarily by a small group from the Rhineland. Their first target was the liturgy.
A good priest once told me Vatican II was necessary but occurred at the worse possible time. Europe was still recovering from the horrors of fascism (including a subconscious guilt of anti-semitism) North America was engulfed by materialism, Communism was at its peak, and the Sexual Revolution was just around the corner. The liturgy which had grown slowly and organically since the Passion had been bottled up for four centuries. It's reported that Pope Paul VI would later say a window was opened to let in some fresh air but the smoke of Satan blew in instead.
Another good priest once told me we are to judge events by their fruit. How then are we to judge Vatican II - a pastoral council with ambiguous documents? Pope Benedict XVI said we misinterpreted the documents; the intended fruit is yet to ripen.
I've been told when all the changes were made the laity didn't challenge them because Catholics were to pray, pay, and obey. They didn't have the Internet back then so when the altar rails were ripped out in the 'spirit of Vatican II' who could have known otherwise? That's not the case today, so when your new pastor decides to start a yoga class you should object. If he seems fixated on unCatholic change you should oppose him.
As a church it's time to have a family chat. We need to be honest, thorough, and loving. We need to look at the state of the Church today and agree we're in a major crisis. We need to accept that most of the changes made in the 'spirit of Vatican II' are rotten. We need to look at each other (clergy and laity) and increase our faith, hope, and charity through fraternal correction. It's no longer acceptable to pretend everything's ok, that everyone's nice, that the Church is exempt from treachery.
Most of us were poorly catechized, That's the past. The future will be determined by what we do today. We have all the tools necessary to catechize ourselves and those around us. You can order the Baltimore Catechism from Amazon and study it in a small group of family members or fellow parishioners. You can subscribe to Church Militant and learn the faith from the computer you're reading this blog on. You have a duty to inform yourself.
Since the Church draws her power from the liturgy we also need to acknowledge its role in our faith formation. The old expression rings true: Lex Orandi Lex Credendi Lex Vivendi (As we worship so we believe and live). Yes the Ordinary Form is valid and can be offered reverently. However, to appreciate its richness requires a solid formation built by proper catechesis. How many pewsitters today know the Mass is the bloodless re-presentation of Calvary? How many think it's a happy community event designed to make us feel good about ourselves and each other? If the liturgy is being abused it's possible other abuses are occurring.
Of course it's preferable to attend one's local parish but if your spiritual needs are not being met then the prudent thing to do is go parish shopping. If the pastor never talks about sin, salvation, or the devil, then you need to leave. If the homily is always a version of "God loves you; Love one another" then leave. The church may be full on Sunday but if the confessional is empty the afternoon before then chances are many souls are perishing.
For those without the means of transportation to another parish or live in a small town then not making your Sunday Obligation isn't an option. You need to speak to your pastor, then maybe the bishop, and as a last resort write a letter to Rome. You suffer through bad liturgy and sappy homilies, offering it up, thinking of our Crucified Lord, but you don't condone error. We all have a responsibility to help as many souls get back to Heaven, including those entrusted with keeping us out of Hell.
The Church has survived every crisis and as its Founded told us the gates of Hell will not prevail. The good news is the generation that made all the rotten changes is dying and going to their Judgement. Pray for them and know that your own fate is yet to be determined. What will you say to our Lord at your Judgement when He asks, "What did you do with the Gift of Knowledge I gave you?".