Recommended reading on the matter of who is and isn't a member: http://www.scribd.com/doc/224429380/Van-Noort-Vol-2-Members-of-the-Church
Mith, I really appreciate the opportunity to read this. Can you give the title of the work? Is is purchasable today or out of print?
Pleased that you found it helpful! I scanned it because I think it is the best summary of the doctrine I've come across. The book is "Dogmatic Theology Volume 2: Christ's Church" by Mgr. G. Van Noort. It is the second in a three volume series. The book is out of print, though second-hand copies can be found easily enough on Amazon, Abe Books or Ebay. Typically they seem to go for around twenty USD per volume, and the third volume is often closer to forty USD. However, I found some book sellers on Amazon who apparently didn't know what they had and was able to get each copy for around 10 USD (shipping included) so I ended up with a set for at least half of what one would normally pay. Point being, if you can afford it at the steeper prices go for it; if you can't, patience will reward you and you might find someone selling them pretty cheap.
Some other sections of the book are online, though not as scans. If you go back to the scribd link, I've also scanned a few pages from the same author on the Ordinary Universal Magisterium that you can find by clicking on my screen name on the scribd site (I believe I titled it "Van Noort on the OUM"). Otherwise, strobertbellarmine.net has uploaded the chapters on infallibility and a few marks of the Church in text format. Here is a link: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/doctrine.html (in this link there is also the entire of Wilhelm and Scannel's two volume work, transcribed in full, and other useful resources).
ETA: http://www.scribd.com/doc/226459823/Van-Noort-on-the-OUM <-- Link to the aforementioned section on the OUM. It's only three pages, since when I scanned it the point of contention was the nature of the teaching authority of the bishops together with the pope-- hence why I stopped scanning at "ecumenical councils."
Very helpful, again - thank you!
I've been following your arguments on two forums and appreciate the simplicity and understandability with which you present them. If you don't mind, I would present two points that seem to militate against the sedevacantist position, in case you can give a similarly simple (and thus easy for you) answer.
1. Our Lady says there will be a pope who will do the consecration of Russia. Is the apparition of Fatima to be dismissed, or do we assume a divine intervention which results in the appointment of a true pope who then does the consecration?
2. Wouldn't it be fair to expect more obvious fruits in the sedevacantist camp, at least relative to the SSPX, if they hold the true position? Sedevacantists are often represented (by their opponents) as infighters casting anathemas against each other.
1) I see no reason to dismiss Fatima. Are you aware that what is probably the largest sedevacantist priestly group is actually more or less "based" on Our Lady of Fatima and holds "Fatima Conferences?" That would be the CMRI. That there is not a pope now does not mean there will not be one in the future. Sedevacantism simply understood (that there has not been a pope for about fifty years, or if you prefer, that the conciliar claimants aren't
popes without making a claim to whether or not there is a pope somewhere else) does not pose a difficulty to Our Lady of Fatima.
I would add, though, that if a given Catholic wants to delve into the intricacies of the crisis and try to "figure out" what happened by applying Catholic principles to the series of events over the last century (esp. the last fifty years) that the last thing that should come into consideration is private revelation. And by last I don't mean that it doesn't factor in, I literally mean that chronologically we should not factor them in until we've already factored in the deposit of faith, right reason and the method(s) of the theologians in arriving at conclusions and then, having come to (or close to) a conclusion by understanding these events with a mind of the Church as handed down by her reliable teaching authority (and authorities) see how the events relate to private revelation. This is of course my opinion, and I really do
mean this only as concerns an order of operations; I certainly don't mean to imply in any way at all that private revelation (esp. Fatima and La Salette) don't have a "part to play" in these events, as it were.
2) No, I don't think so because when the shepherd is struck the sheep will scatter. What we are enduring as traditional Catholics
(forget sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists for a moment) is all symptomatic of the Church without a proper visible head. The pope is the principle of unity for the Church, and the members of the Church are "wounded" in a sense without him. Divisions are to be expected, though I would object to saying these are unique to sedevacantists. I'd first point out that even with ALL the divisions throughout Tradition, these divisions pale in comparison to the divisions within the Novus Ordo, which is not unified except in how it rejects
the Catholic faith, which is to say that it isn't unified at all. What is it, some seventy percent deny the real presence? Some twenty percent actually go to "mass?" Vast majorities approve of birth control, homosexuality and co-habitation. At least traditionalists are all Catholic.
Controversy is nothing new, the difference is that in times past there was always an authority to appeal to and the authority would settle the conflict; we are without that authority so it is only "natural" that the state of affairs is as it is.
I would also point out that so far as I understand it, "fruits" are not "results" but doctrine. When Our Lord says that you will know them by their fruits, He doesn't mean that you will know them by the amount of people who follow them or the amount of Churches they set up (though this can be an indication
, no doubt) but by what they express, i.e. the faith they profess. To help better understand this, you can consider any time in Christendom where a given diocese fell on hard times and lost property or faithful. The proper action for a Catholic in that diocese is not to avoid the local bishop and boycott the local parishes, quite the opposite. On the other hand, if the local bishop teaches a gospel other than has been handed down, as St. Paul says, "let him
be anathema." The fruits are doctrines, not the temporal "success" or lackthereof. If one teaches a false gospel, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing and it is that
fruit (the false gospel) which we know him by.