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What is Magisterium
Magisterium is the Teaching Authority.

CCC 93 “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.”

Who is “the Magisterium”?
The Magisterium is the Pope and the Bishops in communion with the Pope.

CCC 100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.

What is magisterium ordinarium (“ordinary magisterium”)

Ordinary Magisterium is exercised by the Pope and the bishops in communion with the Pope when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. [Cf. CCC 892]

CCC 2034 mentions ordinary and universal Magisterium without defining what “universal” Magisterium is.

CCC 2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are “authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice.” The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.

Perhaps its meaning can be deduced from Vatican I: Dogmatic Constitution On The Catholic Faith:

Further, all those things are to be believed with divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment, or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.

What is ordinary and universal Magisterium?

From the Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei, the ordinary and universal Magisterium is that of the Pope and Bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Pope when teaching a doctrine by a non-defining act whereas by a defining act, a truth is solemnly defined by an ‘ex cathedra’ pronouncement by the Roman Pontiff or by the Bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Pope or by the action of an ecumenical council.

What is solemn magisterium

Solemn Magisterium is exercised when the Pope confirms his brethren in the faith by proclaiming by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals to be held [‘ex cathedra’ pronouncement by the Pope] and when the body of bishops, together with the Pope, exercise the supreme Magisterium, above all in an Ecumenical Council.

What is the supreme Magisterium?

The supreme Magisterium, which is exercised above all in an Ecumenical Council, is for example when the body of bishops together with the Pope define and propose a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,” and as the teaching of Christ. [CCC 891]


Cf. CCC 85-87


Summary

1) The Church teaches via her Teaching Authority,  her Magisterium, that is, the Pope and the Bishops in communion with the Pope.

2) The Church teaches:

a) Solemnly, that is, when by a defining act either by an ‘ex cathedra’ pronouncement by the Roman Pontiff [the Pope] or by the Bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Pope or by the action of an ecumenical council, she solemnly defines an infallible truth or doctrine pertaining to faith or morals and sets it forth to be believed as divinely revealed or when she definitively proposes a truth or doctrine to be held.

b) By her ordinary and universal Magisterium, that is, by the Pope and Bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Pope, when by a non-defining act,  she infallibly sets forth a truth or doctrine pertaining to faith or morals to be believed as divinely revealed or when she proposes a truth or doctrine to be held.

c) By her ordinary Magisterium, that is, by the Pope and Bishops dispersed throughout the world who are in communion with the Pope, when by a non-defining act, she proposes with divine assistance a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals.

3) The Church rejects and does not accept a new public revelation as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith. (LG, 25 Cf. Conc. Vat. I, Const. dogm. Pastor Aeternus, 4: Denz. 1836 (3070) no. 26) Cf. Gal 1:6-10 (RSVCE): There Is No Other Gospel


Cf. The Church Magisterium Chart – the order of the truths and doctrines she teaches

One thought on “A Primer on the Magisterium of the Catholic Church

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