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Magisterium

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VaticanII

Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.

The Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. This authority belongs to the Pope and to the Bishops in communion with him. They are endowed by Jesus Christ with this authority, because of the teaching office, in light of Apostolic Succession. In virtue of this authority, the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him preserve, transmit, and interpret the Word of God.[1]

The Word and the MagisteriumEdit

The Magisterium is at the service of the Word of God: It teaches what Jesus Christ has handed on to the Apostles, and what the Apostles have handed on to their successors, in the Name of Jesus Christ. This living transmission is the work of the Holy Spirit,[2] the Author and Interpreter of the Word.[3]

The Extent of the MagisteriumEdit

Because of the living transmission of the Word, the Magisterium has the mission, linked to the New Covenant established by God with the Catholic Church in Jesus Christ, to preserve the Church from "deviations and defections" and guarantee the profession of the Faith without error - i.e., to ensure that the Church lives in the Truth.[4] Because of the mission of the Magisterium, the Pope and Bishops have several forms of authority:[5]

Pastor Form of Authority Exercise of Infallibility Conditions Example Assent
Pope

Extraordinary and Universal

Infallible on matters concerning faith and morals Ex cathedra Munificentissimus Deus Full Assent of Faith
Ecumenical Council Extraordinary and Universal Infallible on matters concerning faith and morals Bishops, in union with the Pope, define a doctrine Council of Trent Full Assent of Faith
Plenary Council Ordinary and Universal Infallible on matters concerning faith and morals Bishops, dispersed but in unision and in union with the Pope, define a doctrine XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops Full Assent of Faith
Pope Ordinary Authoritive but noninfallible Pope speaks as Pastor of the Church Catechesis on Human Love Assent of Intellect and Will
Bishop Ordinary Authoritive but noninfallible Bishop speaks as Pastor of the Diocese Declaration on the apparitions of Lourdes Assent of Intellect and Will


Divine assistance is given to the Pope and Bishops when they exercise Extraordinary and Universal Magisterium, Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, and Ordinary Magisterium. [6] The authority of the Magisterium is exercised to the fullest when the Church defines a dogma,[7] and the authority of Magisterium extends even over the "specific precepts of the natural law".[8]

NotesEdit

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