Friday, October 03, 2008

What the Ordinary Magisterium Is

Definition of Ordinary Magisterium
1. The ordinary magisterium is the daily administration of the Church Universal by the Episcopal college's bishops under the supreme pontiff's authority, as expressed in the universal governing and teaching of the supreme pontiff and the exercise of lawful duties by every bishop in communion with him.{1}

The Right Approach
2. It's important for Catholic apologists to try to avoid conceding errors in the ordinary magisterium, because we are required to give religious assent to all of its even non-definitive teachings.{2} In other words, infallibility is not the criteria for obedience; authority is the criteria for obedience! Catholic apologists should, when discussing possible errors in the ordinary magisterium, focus on whether a teaching is irreformable, true, and requires obedience.{3}

The Good Fruits of This Approach
3. With this approach Catholic apologists will have a much easier time addressing lists of alleged magisterial errors (e.g. the conduct of Pope St. Peter at Antioch, Pope Stephen VI and the abominable "Cadaver Synod," etc.) because they will see that the lists do not prove reversals of magisterial teaching or deal with magisterial teaching in the first place, but feature items that deal with, at most, doctrine that was not promulgated, or magisterial discipline.{4}

Notes and References
{1} I. Shawn McElhinney (10/20/2002), "One from the Vault" Dept.: Musings on Common Problematical Catholic Approaches to the Ordinary Magisterium @ http://rerum-novarum.blogspot.com/2003_09_07_archive.html#106329662693810865.
{2} Lumen Gentium §25.
{3} I. Shawn McElhinney (10/20/2002), "One from the Vault" Dept.: Musings on Common Problematical Catholic Approaches to the Ordinary Magisterium @ http://rerum-novarum.blogspot.com/2003_09_07_archive.html#106329662693810865.
{4} Ibid.

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