Is the Magisterium all we need?


#1

Hey all. It’s been a long time since last I visited, but a concern has been steadily growing in my understanding of Catholicism in the South (USA). I don’t know if it is the same everywhere else in the US. But, I am beginning to discern a certain trend, and I think that it disturbs me, even though various aspects of it are good and praiseworthy. Among the ORE staff of my diocese, I keep seeing what appears to be an overemphasis (at least as I understand it) on the role of the Magisterium. Now, of course, we are not to dishonor this sacred and divinely installed role of the episcopate, but at the same time it seems to me that if Catholics become too reliant on the Magisterium to lead them into all truth, the are missing the supernatural nature of their faith.

It is Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (which is not reducible to the Magisterium or its writings) which together form the one apostolic deposit of faith. The Magisterium, though very important in its own right, is the divinely installed servant and protector of the deposit.

It seems to me that if we overemphasize its role, or misconstrue it, all in the name of orthodoxy we are missing the fact that God gave us this Magistra to safeguard and help promulgate this one deposit. Isn’t it the whole people of God who go toward the further clarification of the deposit? If you disagree with this, then how do you understand the sacred document Dei Verbum?

I know this is a bit rushed and maybe thereby confused. Maybe someone will get my drift and want to chime in. Thanks!


#2

The Church rests on a three legged stool. Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and the teaching office of the Chruch, the magisterium. Like a stool, if you cut one leg out the whole stool collapses.

It seems to me that it would be rather hard to over emphasize the role of the magisterium. Please provide some specific examples. I don’t know what your aim is with Dei Verbum.


#3

Hi Magna__,

The Magisterium rests on Scripture and Tradition. So it has all the ressources needed to teach us. Yes, a Catholic can rely on the Magisterium alone

Verbum


#4

I would also like to know how this is related to *Dei Verbum *as it is one of my favorite church documents. Is it that it specifically allows expanding biblical scholarship into somewhat subjective areas (consideration of literary form, culture and customs of the times), away from the black and white rules of the magisterium? (what a refreshing thought…)


#5

[quote=patg]I would also like to know how this is related to *Dei Verbum *as it is one of my favorite church documents. Is it that it specifically allows expanding biblical scholarship into somewhat subjective areas (consideration of literary form, culture and customs of the times), away from the black and white rules of the magisterium? (what a refreshing thought…)
[/quote]

Are you hoping the Magisterium will contradict itself, then?


#6

[quote=Magnanimity]I keep seeing what appears to be an overemphasis (at least as I understand it) on the role of the Magisterium…it seems to me that if Catholics become too reliant on the Magisterium to lead them into all truth, the are missing the supernatural nature of their faith
[/quote]

Greetings from a fellow Georgian - I was born just down the road from you in Decatur, and I grew up in Savannah. My brother is a priest in the Diocese of Savannah currently assigned to Macon (FatherEric.com).

I guess things must be a little different up in the Diocese of Atlanta, because I doubt many folks in the Savannah diocese share your concern (and many would have the opposite concern - too many folks *ignoring *the Magisterium).

But I’m unclear on the nature of the problem. You say that folks are relying too much on the magesterium in lieu of… what*?* Private revelation? Visions? Are you saying we should rely less upon the Magesterium and more upon ourselves to know the truth?


#7

[quote=DavidFilmer]Greetings from a fellow Georgian - I was born just down the road from you in Decatur, and I grew up in Savannah. My brother is a priest in the Diocese of Savannah currently assigned to Macon (FatherEric.com).

[/quote]

Southerners are taking over the Catholic Church. :smiley:


#8

[quote=Ahimsa]Southerners are taking over the Catholic Church.
[/quote]

Maybe, but we have a lllloooonnnnnggggg way to go. I lived a few years in Charoltte, NC - and North Carolina has the dubious distincton of being the *least *Catholic state in the Union (less than 2% of Christians are Catholic). But, ironically, I now live in Oregon - the least *Christian *state in the Union (where Christians are rare and Catholics even moreso, and my Diocese is bankrupt due to inept bishops). But I’m doing what I can…


#9

[quote=flamingsword]The Church rests on a three legged stool. Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Tradition, and the teaching office of the Chruch, the magisterium. Like a stool, if you cut one leg out the whole stool collapses.

It seems to me that it would be rather hard to over emphasize the role of the magisterium. Please provide some specific examples. I don’t know what your aim is with Dei Verbum.
[/quote]

Perhaps I’ve been a bit of a knee-jerker in my reaction to this, so it seems to me, overemphasis on the role of the Magisterium. But, when we read the document Dei Verbum and see that metaphor for the 3-leggedness, that comes at the very end of the 2nd section of the document, after some other very important portions, which pit Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition together in a special way, which does not include the Magistra. Here are some examples from the Vatican.va translations of Dei Verbum.

(DV, 8) Now what was handed on by the Apostles includes everything which contributes toward the holiness of life and increase in faith of the peoples of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship, perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes.

This tradition which comes from the Apostles develop in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. (5) For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts (see Luke, 2:19, 51) through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth.

  1. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end.
  1. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (7)

This is the kind of stuff I had in mind. Given what I’ve quoted, do you have any further response to my original post?


#10

[quote=Verbum]Hi Magna__,

The Magisterium rests on Scripture and Tradition. So it has all the ressources needed to teach us. Yes, a Catholic can rely on the Magisterium alone

Verbum
[/quote]

Hi thanks for replying. It seems to me that the magisterium is not said in the Dei Verbum to be a part of the original apostolic deposit of faith, and that this is committed to only the “authentic interpretation” and protection and promulgation of that which does constitute the deposit of faith. Hence, it is the servant of the deposit of faith. The servant cannot be greater than its master. Hence, my concern about present-day overemphasis on the Magisterium, while conservative, is nevertheless wrongheaded.


#11

[quote=challenger]Are you hoping the Magisterium will contradict itself, then?
[/quote]

No, just a straight answer. These are pretty rare when it comes to this subject.


#12

…probably… what is the alternative? Self interpretation??? That’s the last thing you want… Luther tried that, and he tore the church apart…

…stick with what has worked for 2000 plus years…

Peace…:thumbsup:
http://micrografix.ca/GHOST.jpg


#13

[quote=DavidFilmer]But I’m unclear on the nature of the problem. You say that folks are relying too much on the magesterium in lieu of… what*?* Private revelation? Visions? Are you saying we should rely less upon the Magesterium and more upon ourselves to know the truth?
[/quote]

Greetings fellow Georgian! No, my concern is an overemphasis of reliance on the Magisterium to lead us into all truth. If we have a reliance on anything it ought to be on the sacred deposit of faith, which consists, so says Dei Verbum, of the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.

When we become so overly reliant on “knowing all the right things” (and I guess the underlying presup is that the Magisterium is the only place to go to get such knowledge) we seem to become like Protestants, I think.

We undervalue the supernatural nature of our Church. How natural, how really secular it almost seems if our tiny little Catholic world consists of reading the CCC and going to all the obligatory masses and think that we thereby are living the fullness of our Sacred Tradition and having it form and inform us as much as possible. It seems that around here the CCC has become the only legitimate catechism! And moreover, Vatican II is the only council anyone cares to learn about anymore! This just seems like a dangerous and not very helpful trend.


#14

I am having difficulty seeing the problem. We have scripture and tradition, both of which require someone or something to guide us in their interpretation. That someone or something is the magisterium. Interpreting scripture and tradition privately is of course acceptable to all of us, but our private interpretation needs to be compared and brought into line with what the Church teaches about the meaning of that scripture and tradition. If one were to never privately read and interpret the meanings of scripture and tradition, one is safe in accepting what the Church, the Magisterium, teaches about them. The three legged stool simile is quite apt as all three elements have to be in agreement or the whole becomes undependable. Undependable, but not necessarily wrong. The triad is a guarantee of reliability. Protestants have done away with the Magistrium and Tradition and their large lack of agreement on what the Bible means is a result of that lack. Private interpreyayion alone leads to chaos or over 35, 000 protestant denominations. Part of our problems as a Church today is that our Bishops are long on administration and short on teaching.


#15

[quote=Magnanimity]Greetings fellow Georgian! No, my concern is an overemphasis of reliance on the Magisterium to lead us into all truth. If we have a reliance on anything it ought to be on the sacred deposit of faith, which consists, so says Dei Verbum, of the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.

When we become so overly reliant on “knowing all the right things” (and I guess the underlying presup is that the Magisterium is the only place to go to get such knowledge) we seem to become like Protestants, I think.

We undervalue the supernatural nature of our Church. How natural, how really secular it almost seems if our tiny little Catholic world consists of reading the CCC and going to all the obligatory masses and think that we thereby are living the fullness of our Sacred Tradition and having it form and inform us as much as possible. It seems that around here the CCC has become the only legitimate catechism! And moreover, Vatican II is the only council anyone cares to learn about anymore! This just seems like a dangerous and not very helpful trend.
[/quote]

I think your concern is the perenial balancing act between having “head” knowledge of the Lord, and having a “personal” knowledge" of the Lord. You are correct in that someone can get their nose so far stuck into the books and obsessing on the minutae of “do this and don’t do that”, that they neglect the point of the Christian life, which is union with God.

*However, * it also can be lopsided the other way: you can concentrate so much on being so spiritual and so busy with social justice, that any mention of Church teaching or dogmatic truth is regarded as a distraction, or even a hinderance to one’s spiritual life. This is also wrong, and we’ve all seen both extremes.

The fact is, we need a good helping of both. We need to nurture our prayer, devotional, and sacramental life and persevere in virtue to draw closer to our Lord. But without the guiding hand of the teaching office of the Church to keep us from drifting into harmful heresies and errors of ours and others making, we are primo targets for Satan and our own pride. The motto of the good God, who gives all things for the nurturing and protection of his beloved children, is balance and moderation in all things.


#16

[quote=patg]I would also like to know how this is related to *Dei Verbum *as it is one of my favorite church documents. Is it that it specifically allows expanding biblical scholarship into somewhat subjective areas (consideration of literary form, culture and customs of the times), away from the black and white rules of the magisterium? (what a refreshing thought…)
[/quote]

Would that mean you believe they are wrong?


#17

[quote=rwoehmke]I am having difficulty seeing the problem. We have scripture and tradition, both of which require someone or something to guide us in their interpretation. That someone or something is the magisterium.
[/quote]

Yes, I think you missed the thrust of my comments and concern. I did not contest appealing to the Magisterium or even being reliant on it as the ever present “watchful eye” and sacred interpreter of the apostolic deposit. What bothers me is the very Protestant spirit behind an overemphasis on the role of the Magisterium, which can, it seems, lead to a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the Magistra. Though there is, as Dei Verbum makes clear, this intrinsic connection between the three “legs of the stool,” at the same time, it is also crystal clear that Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture together form the one apostolic deposit of faith, and the Magisterium is not a part of that deposit. My concern is a certain present overemphasis and even misunderstanding of why and when we ought to be looking to our Magisterium for guidance. The deposit of faith is committed primarily and first to the “Church, the whole people of God,” not to the Magisterium.


#18

[quote=buffalo]Would that mean you believe they are wrong?
[/quote]

Not wrong…just inconsistent and unwilling to “bite the bullet” and admit the truth of the ideas unleashed by Dei Verbum.

They publicly proclaim the innerancy and historicity of the bible and at the same time promote *Dei Verbum *which fully allows and encourages an alternative view.

The theologians and scripture scholars follow Dei Verbum’s slant on history, the diocesan directors of adult education teach it, the priest appointed by two popes to the pontifical biblical commission fully endorses it, and Catholic authors write on it under the imprimatur.

No wonder the general members are confused and think many of us are evil heretics - almost none of them have even heard of Dei Verbum and few have looked beyond the simple innerancy/historicity statements of the magesterium to what the magisterium really supports.


#19

[quote=patg]They publicly proclaim the innerancy and historicity of the bible and at the same time promote *Dei Verbum *which fully allows and encourages an alternative view.
[/quote]

Dei Verbum does not encourage an “alternative view” apart from those views which are understood and proclaimed by the Magesterium (citations to the contrary are most welcome - but will not be forthcoming, gentle readers). But there is a LOT that the Magesterium has not taken a position on (contrary to some opinions). On these points, any person (Catholic or otherwise) is free to (prayerfully) study, speculate and form personal opinion, provided there is nothing in these opinions which opposes other established teaching.

But when (and if) the Magesterium later teaches contrary to those personal opinions, a fatihful Catholic must abandon those ideas, as they have been shown to be false.


#20

[quote=patg]Not wrong…just inconsistent and unwilling to “bite the bullet” and admit the truth of the ideas unleashed by Dei Verbum.

They publicly proclaim the innerancy and historicity of the bible and at the same time promote *Dei Verbum *which fully allows and encourages an alternative view.

The theologians and scripture scholars follow Dei Verbum’s slant on history, the diocesan directors of adult education teach it, the priest appointed by two popes to the pontifical biblical commission fully endorses it, and Catholic authors write on it under the imprimatur.

No wonder the general members are confused and think many of us are evil heretics - almost none of them have even heard of Dei Verbum and few have looked beyond the simple innerancy/historicity statements of the magesterium to what the magisterium really supports.
[/quote]

Would an alternate view of ther truth still be true?


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