Lisa Brenninkmeyer vs. Magisterium of the Catholic Church

The Magisterium of the Church

85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48

87 Mindful of Christ’s words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”,49 the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.


Walking with Purpose was founded by Lisa Brenninkmeyer in Annapolis, Maryland in 2002. A convert to Catholicism herself, Lisa noticed a lack of fresh, relevant Catholic Bible Studies to attract and meet the needs of young mothers; she decided to offer a Bible Study to help fill this need in the community. Eight women responded to her advertisement in the church bulletin, and the group began. Each year thereafter, the number of women in the program doubled as news of the positive impact of the program was shared, woman to woman, irrespective of faith background, age, or marital status. Women from both Catholic and Protestant churches were now part of the program, and all were gaining further insight into shared Christian ideals as well as a new understanding of different Christian traditions.


I wonder what your opinion on this is?. I want to say that for the Archbishop of Baltimore to promote this laity organization which requires the bishops* sign over* to the laity director teaching authority is highly incorrect. The Lord gave the authority the magisterium not give a laity organization teaching to teach. I think that is how laity get lost spiritual. It’s this legit?

What do you think?

I feel like you misunderstand the role of the Magisterium. So long as the lay organization submits to the doctrine of the Magisterium and doesn’t veer off into ideas clearly not in line with the Magisterium, there’s no issue here, and it would be a great thing. The Magisterium is the authority on interpreting doctrine and setiting teachings on doctrine. It’s not meant to forbid educated lay persons from teaching based on its teachings.

I’m not really sure what to say other than you seem to be really confused on this matter.

Canon law requires that books to be published on Catholic topics be reviewed and approved by the ordinary (bishop)-- canons 823 and 824. Her books have been reviewed and approved by the Bishop of Baltimore, given the imprimatur.

So, I have no idea what you think the problem is?

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Who is Lisa Brenninkmeyer?

I’m confused. Did this woman promulgate some teaching contrary to the Church’s teaching or do you just have some issue with the fact that the Archdiocese of Baltimore (and I suspect others as well because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen “Walking with Purpose” groups advertised at churches outside Baltimore area) is allowing her non-profit to run some Bible study groups for women?

First, is there evidence of false or erroneous teaching? If this program teaches according with the deposit of faith, there is no problem. Finally, after decades of Catholics being lured astray by bible study groups, there is one luring them back, and lurkers as well. Sadly, the bad and worsening lack of vocations to the priesthood makes such moves necessary. We’d best get used to it as a concept.

I’d never heard of her either.

Her materials have the imprimatur from the bishop of her diocese. She started a bible study for women, and it has grown. She incorporated a non-profit that sells the bible study materials and trains parish leaders.

I’m not sure what the problem is, per the OP.

How would it be any different than say Matthew Kelly or Scott Hahn?

Or Johnette Benkovic, who has created a women’s bible study program herself.

Scott Hahn has a PhD in Systematic Theology.

Otherwise, none.

That is right. He isn’t really laity in an educated sense.

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