Magisterium and teenagers


Hi everyone,

I have to do a talk to a group of teenagers about the Magisterium and have no idea where to begin. Any thoughts so that I don't lose their attention right away? I just don't know where to start with this.

Thanks for the input.



especially for talks, i use the ecclesial method:

preparation-- gets the group ready to hear the proclamation of the talk
proclamation-- the heart of the talk in one or two sentences at MOST
explanation-- gives reason for the preparation
applicatrion-- answers the ,'so what does this mean to me?' question.
celebration-- a joyful response to the Truth we just heard.

rules i go by:

*teach one thing well (proclamation) instead of many things weakly
*speak shorter instead of longer.

*use humor.

my preparation would be these questions: "who's in charge of you? what gives them the authority to be in charge of you? how do you know they're making the right rules, guiding you the right way? what if they're wrong? is that OK with you or not?" (i'd either hand this out on a page to write then share answers, OR i would have the students turn to the person next to them to discuss it. OR time allowing, maybe they'd start in small groups discussing this question and having a rep from each group deliver the consensus to the large group.

my proclamation would probably say (rough draft) magisterium is a fancy name for the teaching authority of the church. because of the holy spirit, the magisterium is infallible in matters of faith and morals. that means, in matters of faith and morals, the church can't get it wrong.


Some teens like history, so you could start with an historical perspective.

Jesus became man, selected twelve Apostles, and trained them for three years. He taught orally. He didn't write even one book of the Bible. He established a Church to spread His truths and promised that this Church (the Catholic Church) would never teach doctrinal error. He also commanded the Apostles to go forth and teach everything that He had taught them (Matt. 28:20). SOME of what the Apostles were taught got put in writing. We call that the New Testament. But even that wasn't decided till the fourth century when the Pope and the bishops got together, prayed to the Holy Spirit, and went through over 300 documents to pick out the 27 we now call the New Testament. The fullness of Christ's teaching has always been handed on orally, from the Apostles through the bishops over the centuries to today. The Pope and the bishops who spread the fullness of Christ's truths are called the Magisterium.

The Word of God is not a book. It is a Person, Jesus Christ. This Word was transmitted to mankind in two main modes: Orally (first and foremost) and in written form (the Bible). Both need an authentic and authoritative interpreter, just like any other human communication. This is the Magisterium. We must always consider the Word using the following three: Holy Tradition, Holy Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church.

At least that's where I'd start. :)

You might want to listen to Fr. John Corapi talk about these things in his series on how Catholics are to read the Bible. He talks about the Magisterium in it. :)

God bless! :)


I would keep the talk to a 'high level' overview as opposed very detailed.


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