The living, teaching office of the Church, whose task it is to give as authentic interpretation of the word of God, whether in its written form (Sacred Scripture), or in the form of Tradition. The Magisterium ensures the Church’s fidelity to the teaching of the Apostles in matters of faith and morals.
Magisterium (from the Latin magister: ‘master’) is a technical ecclesiastical term in Catholicism referring to the authority of the Catholic Church to teach the truths of the faith infallibly.
I would appreciate some clarification about the nature of the magisterium. In particular I would like to know what process some idea will go through before it is accepted as a binding part of the magisterium. I understand that the original deposit of Faith has undergone a process of elaboration over time.
The reason I ask is that there sometimes seems to be confusion about what an official teaching of the church is. Not everyone is a Thomist for instance, and although Thomas Aquinas’ influence on the western church was enormous not everything he wrote has become accepted as part of the magisterium. Ditto for Molina and especially true for Augustine.
If John Paul II had written something profundly important for believers (let’s say in AD 2001) and everyone seems to agree is part of the magisterium, how are we to really know? It will not be in the catechism and will not be in the Code of canons. Are we free to disregard something that is not included in the catechism?How can we know that some future Pope will not write something that contradicts his ideas, and how do we as laypeople keep up with these developments?
Many such ideas are included in diverse Bulls and decrees, how are they collected into an authoritative basic set of beliefs everyone can subscribe to? What is behind the catechism?