The Magisterium

The Magisterium of the Catholic Church interprets, teaches, and protects the deposit of faith which forms Catholic beliefs and is found written in Sacred Scripture and revealed in unwritten Sacred Tradition.

The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus who gave authority to the Peter and the Apostles, who then taught from this authority and passed it down to the pope and the bishops of the Catholic Church who are their successors.

From the Latin word magister which means “teacher”, the Magisterium is the current pope and todays bishops in union with him, who have accepted the teaching of previous popes and bishops including the Church Fathers who developed an understanding of the faith.

Jesus continues to teach through this teaching office of the Catholic Church which remains entrusted with his authority and is protected from teaching errors regarding faith and morals by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Magisterium rarely exercises its office in an extraordinary way when a pope teaches authoritatively about faith and morals from the Chair of St. Peter or when an ecumenical council issues a definitive teaching.

The Ordinary-Universal Magisterium is the definitive and absolute teaching on faith and morals by the bishops of the Church found throughout all of the world and in union with the pope but not in an ecumenical council.

Both the Extraordinary and Ordinary-Universal Magisterium are infallible and require full acceptance of faith by Catholics.

The Ordinary Magisterium is expressed by bishops and popes in their ministry on a regular basis through homilies, addresses, and pastoral letters. These teachings are not infallible but still authoritative and are to be obeyed and believed.

Guidance about what to believe and how to act:

The Religion Teacher

The teaching authority of Jesus Christ Himself:

Good Catholic

Teaching in Jesus’ name:

Ascension Presents

“Whoever listens to you listens to Me. Whoever rejects you rejects Me. And whoever rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”

Luke 10: 16

Protecting the deposit of faith:

VISION Vocation Guide

A unique authority guarded by the Holy Spirit:


In particular, as the Council affirms, “the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether in its written form or in that of Tradition, has been entrusted only to those charged with the Church’s living Magisterium, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ”. The Church, in her life and teaching, is thus revealed as “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, including the truth regarding moral action. Indeed, “the Church has the right always and everywhere to proclaim moral principles, even in respect of the social order, and to make judgments about any human matter in so far as this is required by fundamental human rights or the salvation of souls”. Precisely on the questions frequently debated in moral theology today and with regard to which new tendencies and theories have developed, the Magisterium, in fidelity to Jesus Christ and in continuity with the Church’s tradition, senses more urgently the duty to offer its own discernment and teaching, in order to help man in his journey towards truth and freedom.

Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 6 August 1993

Jesus founded an authoritative Church:

Chris Bray — All That Catholic Stuff

One body interpreting the truth with authority:


“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.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 85

Jesus’ authority has been passed down:

The Coming Home Network International

Lack of authority leads to division:

Catholic Answers

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Compassion for those who are wayward:

Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

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