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I hear people say that the corruption in the Church and the opinions of controversial Bishops aren't the true Church, that the Church are the faithful followers with Jesus as it's head. 

OK, I agree, but at what point do we say the institution isn't the true Church?  The Magisterium are the Bishops, to include the Pope, and they make the rules.  They are supposed to interpret and teach scripture and tradition, to uphold Church doctrine. 

So what the Magisterium says, mostly the Pope it seems, is what the Catholic Church is as an institution.  They can change doctrine and there's not much anyone can do about it. So, is the Catholic Church the One True Church if they decide to make sweeping changes?  My conscience says no.  But when does it reach that point?  Was it Vatican II? Will it be acceptance of gay marriage, contraception and/or abortion? Will it be women priests or declaring all religions equal in worth?  

I am discovering things that are probably old-hat to most of you, but it's been weighing on me quite a bit.  The more I read, the more I think the Church of my grandfathers was closer to the truth and we're slowly moving away from that.

I want to stay true to the Church, but I don't want to follow an institution that's rotten to the core simply because it bears the name.
This works for me, hopefully not far off.

The Magisterium is the Church.

The Church has always had good and bad leaders. Heck go back to the 12 apostles, 1 betrayed Jesus and 10 ran away when Jesus underwent His Passion. We are members of the Church because it is the Church Jesus founded irrespective of the conduct of it's leaders. Is it difficult and demoralizing at times? Yup

But then again think of what the MSM would do with something like the Cadaver Synod! The church has divine protection as Jesus has said, all the other members are sinners like us...

Keep your head up (or down if that works) and push through!
Magisterium just means teaching authority.  Older sources call it the ecclesia docens (teaching Church).  In short it is the bishops, with the Pope being the chief teacher.  The Church as a whole of course includes the rest of the clergy, and the laity and professed religious.  

A member of the teaching church may teach error, including the Pope.  So can even large groups of members.  In that sense, the Magisterium can err in particular cases.  What cannot err is the universal, ordinary Magisterium (that teaching always and everywhere) or the extraordinary Magisterium--the Pope or the whole body of bishops (either in Council or spread throughout the world) making a definitive judgment for the whole Church.  

It also bears pointing out that the whole Church cannot defect.  Even if the magisterium were to propose something in error in a manner that is not definitive, the whole Church will never assent to that error. Conversely, assent from the Church (while not strictly necessarily for judgment to be infallible) will never be lacking to a judgment that is infallibly true.

So if a definitive, extraordinary judgment were to be in error, then we should all pack our bags, because this should be impossible.  At what point an error would theoretically corrupt the universal magisterium is another question that would probably take a long time to evaluate. From what I've read, a truth being neglected or even disputed in the Church for a long time is not necessarily dispositive.

Here is how St. Vincent de Lerins says we should approach the presence of error in a particular time:


Quote:[7.] What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty.

[8.] But what, if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province? Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees, if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness and ignorance of a few. But what, if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living in various times and places, yet continuing in the communion and faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently, that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without any doubt or hesitation.

  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm
The Magisterium is the teaching authority as SS writes. It is the authority by which the Church which is teaching the faithful what they must believe and do as Catholics. Thus when we say "the Magisterium teaches X" we are saying that the persons with authority to teach on behalf of Christ are teaching us what is contained in revelation, what can be deduced from what is contained in revelation or what moral behavior we must practice based on revelation and Natural Law.

Every Pope and Bishop as well as the immemorial beliefs of the Church as a whole qualify as the Magisterium, as long as they are teaching and teaching matters that are part of this limited set of things. A particular Pope might never be part of the Magisterium, if he never taught anything which was meant to fall under this authority.

Thus Pope Francis is not the Magisterium, nor is any individual Pope, nor is any individual bishop. They each can be when they propose to us as truth something which they say is a revealed or virtually revealed truth regarding Faith or Morals. That magisterium is infallible, and thus unchangable.

This is precisely the problem we face today. The Pope and even the Second Vatican Council have made statements and decrees which seem to contradict previous magisterial statements. We can take Dignitatis Humanæ of Vatican II and look at it against Mortalium animos of Pius XI and Quanta cura of Pius IX. These seem incompatible. Some have tried to reconcile them, but if they are truly incompatible, then one must be wrong and thus not part of the teaching of the Church.

As SS writes, even a Pope can err to the point of heresy without compromising the Magisterium. We have the case of John XXII who utter and even after correction held the error that souls who leave this life destined for heaven do not have the Beatific Vision until after the Last Judgement. He was roundly condemned by theologians on this point and even called a heretic by some. Eventually he retracted. He successor declared the view heretical and solemnly defined the opposite. We understand that Pope John XXII was never trying to bind the faithful to his view as the successor of St Peter but rather was holding a private opinion as a theologian.
(10-10-2018, 12:00 PM)jack89 Wrote: [ -> ]I hear people say that the corruption in the Church and the opinions of controversial Bishops aren't the true Church, that the Church are the faithful followers with Jesus as it's head. 

OK, I agree, but at what point do we say the institution isn't the true Church?  The Magisterium are the Bishops, to include the Pope, and they make the rules.  They are supposed to interpret and teach scripture and tradition, to uphold Church doctrine. 

So what the Magisterium says, mostly the Pope it seems, is what the Catholic Church is as an institution.  They can change doctrine and there's not much anyone can do about it. So, is the Catholic Church the One True Church if they decide to make sweeping changes?  My conscience says no.  But when does it reach that point?  Was it Vatican II? Will it be acceptance of gay marriage, contraception and/or abortion? Will it be women priests or declaring all religions equal in worth?  

I am discovering things that are probably old-hat to most of you, but it's been weighing on me quite a bit.  The more I read, the more I think the Church of my grandfathers was closer to the truth and we're slowly moving away from that.

I want to stay true to the Church, but I don't want to follow an institution that's rotten to the core simply because it bears the name.

I agree with all your points. It's very confusing to say follow the pope, bishop, etc. of today.  And now the pope has changed the law so  he can take proceedings from a Synod and make them official teaching.

The Catechism has been changed to remove capital punishment - a teaching that was on the books for how many centuries?

I share many of your thoughts and concerns.  All the sweeping changes - is it still the One True Church?  When is or already was the tipping point?

Have things departed too far from Apostolic ways where things were done in Council - and will we pay for that?  I am less and less a fan of unrestricted papal power.

Much to ponder and pray on.
(10-10-2018, 03:44 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]The Magisterium is the teaching authority as SS writes. It is the authority by which the Church which is teaching the faithful what they must believe and do as Catholics. Thus when we say "the Magisterium teaches X" we are saying that the persons with authority to teach on behalf of Christ are teaching us what is contained in revelation, what can be deduced from what is contained in revelation or what moral behavior we must practice based on revelation and Natural Law.

Every Pope and Bishop as well as the immemorial beliefs of the Church as a whole qualify as the Magisterium, as long as they are teaching and teaching matters that are part of this limited set of things. A particular Pope might never be part of the Magisterium, if he never taught anything which was meant to fall under this authority.

Thus Pope Francis is not the Magisterium, nor is any individual Pope, nor is any individual bishop. They each can be when they propose to us as truth something which they say is a revealed or virtually revealed truth regarding Faith or Morals. That magisterium is infallible, and thus unchangable.

This is precisely the problem we face today. The Pope and even the Second Vatican Council have made statements and decrees which seem to contradict previous magisterial statements. We can take Dignitatis Humanæ of Vatican II and look at it against Mortalium animos of Pius XI and Quanta cura of Pius IX. These seem incompatible. Some have tried to reconcile them, but if they are truly incompatible, then one must be wrong and thus not part of the teaching of the Church.

As SS writes, even a Pope can err to the point of heresy without compromising the Magisterium. We have the case of John XXII who utter and even after correction held the error that souls who leave this life destined for heaven do not have the Beatific Vision until after the Last Judgement. He was roundly condemned by theologians on this point and even called a heretic by some. Eventually he retracted. He successor declared the view heretical and solemnly defined the opposite. We understand that Pope John XXII was never trying to bind the faithful to his view as the successor of St Peter but rather was holding a private opinion as a theologian.

I understand it is a common SSPX position that error is strictly incompatible with the Magisterium--in a vacuum I think it is simply a matter of definitions.  If one defines the Magisterium (without qualifiers) as simply those with divine authority to teach or the teaching of those with divine authority to do so, then clearly there can be error and qualified or contingent levels of assent make sense (e.g. obsequium religiousum). If we define it as the authoritative content of the deposit of faith as handed on by those with teaching authority, then of course error can never be included in this and assent to truth should never be qualified. 

The problem is when these two definitions are conflated and the presence of error in a particular act by an authorized teacher, even a Pope or general council, is considered to deprive the teacher of any divine teaching authority, so that the teaching authority in the Church is no longer considered one continuous subject.  That's when you get things like statements that general council "has no authority of teaching," false dichotomies between "eternal Rome" and the Church of the city of Rome, or the identification of the Magisterium of the past and the living Magisterium (ie the Magisterium exercised by those currently alive earth) as two distinct subjects.
(10-10-2018, 04:29 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: [ -> ]I agree with all your points. It's very confusing to say follow the pope, bishop, etc. of today.  And now the pope has changed the law so  he can take proceedings from a Synod and make them official teaching.

That's nothing new. You don't think popes write all those encyclicals themselves, do you? Just because someone else writes it doesn't make it non-magisterial when the Pope promulgates it as his own.

(10-10-2018, 04:29 PM)Markie Boy Wrote: [ -> ]The Catechism has been changed to remove capital punishment - a teaching that was on the books for how many centuries?

The Catechism is a summary of Church teachings and is only as infallible as the teachings themselves. The new entry on capital punishment is nothing more than Pope Francis's opinion, and we're bound to consider it since he's the Pope, but we don't have to assent to it if we believe his judgment's wrong on this. He's not infallible on the conditions of prisons, or on which court systems are doing a good job and which aren't, since that's not a matter of faith and morals any more than whether or not humans are causing global cooling global warming climate change. Those are factual, and, to some extent, political issues. And the whole bit about 'human dignity' doesn't even make any sense, even more so in light of the previous paragraph that the primary purpose of punishment is retribution.

There's a reason he did this using the Catechism, and not an actual encyclical like, you know, every other pope has done when he wants to teach on doctrinal matters.
(10-10-2018, 05:06 PM)SaintSebastian Wrote: [ -> ]I understand it is a common SSPX position that error is strictly incompatible with the Magisterium--in a vacuum I think it is simply a matter of definitions.  If one defines the Magisterium (without qualifiers) as simply those with divine authority to teach or the teaching of those with divine authority to do so, then clearly there can be error and qualified or contingent levels of assent make sense (e.g. obsequium religiousum). If we define it as the authoritative content of the deposit of faith as handed on by those with teaching authority, then of course error can never be included in this and assent to truth should never be qualified. 

The problem is when these two definitions are conflated and the presence of error in a particular act by an authorized teacher, even a Pope or general council, is considered to deprive the teacher of any divine teaching authority, so that the teaching authority in the Church is no longer considered one continuous subject.  That's when you get things like statements that general council "has no authority of teaching," false dichotomies between "eternal Rome" and the Church of the city of Rome, or the identification of the Magisterium of the past and the living Magisterium (ie the Magisterium exercised by those currently alive earth) as two distinct subjects.

I think that's one of the best presentations of the difficult we find today!

You will find those taking a strict definition of Magisterium like the SSPX and saying : clearly no error is possible, so if it seems so, you go back to the certainly correct continuity you find until the Magisterium authoritatively sorts things out. The Magisterium is the authority, not the persons who could possibly use it.

You will then find those taking a looser definition allowing for so-called "mistakes" which could be corrected, and thus the Magisterium is the persons who can exercise the authority, and there is a distinction between the infallible Magisterium (which is what is spoken of in the first) and the day-to-day practical "magisterium" when these people with the authority offer suggestions, discipline, exhortations, etc.

The difficulty is when the two are conflated, as you suggest. When we say that Vatican II is part of the Magisterium in the second sense, but then instead of saying, listen, it never defined anything so at best it is owed a respect unless there are real problems and then we need to clear those up, people switch their stance and say, no Vatican II is the Magisterium and it's infallible, so no error is possible. Dignitatis Humanæ is therefore without error, and you must accept it.

In essence it's a Four Term Fallacy.