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Magisterium

From Academic Kids

Magisterium (from the Latin magister: 'master') is a technical ecclesiastical term in Catholicism referring to the Pope and those Bishops who are directly under his supervision. According to their belief, the Magisterium is the only (earthly) authority qualified to teach or interpret the truths of the faith infallibly.

"The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. [1997], pt. 1, sect. 1, ch. 2, art. 2, III [#100]).

Informally, magisterium refers to the consensus of the faith which, Catholics believe, has been historically taught and believed over two millennia. This informal magisterium is from time to time formally or solemnly ratified by the dogmatic definitions issued ex cathedra by the pope, or by the bishops in council, provided that their decisions are accepted and approved by the formal Magisterium.

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