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Teaching authority

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 Contents - Sep 2011AD2000 September 2011 - Buy a copy now
2011 Fighting Fund launched - Peter Westmore
Pope appoints Archbishop Chaput to troubled Philadelphia - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Youth: Catholic young adult ministry: Sydney's formula for success - Br Barry Coldrey
Cloyne Report exposes Ireland's continuing sex abuse crisis - Michael Gilchrist
Glimpses of a new dawn in Russia - Babette Francis
Abortion grief: mother love, mercy love and God's compassion - Anne R. Lastman
Sacred Art: Catholic church statuary: a craft in danger - Christopher Akehurst
Interview: Pope's brother sheds more light on Benedict's early years - Zenit News Agency
Letters: Teaching authority - Fr M. Durham
Letters: Irish child abuse - Arnold Jago
Letters: Where is Jesus? - Michael Apthorp
Letters: Book of Genesis - Frank Mobbs
Letters: Catholic schools - Maria Plustwik
Events: Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for busy people
Books: THE COUNCIL IN QUESTION: a Dialogue with Catholic Traditionalism - Fr Glen Tattersall (reviewer)
Books: SNOW ON THE HEDGES: The Life of St Cuthbert Mayne, by Helen Whelan - Br Barry Coldrey (reviewer)
Donations: Please Support the Fighting Fund!
Books: Order books from
Reflection: Proper church etiquette: a public witness of faith - Bishop Arthur Serratelli

When all is said and done, whatever an individual's virtues, attributes or talents, there is just one basic question to be asked in order to discern whether he/she is a genuine Catholic.

Does this individual (cleric, religious or lay) humbly and thankfully accept the magisterium, i.e., the teaching authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith, morals and discipline that are to be held by all the faithful?

It is abundantly clear from the gospels that Our Lord himself is responsible for the arrangement of passing on his teaching authority to his apostles with Peter as head, and from them to their successors - the Pope and bishops in union with him.

Knowing our fallen human nature, he foresaw the need for such an arrangement, provided it, and guaranteed his protection and that of the Holy Spirit. It is a tremendous gift rather than an imposition. Moreover, it must be remembered that Our Lord identified himself with his Church (Acts 9:5). They cannot and should not be separated.

Incidentally, for those who hold that the Pope is only the first among equals and base their claim on Vatican II, I refer them to the Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church ( Lumen Gentium), par 25.

There should be no need to add that it is more than desirable for Catholics to know not only the "what" of magisterial teaching but also the "why." Hence the need for good, authentic, reliable adult Catholic programs. The recent UK publication Evangelium admirably fulfils this need. It is highly recommended for RCIA and upper secondary school programs as well. Its Australian distributor is St Paul Publications.

Retired Queensland priest

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 24 No 8 (September 2011), p. 13

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