Everybody Submits to a Magisterium
Some more thoughts on the Magisterium.
I wanted to explain a bit more how we all have a “teaching authority” in our lives even if we don’t realize it. Using my own example may be the best way to illustrate the point I am trying to make.. For many years of my life away from the Church, we attended an independent charismatic community of christians. The music there was professionally performed, lively and heartfelt and there was a very strong sense of community and commitment among the members. Usually after about 45 minutes of singing, there would be a 45-50 minute sermon. The pastor was an excellent communicator and prepared diligently for his sermons. He loved Jesus very much and did not take his responsibilities lightly. He gave insightful and usually very thoughtful and nuanced ways of looking at a concept from scripture such as “faith.” His method of presenting gave me clarity and understanding to a passage of scripture he was preaching on that I had never seen. But if the truth be told, I accepted what he said as Truth and never questioned the source and inspiration for his teaching. I knew that it was from the Bible, but in reality it was his interpretation of the Bible. In theological discussions which occurred during the course of the week, folks would often “quote” from Pastor or say “But didn’t Pastor Eddie say…..” Week after week, month after month and year after year, I accepted the interpretation of Scripture from my pastor and eventually owned it for myself.
Now, when a Catholic says they subscribe to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church called the Magisterium, the non-catholic says, “I get my teaching from the Word of God and need no authority to tell me how to interpret God’s Word.” Yet in every Independent Bible-Only Church every Sunday, the faithful accept the "Teaching Magisterium" of “Pastor Jim” or “Pastor Mike” or in my case “Pastor Eddie.”
So I don’t think it is unreasonable for all of us (Catholics and non-Catholics) to admit we have our own magisterium, whose authority we follow. Catholics believe theirs is the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) and the bishops in union with him.