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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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Teaching Authority in the Church

Teaching Authority in the Church

March 16, 1989

Chapter:
(p.16) 2 Teaching Authority in the Church
Source:
Church and Society
Author(s):

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823228621.003.0002

This chapter discusses the teaching authority of the Church, limiting the scope to those who hold pastoral office in the Church—the pope and the bishops in communion with him. In the nineteenth century the term magisterium came to mean the public teaching authority of the Church. Magisterium became a collective noun, meaning the class of people who are institutionally empowered to put the Church as such on record as standing for this or that position. The chapter claims that the abuse of authority is a real danger in the Church as in any other society. Moreover, it holds that Christianity is threatened by the demonic power of a public opinion that refuses to submit to the discipline of faith. The hierarchical magisterium has been more effective than the theological community in safeguarding the purity of the faith against the trends and fashions of the day.

Keywords:   teaching, magisterium, Christianity, theologian, pope

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