Attwater on the Magisterium
magister, a master). The
Church's divinely appointed authority to teach the truths of religion,
"Going therefore, teach ye all nations . . . teaching them to observe all
things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. xxviii, 19-20).
This teaching is infallible: "And behold I am with you all days, even
to the consummation of the world" (ibid.)
The solemn megisterium is that
which is exercised only rarely by formal and authentic definitions of councils
or popes. Its matter comprises dogmatic definitions of cumenical councils or
of the popes teaching ex cathedra, or of particular councils, if
their decrees are universally accepted or approved in solemn form by the pope;
also creeds and professions of faith put forward or approved in solemn form by
the pope or cumenical council.
The ordinary magisterium is continually
exercised by the Church especially in her universal practices connected with faith
or morals, in the unanimous consent of the Fathers (q.v.) and
theologians, in the decisions of the Roman Congregations
concerning faith and morals, in the common sense (q.v.) of the
faithful, and various historical documents in which the
faith is declared. All these are founts of teaching which as a whole
is infallible. They have to be studied separately to determine how far and
in what conditions each of them is an infallible source of the truth.
Donald Attwater, A Catholic Dictionary (NY: Macmillan,
1958), s.v. "Magisterium," p. 301 (paragraph spacing added)
+Georgius L. Craven. Epus. Sebastopolis, Vic. Cap. Westmon., Westmonasterii, die
30 Januarii, 1957..