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Old 1st November 2008, 02:12 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default The Bishops and the Magisterium

The Magisterium is an ability exercised by the Pope and the Bishops; the Pope and the Bishops are not themselves the Magisterium.

Individual Bishops, other than the Pope, and groups of Bishops other than in an Ecumenical Council (or the like) led by the Pope, cannot teach infallibly. They can exercise the Magisterium non-infallibly, which means with a limited possibility of error, and then only if they remain in communion with the Pope and the other Bishops and with Tradition, Scripture, and past teachings of the Magisterium.

There have been times in the past when some Bishops went astray into heresy, such as the Arian heresy, to which a few hundred Bishops fell prey. Some of these Bishops repented after being corrected by an Ecumenical Council, and some did not.

In the present time, there are many Bishops who have gone astray in one way or another. There are some Bishops who have openly defied the Pope's call to have the Latin Mass available in their diocese. There are some Bishops who have openly refused to deny entry into Seminaries to persons with a homosexual orientation, despite clear instructions from the Holy See. There are some Bishops and Cardinals who think that the Bible contains errors on topics other than on faith and morals, despite the definitive teaching of past Popes.

The Church is in a difficult state at the present time. There are many teachers, from Bishops to priests to theologians and lay teachers, who teach some truth and some falsehood. There are questions that are already resolved in Catholic teaching, that are treated as if they are open questions, or as if they have been resolved to a contrary conclusion. There is much confusion among the faithful as to what to believe, and the Pope and the Bishops have not done all that they could do to resolve these problems.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 03:37 AM
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Sacredcello Sacredcello is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Conte View Post
The Church is in a difficult state at the present time. There are many teachers, from Bishops to priests to theologians and lay teachers, who teach some truth and some falsehood.

Do you think that these teachers could nevertheless be used by God in a powerful way to further the truth of Catholic teaching? I am thinking of those theologians who are publishing books in defense of the Church's teaching on birth control. I have yet to hear a sermon or a talk about it by a priest. But, these lay authors have convinced me of the truth about why the Church teaches what it does about artificial birth control.

If they are wrong on certain points, do you think the harm they are causing by spreading them outweigh their good works?
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Old 2nd November 2008, 07:09 AM
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To answer my own question, I imagine it is possible for theologians to do more harm than good in zealously defending the Church on one matter, but contradicting Church teaching on another. The judgmental tone that is taken by some teachers gives them an air of orthodoxy. One author even makes his case by claiming that those Catholics who practice faithfully on matters of family planning are the "biblical remnant of Israel." Such claims should raise suspicions, as it is a very haughty attitude.

History is full of those who judge others harshly, but are later found to be guilty of the same sins of those they condemn.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 01:18 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Many Protestant preachers do good work promoting the Bible and the basic message of Christianity. On some points they are entirely correct, and on other points they go far astray.

All heretics are partly right; they retain part of what the Church teaches and they reject part of what the Church teaches. So one heretic writes an article defending Church teaching on contraception and abortion, but then writes other articles attacking or undermining Church teaching on other points. This is not surprising; it is generally the way that it is with heresy. There is no litmus test that one can use to determine orthodoxy. One must believe each and every one of the required beliefs of the Faith; a subset is not sufficient.

Within Catholicism, the great apostasy is about to occur. The next Pope (elected in either 2009 or 2010) will require Catholics to believe and practice what the Church teaches; otherwise they may not receive Communion. Priests will be required to preach against abortion and contraception; they will be required to preach what the Church teaches. Most Catholics will leave the Church, along with very many religious, many priests, a significant number of Bishops, and a few Cardinals.

Then these persons who have left the Church will try to set up a Church of their own, one whose teachings are more in accord with secular society than Tradition and Scripture. Many Catholics will prefer this version of the Church; but it shall not stand for long.
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Old 2nd November 2008, 02:01 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Consider also the fact that there are both true and false private revelations in the world today. When we look at false private revelations, we find that they typically:

strongly condemn abortion
also condemn contraception
encourage people to pray the Rosary, and go to Mass and confession

So if we take such things as a litmus test, and therefore conclude that these must be true private revelations, we would go astray from the Catholic Faith, because these false private revelations also teach various heresies, and encourage schism.

There is no litmus test for orthodoxy; you either believe all that is required belief, or you do not.

Some persons use conservatism as a litmus test, if a theologian or Bishop is conservative, they then conclude that he must be correct on every issue.

Some persons use various types of credentials as a litmus test, so that if a theologian has a Ph.D., taught at an esteemed Catholic university, was a colleague of the Pope when the Pope was an academic, then they would conclude that such a theologian's teaching must be correct.

To the contrary, there is no litmus test for orthodoxy.
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