Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Theologians and The Magisterium

Vatican II

I frequently hear Catholics quoting the teaching of a theologian in order to dispute some or other teaching of the Magisterium.  Most recently it has been a reference to the “expert wisdom of Catholic theologian Professor Gaybba” as a means of repudiating the infallibility of the teaching of the Magisterium on the ordination of women.

What is particular concerning about these Catholics, who argue that theologians have this authority, is that they are often also precisely the same people who argue that the Church has not fully embraced the teachings of Vatican II.  Yet they choose to ignore the teaching of Vatican II, which taught quite clearly that: “the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written [Scripture] or handed on [Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.[1]

These same people, and the theologians whom they quote as having such “expert wisdom”, also ignore the teaching of Vatican II regarding the infallibility of the Pope.  (See my earlier post “Infallibility of the Pope[2])

However most crucially they also choose to ignore the words of Christ himself, who said: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.[3]

It really is sad when Catholics become so desperate for the Church to condone their personal ideals that they will go so far as to try to raise doubts amongst fellow Catholics about the teaching of the Magisterium.  All of course in the vain hope that, if they can sway enough other Catholics into their way of thinking, they could get the Magisterium to change its teaching.  It is also particularly sad, and deeply concerning, when our only South African Catholic newspaper, The Southern Cross, provides a platform for these writers and theologians to do exactly this.

Just imagine where we would be today if the Magisterium had permitted its teaching to be swayed by whatever was the most popular current ideals of society.

Of course we all know that God has written the truth in our hearts.  We know deep inside, if we are honest with ourselves, what really is the truth.  For me this is it: God is constant.  He is the same today as He has always been.  I simply cannot comprehend that God would change with the times, because that would reveal to me a being who is subject to the world and who does not transcend it.  Such a being could simply not truly be God!  So, if the Church were to suddenly change any of its teaching, which it has always held to be true, my natural instinct would lead me to question the truth of that new teaching.

In the upcoming Year Of Faith we may need to pray for greater faith in the truths God has revealed to us through the Church.  Faith to resist the confusing messages that some Catholics are disseminating and to remain true to the Church who Christ established.

[1] Dei Verbum, #10, November 18, 1965
[2] Mark Cogitates, Infallibility Of The Pope (http://bit.ly/NlxzUD), Aug 7, 2012
[3] Luke 10: 16


  1. Fr Ray Blake was clearly having similar challenges with Theologians today. Here is a link to his Blog on the same subject: http://marymagdalen.blogspot.com/2012/08/theology.html

  2. The Supreme Authority in the Church is the Pope.

    As for theologians we can simply smile and ask them to tell us: How many theologians equals one Pope?

    Brian Gayba has aways been in my opinion out of order. He is known to be usefull and pulled out of the hat every now and then, especially when they are trying to "re-invent" the Church as is with RENEW.