“Magisterial Authority” And Lack Of It.


The new math teacher was somewhat peculiar…

Alas, Francis is Pope. Has he, therefore, magisterial authority in whatever he pleases? Let us see.

Your Mathematics teachers at school was in possession of all the qualifications and requisites to teach math. He was, to all intents and purposes, a math teacher, the one with the task to teach you how mathematics works. The teacher had the authority to teach you. You listened to what he said and learned the wisdom he imparted because he was the one tasked with the duty of doing so.

The teacher has, in his own sphere of competence, a magisterial authority, an authority to teach, which is why you attend his lesson.  

If your teacher had said to you that 2+2=5, would you have said that this is what the teacher says and therefore it must be true, and that you are bound to believe it, or even that everyone in your class must submit and give assent to what the teacher says? 


Why not? Because the teaching authority of the teacher can never contradict the truths of the subject matter he is supposed to teach. His teaching authority only applies within the confines of the truths he exposes. The mathematics teacher cannot make a new mathematics, much less demand that you accept it as in any way binding. A math teacher who teaches falseness about mathematics does not change the rules of mathematics, he merely shows that he is a very bad, incompetent, ignorant teacher and should lose his job (also note here: he will still be a mathematics teacher, no matter how incompetent, until he gets fired).

The same basic logic applies to the wrong teaching of a Pope. Yes, the Pope has a magisterial authority. He has the right and duty, like the teacher, to teach the truths of the faith to all Catholics. But exactly as in the case above, the truths he teaches also mark the boundaries of his magisterial authority. A Pope trying to teach you that “in certain cases” adulterers can receive Holy Communion is even more absurd than a teacher trying to persuade you that “in certain cases” two and two can be five. He has no authority to teach falseness. There is no magisterial authority once a pope has put himself outside of the truths which this magisterial authority serve.

This is basic logic (and Christianity) and there is no need of any encyclical letter or solemn pronouncements stating this. The principle of non contradiction demands that it be so, and even before that Christian obedience does. To think that truth can be changed (by anyone, even by Saint Padre Pio; much less by an Argentinian boor) is nothing short of blasphemous even before being absurd.

No, Francis has no magisterial authority to teach anything that is wrong. This is absolutely obvious and as clear as the sun.

The huge scandal here is not that Francis has “changed” anything. Two and two will never be five. The huge scandal is that we have a Pope trying to persuade us that this is the case.



Posted on December 19, 2017, in Bad Shepherds, Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Dissent, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I think you have a typo in the second last sentence.

  2. Yes, excellent analogy. And as far as obedience goes, we owe obedience to pope Francis and to every one of the 265 popes that came before him in all matters of faith and morals.

  3. 2+2 = 5, for large values of 2! 🙂

  4. Great analogy…

  5. Excellent analogy! You put it so simply and I congratulate you. By the way, I was a mathematics teacher and in base two 1+1= 10 (just for a laugh)

  6. Mundabor,

    We can make the same argument against the tribunals.  They have the authority to declare marriages null but not based on a false premise as in:

    “We are now to admit a more spiritual, human, and personal understanding of marriage in which the central issue is the relationship between the partners, their mutual fulfillment, completion, integration, and enrichment;

    “hence, we are finally in a position to acknowledge that a marriage in which such a relationship has not bee achieved or at least could not have been achieved in appropriate measure is invalid ad susceptible of being declared such by tribunals of the Roman Catholic Church.

    “Faced with commenting on this kind of thing, one hardly knows where to begin.  For not only is the premise false, there does not even seem to be any reason why the conclusions might flow from it were other than false,” (Msgr. Edward Egan, judge of the Sacred Roman Rota, “The Nullity of Marriage for Reason of Incapacity to Fulfill the Essential Obligations of Marriage, 1984).

    So Francis’ premise is wrong, as is the Math teacher’s, as are most tribunalists’ in American diocesan marriage offices.

    And this list goes on and on because virtually nothing sacred is being taught correctly in the Catholic Church today except in isolated places like the SSPX.

    If the priests, bishops, and cardinals at Vatican II had listened to Archbishop Lefebvre instead of those hot for innovation, we’d still have our papacy, parishes, dioceses, schools and universities, and families.

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