The day I met Pope Francis I went to a gathering of international pro-life leaders in Rome where I heard this talk by Fr. Linus Clovis that now is going viral.
You can find a transcript of the talk at the Facebook page Keeping it Catholic here
The Magisterium of the Church is the third leg in the stool. So, we have Scripture, we have Tradition, and we have the Magisterium, the teaching office. “The task of giving an authentic interpretation to the Word of God, whether in written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the bishop of Rome”—again, the Catechism, section 85.
This sounds like a loaded gun, but there is a caveat: “Yet, this Magisterium is not superior to the will of God, but its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith”—The Catechism again, Section 86.
So, when we have shepherds—bishops—who are deviating, we can go back to the Catechism and say, no, you are not there to give us new doctrine; what you’re there to do is to guard it, to expound on it, and to do so with dedication.
So we have to have this continuity, there cannot be a break, but we have seen for us there have been so many breaks. “The Church’s Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.” (CCC 888.) Unfortunately, we’ve seen—yes, the documents come out, the beginning is okay, but just leaves it —it’s just hanging there. So the idea that we, as faithful, have to accept it is not stressed. It’s almost left to whether we feel like it or not.
“Obedience is owed to the Pope, but the Pope owes obedience to the Word and the apostolic Tradition.” We have to obey the Pope, but the Pope himself must obey the written Word; he must obey the Tradition. He must respond to these and the Holy Spirit.
“Obedience is owed to the Pope, but it is the duty of the Pope to give the character of possibility to this obedience.” The Pope has to facilitate our obeying him, by himself being obedient to the Word of God.
Also at the Facebook page, there is a lovely homily by Fr. Clovis on Our Lady of Guadalupe.