& THE MAGISTERIUM
Joseph Cardinal Siri
published in RENOVATIO XV (1980), fasc. 1, pp. 5-8.
Christ did not entrust the
power of the Magisterium to theologians. He entrusted it exclusively
to His Church and within Her personally to Peter and to his successors.
The Magisterium conserves
all of divine revelation, she interprets it, she untangles it, she explains
it, she proposes it, and she defends it. This is what Christ has established.
Why? Divine reasons are not
fully known to us, as they touch the infinite. Some things we know,
some we intuit. It is certain that to exercise the Magisterium He did
not impose upon His Church the duty to become an academic, nor that
His popes should have a degree. He asked of them Fidelity.
As to the remaining required, Our Lord will attend to. Fidelity will
not endure without humility. But, it is required. Our Lord would also
have provided for this, because He constituted the Magisterium as infallible.
No one could ever think that
a doctrine consigned to men could endure beyond the first generation.
Even He did not think so, Our Lord, securing it by other and higher
To the theologians Jesus
Christ directly did not entrust anything. This is a necessary point
of departure about which we are to be totally clear, if we want to establish
clear terms and exact limits or the mutual rapore between theology and
A certain mandate, under
certain conditions, can be given to theologians by the Church. And that
mandate is to study, to learn thoroughly, to deduce, to defend, to explain
and render more accessible to the faithful that which was revealed.
It is to be thought of as
a commission, the results achieved in the performance of
that commission are to be judged by, assumed by, approved
by and canonized only by the Church. Only at this point does the work
or service of theologians acquire value, and only because the Church
validates these results. It is necessary to examine with absolute clarity
the conditions under which the theologians can conclude this ancillary
Here are the conditions that
are revealed throughout the entire history of the Church. NO invention.
In fact they have nothing of their own of value to reveal to the world.
Naturally, often, inquiry, in-depth, can begin with a hypothesis. But
hypothesis is not fact until it is demonstrated to be so. And here not
only is it required to be demonstrated but it must also be received
as such by the Church, the infallible teacher....
Cardinal Siri Page
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