Lumen Gentium 25 states in part:

In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent (religioso animi obsequio). This religious submission of mind and will (religiosum voluntatis et intellectus obsequium) must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium (authentico magisterio) of the Roman Pontiff

What is the scope of the authentic magisterium of the Pope? How does this differ from the Ordinary or Extraordinary Magisterium of the Church? Can the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff conflict with the general Magisterium (what has been taught previously)? Is the Roman Pontiff the specific current holder or the general office?

  • Authentic meaning there are fake Magisterium. The Magisterium are the College of Bishops, it can also be a College of Schismatic Bishops which can be called Magisterium too but not authentic since they are not in full communion with the Roman Pontiff. This link might help clarifies..wherepeteris.com/the-folly-of-the-build-it-yourself-magisterium Mar 26, 2021 at 23:02

1 Answer 1


Volume 3 (of 5) of the Exegetical Commentary on the [1983] Code of Canon Law (PDF pp. 3269-70) elucidates the "authentic magisterium" that appeared, from Lumen Gentium §25, in

1983 Code Can. 752
Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the intellect and will (religiosum tamen intellectus et voluntatis obsequium) must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the authentic magisterium (magisterium authenticum), even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive act*; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things which do not agree with it.

*cf. Pius XII, Humani Generis §20: "Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: 'He who heareth you, heareth me' [Lk. 10:16]; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians."


1. Classification of acts of magisterium with formally negative wording

The first comment that would seem to be necessary for a correct un­derstanding of this canon is that both the intrinsic disposition of persons receiving acts of magisterium as well as the acts of magisterium them­selves mentioned in c. 752 are described in negative terms. This approach in phrasing the law (which is necessary in this case, as we shall see) does not imply or suggest an attitude of inattention or unawareness with re­ spect to either divine assistance with the acts of magisterium mentioned in this canon or religious submission with which these acts are to be re­ceived.

Canon 752, like cc. 749-750, refers to the authentic universal magis­terium of the Supreme Pontiff or College of Bishops. The difference is that c. 752 deals with magisterial acts the subject matter of which does not at­tempt to define a doctrine by means of a decisive infallible act. Magisterial acts of the Roman Pontiff that are made with no indication of being defini­tions of dogma are also called non ex cathedra magisterium (LG 25) or non-infallible pontifical magisterium. Along this same line of distinction, these acts of magisterium, as opposed to the acts of magisterium de­scribed in cc. 7 49-750, are also known as simply authentic magisterium, or magisterium that does not have the highest authority.

The need to resort to classifications of these magisterial acts that are technically negative (non-infallible, non-definitive, non ex cathedra) is necessitated by the fact that there are no specific bodies or kinds of action that can be exclusively described as those of the universal magisterium, as discussed here, to differentiate them from statements of dogma that constitute infallible magisterium. In fact, the same bodies (the Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops) impart both infallible magisterium and non-definitive magisterium. Further, no distinction can be drawn between these two types of magisterium by stating that a solemn act gives rise to an infallible magisterium, since many documents written by ecumenical councils do not claim to define doctrine dogmatically. On the contrary, an ordinary and universal magisterium exercised by the bishops, "dispersed throughout the world but maintaining the bond of union among themselves and with the successor of Peter" (c. 749 §2) may be infallible (c. 750).

Further, the efficacy of a magisterial act alone to formulate a definitive, infallible teaching must not be confused with the fact that the same magisterial act, even though it may not expressly state that it is definitive dogma (such as an encyclical of the Roman Pontiff), may contain infallible doctrines originating from earlier definitive acts whose efficacy is not diminished because magisterial acts of lower authority recalls doctrines defined earlier.

  • in other words, authentic magisterium doesn't differ from ordinary/extraordinary, but rather authentic means the teaching office as truly exercised. In any case, the scope is faith and morals. The final paragraph does indicate how to approach an act containing infallible and non-infallible statements. What is not clear is how to resolve (and who may resolve) apparent contradictions between infallible statements (which by definition must still be true) and non ex cathedra magisterial acts.
    – eques
    Mar 29, 2021 at 12:58
  • By definition, truth cannot have contradiction AND it is not virtuous to give assent to apparent contradiction. Either there is no actual contradiction and there is a rational way to resolve the apparent contradiction OR the non ex cathedra is not authentic magisterium. There is no 3rd possibility as far as I can see.
    – eques
    Mar 29, 2021 at 12:59

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