Thursday, April 27, 2006

Life within a Living Tradition

Dear Monsignor, we've been discussing pages 169 and 170 of Why the Church, where Don Gius talks about the ordinary magisterium of the Church. He likens it to the phenomenon of osmosis, saying that by remaining in the ecclesial community, we absorb the truths we need to face life. We take this to mean that we absorb these truths not only from priests, bishops, and other teachers of the faith, but also from other Catholics we interact with every day--our in-laws, our coworkers, our friends in the Movement, etc. Is this what he means?

And is this "osmosis" the same thing as more direct methods of learning, like homilies, books, or one-on-one advice from a confessor or friend? Or is it more subtle than that, something that happens without our recognizing it consciously?

Posted by Jim Cork, Atlanta, GA

Monsignor Albacete:
Yes, the process through which the "ordinary magisterium" is exercised is indeed close to what you describe. It is life within a living tradition, a way of looking and living that is verified by correspondence to the desires of a heart created for fulfillment through divine life. According to Fr. Giussani, the "heart" is the first authority we encounter along this path. The second one is the Liturgy, which expresses through words and gestures precisely what we are taught by the experience of belonging to the Church. Still, all of this has to become ultimately incarnate in a concrete, identifiable human reality or encounter, and this is the authority of the bishops in communion with the Holy Father. The "ordinary magisterium" becomes concrete in their teaching.


Post a Comment

<< Home