The Magisterium of the Church

In Reflections and Homilies by Deacon ScottLeave a Comment

Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude
Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Today is the Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, two of the original twelve apostles, men selected by Christ to establish his Church and spread his teachings throughout the world.

As we know, the early Church believed that the apostles were to have successors. Through the bishops of the Church, the apostolic ministry would continue as an essential part of the order of the Church and of God’s plan of salvation.

By obeying the teachings of our leaders, especially those of the Popes and our bishop, we will know the truth which will set us free, be united as members of Christ’s body, and truly build the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.

As Catholics we are blessed to have the teaching authority of the Church to guide us in our moral choices and keep us on a path of holiness. This teaching authority is called the Magisterium of the Church. We can be sure that if we order our lives according to the teachings of Mother Church, handed on to us over the centuries through the successors of the Apostles, our thoughts and actions will be pleasing to God.

While there are many documents that have been produced over the centuries to guide the faithful in matters of faith and moral conduct, there are two that are an excellent place to start; those that are particularly relevant to this particular time in which we live.

First, may I suggest that you read and become intimately familiar with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which the U.S. Bishops’ Conference says conveys the essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a complete and summary way. I suggest you read it from cover to cover.

My second suggestion is that you read and study the Compendium of the Social Teaching of the Church, published in 2004 during Saint Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, which clearly outlines and explains the Church’s social teaching. The issues addressed in this Compendium are particularly relevant in our modern culture and should be the basis for how we form our consciences in regards to the common good, human rights, the family, the dignity of work, our economic life, politics, the environment, the promotion of worldwide peace, social doctrine, the spirituality of the laity, and the help the Church offers modern man.

Along with this homily I will publish links on my personal website, deaconscott.com, to these documents, as well as to recent teachings by one of our diocese’s own Catholic scholars, Fr. John Arthur Orr, to help us understand them. Fr. Orr has been explaining the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church for the past few months in his homilies at St. Mary’s in Athens, where he is the pastor. His short videos are very helpful in understanding the social teaching of the Church on a variety of relevant moral issues.

Dear friends, it is so important that we know why we believe what we believe. Mother Church offers us in her teachings everything we need to know to live as faithful children of our heavenly Father.

Let us resolve to study these teachings and seek a deeper understanding of them so as to base our thoughts and actions upon them, repenting of any ideas we may hold that are contrary to them. In this way we will find peace in the decisions we make, knowing that our thoughts and values are in accord with the eternal truths made known to us by Christ, and proclaimed over the centuries through his holy and apostolic Church.

Saints Simon and Jude, pray for us.


Fr. John Arthur Orr provides a walk-through of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church in nine short videos on St. Mary Athens YouTube channel. The first is below (audio volume improves in subsequent videos):


The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Read online at the USCCB website
View on the Vatican website
Purchase on Amazon


The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
View on the Vatican website
Purchase on Amazon


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