An ultramontane antiessentialist, by any other name, would be just as wrong…
April 25, 2006 § 52 Comments
“X is true because the Magisterium says so.”
“I know that X is true because the Magisterium says so.”
Sometimes the first statement is used in everyday sloppy language as shorthand for the second. But in general, these statements mean entirely different things; and in general, the first statement is false.
Extra credit: this is true even in disciplinary and juridical matters, not only in matters of faith and morals. The proximate reason we have to abstain from meat on Fridays is because the Magisterium has established this as a discipline. But the reason we have to obey the Magisterium in matters of discipline is not simply (and circularly) because the Magisterium says we have to obey the Magisterium in matters of discipline.
The Magisterium (and She says this herself, through the person of Pope Benedict) does not make things true by asserting them. The Magisterium can be relied upon to tell us what is in fact true. A sure witness to truth is not the creator of truth.
If a tree falls in the forest, and the Magisterium doesn’t say anything about it, it still makes a sound.