Definition of magisterium in English:



  • 1The teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church, especially as exercised by bishops or the Pope.

    ‘Who are you to set yourself up as an individual in opposition to the pope and the authentic magisterium?’
    • ‘Curran ought to restrict use of the term ‘teaching’ to the formal exercise of the ecclesiastical magisterium.’
    • ‘The mandate requires the professor to ‘teach authentic Catholic doctrine and to refrain from putting forth as Catholic teaching anything contrary to the church's magisterium.’’
    • ‘Submission to the teaching of the papacy and magisterium, as I understand it, is simply mainstream Catholicism, as is the Catholic Church's sturdy defense of the rights of conscience and the dignity of all human beings.’
    • ‘In theory Cardinal Winning could have spoken out on the strength of his magisterium, as a representative of the teaching authority of his church.’
    1. 1.1The official and authoritative teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.
      ‘Very few Catholic theologians would deny the legitimacy and importance of the teaching function of the magisterium, that is, the formulation of doctrines that express the essential elements of Christian belief.’
      • ‘Curran's contention that much moral knowledge is limited and contingent, Farley claims, sharply undercuts the certitude permeating many of the magisterium's official documents.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, scholastic theologians did not spend their time simply defending the doctrines articulated by the magisterium.’
      • ‘The Latin term magisterium means teaching office, but in the official language of the church hierarchy it means the teachings of bishops and the pope.’



/ˌmajəˈstirēəm/ /ˌmædʒəˈstɪriəm/


Late 16th century (in the alchemical senses ‘master principle of nature’, ‘substance capable of changing the nature of other substances’): Latin, ‘the office of master’, from magister (see magister). The senses relating to the teaching and authority of the Roman Catholic Church date from the mid 19th century.