A Christian website I’ve come across boasts that its reach extends to over 36,000 different denominations. I did a double-take when I saw that number, but on reflection realized that it’s a sad testament to Christian disunity in our day. At the same time, it made me grateful to be a member of the Catholic Church, united in belief under the teaching authority of the Pope and our bishops.
We celebrate this teaching authority today, the memorial of the Chair of St. Peter. When we speak of Peter’s “chair,” we speak of the teaching authority Jesus gave to Peter and the popes who followed him, an authority we call the “Magisterium,” from the Latin word for “teacher.”
As someone who began his Christian life and professional ministry outside the Catholic Church, I’ve come to cherish the Magisterium as a precious gift. Firsthand experience has made it clear to me that without a divinely-instituted teaching authority, what results is fragmentation, disunity, and schism. In other words, over 36,000 Christian denominations.
That’s certainly not our Lord’s will. He wants us to be one, which is why he established the Magisterium in first place. Today, let’s celebrate the unity of faith we have, and pray for reunion with those who don’t.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/