Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 2, #14, ex cathedra: "Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers."
Speaking of the Magisterium, Mr. Conte fails to adequately make a very important distinction between the various levels of Magisterial authority exercised by members of the clergy, so it behooves the reader, before delving into this article, to read another, entitled "What is Sound Catholic Theology?". Mr. Conte's words appear in red and my responses to him, in which I will correct his false assertions, eliminate his ambiguities or add what he has left out, will appear formatted as above.
The root of the Magisterium heresy is found in the over-emphasis and exaltation of the Magisterium of the Church, to such an extent that Tradition and Scripture, as well as the role of the ordinary faithful, are diminished and deprecated. This is expressed in a number of different ways and has a number of effects, as this article will describe.
In truth, the Catholic Christian Faith is based on Tradition first, Scripture second, and Magisterium third, so that, of these three pillars of the Faith, the Magisterium is not first or preeminent above the others. Tradition preceded Scripture and Scripture flowed from Tradition and is confirmed by Tradition. And the Magisterium, as the guardian and interpreter of the Divine Revelation of Tradition and Scripture, is its servant, not its Master. The Master and Lord over Tradition and Scripture is the Most Holy Trinity, from which all Divine Revelation proceeds. Exalting the Magisterium above Tradition and Scripture gives the Magisterium a role which only God can have, therefore, Magisteriumism is a heresy which can lead to idolatry.
They idolize the Magisterium, so that, when anyone criticizes or disagrees with even an ordinary teaching of the Magisterium, or a non-doctrinal decision of the Pope or Bishops (which they confuse with magisterial decisions), they are convinced that such a person is disloyal to the Magisterium and therefore unfaithful to God. They see the relationship between the Magisterium and the faithful as that of Master and servant, so that the faithful are merely to obey and believe whatever the Magisterium teaches; anything else is sinful. They don't believe that the Magisterium is ever in need of correction. They think that the faithful should listen to the Magisterium, but that the Magisterium has no need to listen to the faithful.
In truth, the Magisterium is a gift which God gives to the whole Church. The Magisterium is exercised by the Pope and the Bishops, but it belongs to the whole Church, since it is a gift to us all. Also, just as the Son of man came to serve, not to be served, so also do the Pope and the Bishops exercise the Magisterium to serve the faithful, not so as to dominate or rule over them.
The idea that the faithful can only learn the truths of the Faith from the Magisterium, not from Tradition or Scripture directly
They know that the Magisterium teaches from Tradition and Scripture, but they also think that the faithful cannot reliably learn the truths of the Faith from Tradition and Scripture themselves. They say that we should only believe what the Magisterium teaches. They compare anyone who tries to learn directly from Tradition or Scripture to the Protestants, who try to understand Scripture themselves and so fall into error. For them, the Magisterium stands between the faithful and the Deposit of Faith (Tradition and Scripture), so that the faithful only access the truths of the Faith through the Magisterium.
In truth, the faithful are obligated by the moral law to learn directly from Tradition and directly from Scripture, while being guided in their understanding by the teachings of the Magisterium. For the faithful have always learned first from Tradition, and second from Scripture, and third from Magisterium. In the early Church, there were very few, if any, magisterial documents, and very few definitive teachings of the Magisterium. They learned the faith as it was handed down to them by the words and examples of fellow Christians, not only the Apostles and Bishops, but every Christian down to the least little child. They lived the faith based on their own imperfect understanding of ineffable Divine Revelation, just as all the faithful throughout history have done. One does not attain to a perfect or complete understanding of Divine Revelation by claiming to believe and to have understood all that the Magisterium teaches.
They believe that there are no teachings in the Catholic Faith, which we ought to believe, other than the teachings of the Magisterium. And they think that every teaching of the Magisterium has been written down in various magisterial documents, so that if anyone says to them that something is the teaching of the Church, they reply by asking which document contains that teaching. If there is no magisterial document, then they do not accept that it is a teaching of the Church, even if it was clearly taught by a Saint, a Doctor of the Church, a Father of the Church, or was the practice of the Church for hundreds of years, or is clearly taught in Sacred Scripture.
In truth, the teaching of the Church is everything taught by Sacred Tradition, even those truths that have never been taught by the Magisterium, and everything taught by Sacred Scripture, even those truths that have never been taught by the Magisterium. The Magisterium teaches from Tradition and Scripture, but it has not and will never explicitly teach every truth of the Faith found in Tradition and Scripture. And the Magisterium has no teachings of its own; all its teachings are of Tradition and Scripture.