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14 Sep 2015 News Vatican Comments (1)

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24 Nov 2015 Europe News No comments

Two new Auxiliary Bishops are appointed for the Diocese Westminster Cathedral by Pope Francis

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29 Nov 2015 Middle East - Africa News No comments

Pope Francis "Messenger of Peace" welcomed in Central Africa

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18 Feb 2016 Articles No comments

Unless You Become Like Little Children

As a youngster, I thought going to church was a mystical adventure filled with a strange language, bells and incense. We knew we were in a sacred place because …

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What does the term ex cathedra mean, and where did the Catholic Church come up with it?

Full Question

What does the term ex cathedra mean, and where did the Catholic Church come up with it?


Ex cathedra is a Latin phrase which means “from the chair.” It refers to binding and infallible papal teachings which are promulgated by the pope when he officially teaches in his capacity of the universal shepherd of the Church a doctrine on a matter of faith or morals and addresses it to the entire world. The concept derives from Jesus.

In Matthew 23: 2-3 Jesus spoke of the authority of the Old Testament magisterium saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair [Gk. cathedras] of Moses. Therefore, do and observe whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach what they do not practice.” Since Jesus recognized the authority of the Old Testament magisterium when it spoke ex cathedra(with the authority of Moses), we recognize that the New Testament magisterium of the Church, which speaks with the authority not of Moses but of Jesus Christ himself (Mt 10:40, 16:18-19, 18:18; Lk 10:16; 2 Cor 5:18-20), possesses a binding, infallible teaching office which is guaranteed by Christ (Mt 28:20; Jn 14:16, 26, 16:13).

1 comment

  1. Becky Jo Elster Reply

    AMEN>>>>>>>Thanks for your response! For those who say/believe the written words of God, IS the final and ONLY binding authority, makes every one and their sister, chair of a Moses sitters!

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