I posted this in a Being Frank thread, and thought it may be good to post here also.
We ought really to be full of thanksgiving in the freedom we have (freedom in the true sense). We are guided by the Magisterium and must be faithful to it as sheep to their shepherd, but this should not be seen as some sort of an unduly (a key word there) rigid and legalistic thing. We adhere to the authority of the magisterial as a child to his/her mother, since such is the environment of true freedom where all of our potentials and possibilities can be nurtured and realised through her loving and maternal care (the greatest fruit of which is salvation – “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3).
I think being orthodox in the face of seemingly ubiquitous unfaithfulness and dissent seemingly takes an incredible degree of ‘rigidity’ in standing one’s ground, as it does also with natural marriage against the culture of unfaithfulness and adultery, but we must be constantly aware of the true freedom this brings, and never reduce the relationship to such a rigidity (in both cases).
This is the case, I think, in every area of Catholic faith: theology, ministry, apostolate – anywhere where faith, hope and love are manifest. What Aidan Nichols says for theology seems applicable everywhere: it is dependent on the magisterium for its very life in faith, yet also its scope is not prescribed by the office beforehand. We are the body of Christ and individually member of it (1 Corinthians 12:28), yet out of this harmony, and out of the same Spirit who forms us into the same body, comes various gifts which constitute the diverse offices and ministries (1 Corinthians 12:4-6,28-31).
The hands and feet work in harmony with the head and the nervous system, but not for the sake of such harmony alone – they’re directed toward some common end. So, we must firmly be established in our roots of the magisterium and the faith, yet we must not forget that this is directed through the stem of hope toward its flowering in love.