With a lot of attention being focused on the Roman Catholic Church and of course the “election” of a new pope, you will hear the word “magisterium” being thrown around, so here is the definition of the word;
*The prerogative of the church to proclaim and teach the good news about Jesus. In many church bodies the term refers more specifically to the group of persons, generally vocational theologians and church officials, who together possess the authority to determine the content of and to pass on to others the official doctrine, teachings and practices of the church. Magisterium is used in a more limited sense to refer to the authoritative teaching body within the Roman Catholic Church, consisting of the bishops under the authority of the pope. The bishops fulfill various kinds of “ordinary” magisterium in an ongoing manner. The “extraordinary” magisterium emerges when bishops are assembled into a council or the pope proclaims new dogma (ex cathedra).
* Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 74