Catholic: Is the Word of the Father authoritative to the Christian?
Protestant: Of course.
Catholic: Is the Word of the Jesus authoritative to the Christian?
Protestant: Yes. Both the Father and the Son are God. They are both authoritative.
Catholic: Is the Word of the Holy Spirit authoritative to the Christian?
Protestant: Yes, Christians believe in the Trinity, three persons in one God. They are all authoritative.
Catholic: What if I were to say to you, “My authority is Pater Solus or a Father alone. I don’t go to Jesus or the Spirit. I go straight to the Father. He is my final authority and I check out all that Jesus says or the Spirit says through the Father.” What would you say?
Protestant: I don’t understand the point. Jesus and the Father are one so they are not going to disagree.
Catholic: But if they do disagree. I’m not going to Jesus, I am going to the Father.
Protestant: What are you saying? That the Father and Son might disagree?
Catholic: No.The Trinity is our authority. There is no conflicts between them. Even though there are three final authorities, no Christian would see a problem with this.
Catholic: So, like the Trinity itself being our final authority, Christians also have three voices or sources of the Word of God that are authoritative: The Bible, Tradition and the Magisterium. All three of these are the Word of God revealed to us. The Bible is the written word, the Tradition is the oral word and the Magisterium is the living word. So, the earthly authority reflects the heavenly authority. It is three working in unison rather than any one or “sola” authority.