Inigo Montoya famously said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Now it's the Pope's turn to essentially say the same thing. The Pope recently told a group of theologians that "sensus fidelium" doesn't mean what many think it means.
As I wrote at The Campus Notes:
One need not look very far in Catholic circles nowadays to find some mention of “sensus fidelium” which literally means “sense of faith.” But its literal meaning has almost become besides-the-point in modern usage. Recently, the term has been misused to argue for same-sex “marriage,” contraception and even women’s ordination. It’s a form of Magisterium by Gallup in which a person argues that most Catholics agree with them on an issue, so even though the Magisterium says otherwise, they hold the trump card because of “sensus fidei.”But Pope Benedict XVI, in a recent speech to the International Theological Commission, clarified what “sensus fidelium” means and what it does not mean. The Pope said pointedly, “It is unthinkable to mention it (sensus fidei) in order to challenge the teachings of the Magisterium.
Take that, National Catholic Reporter!