Saturday, December 31, 2005

The pope needs a theologian?

CNS runs a story where they explain precisely why the pope needs a theologian. And it turns out he does a bit more than you'd imagine. He's also, apparently the copy-proofer for speeches and such.

The papal theologian's main task is to vet the many thousands of words prepared by Vatican aides for the pope to speak or publish. He checks for statements of dubious theology and otherwise hazardous phrases that could come back to haunt the pope.

This is also somewhat ...This is also somewhat interesting. See what he has to say on the issue of "saying too much:"

A third concern, he said, is to be careful not to make the pope say too much about some topics.

"By this, I mean that when we have a theological issue that is still open to discussion and study, it's not a good thing that the pope pronounce on it too early. Because when the pope speaks with authority, it means the discussion is closed," he said.

For example, Cardinal Cottier noted that the International Theological Commission met recently to discuss the church's teaching on limbo and babies who die without being baptized. Pope Benedict gave a speech to the commission members, but without addressing the substance of the theological discussion.

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