The pope needs a theologian? Former papal adviser reveals why
Published: December 30, 2005
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- During his 16 years as theologian of the papal household, Cardinal Georges Cottier was often asked: Why does the pope need a theologian? Pope John Paul II was a respected theologian and so is Pope Benedict XVI. It's hard to imagine either one of them having enough theological doubts to justify the appointment of a full-time consultant. But if people imagine the papal theologian sitting around waiting for the pope to pose a question, the reality is quite different, Cardinal Cottier said. 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. "People have to understand that nowadays the pope is obliged to make so many speeches and send so many messages that he needs a lot of collaborators to prepare them," Cardinal Cottier said. "The theologian of the papal household is charged with reading all these texts and give(s) a theological opinion on them."
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