Pope Urges Theologians to Keep Up Questions
Says They Also Need the Humility to Receive Answers
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 3, 2007 (www.Zenit.org) - Benedict XVI says that theologians should have the courage to ask questions but also the humility to receive answers from the Christian faith.
The Pope said this recently, when receiving in audience a delegation from the theology faculty of the University of Tuebingen. Joseph Ratzinger was a professor of dogmatic theology in that German university from 1966 to 1969.
Recalling his personal experiences at the university, the Holy Father mentioned an anecdote related to assigning the chair of theology. Everyone "gave their opinion," he said, "and it was notable that the university professors all somehow felt competent in theology, since they had the idea that they needed to participate in the decision."
"In this way, one could perceive that colleagues from the other faculties considered, in a certain sense, that theology was the heart of the university," the Pontiff continued, "and that theology is something that affects everyone; that it is something which everyone is involved in, and therefore, something in which we all feel competent."
In the March 21 audience, Benedict XVI mentioned that in some countries the secularity of the state and of public institutions is emphasized "to the extreme of leaving aside anything that deals with the Church, Christianity and faith." Yet, he said, "this complex reality which we call theology cannot be excluded."
The Pope explained that "it becomes evident that in this union of European realities, which are and have to be, in one sense, secular, still, Christian thought with its questions and answers continues to be present."
"Universities, societies and humanity need questions and also answers," the Holy Father affirmed. "In places where they no longer ask questions, particularly those regarding essential issues that go beyond specializations, they also no longer receive answers."
"Only if we ask questions, and are radical with our questions, radical as theology has to be, going beyond specializations, only then can we find answers to these fundamental questions that affect all of us," Benedict XVI said. "Before everything else, we have to ask questions.
"But, in the case of theology, in addition to the courage to ask questions, it is also necessary to have the humility to listen to answers which the Christian faith gives us: the humility to perceive in these answers their reasonable character and to make them in this way, accessible to our times and to ourselves.
"In this way, not just the university is built up, but also, humanity itself is helped to live."