Theology must be a work of faith and not only scholarship, Pope Benedict XVI told members of the International Theological Commission Dec. 3.
“No theological system can subsist if it is not permeated by the love of its divine 'Subject’” the Pope said.
He urged the theologians to stay close to the heart of the Church and the Church’s concern. Theology, he said, "must remain faithful to the nature of ecclesial faith: centered on God, rooted in prayer, and in communion with the other disciples of the Lord as guaranteed by communion with Peter's successor and the entire college of bishops."
The Pope said that theologians always pick up where the Fathers of the Church and earlier generations of theologians left off. The faithful theologian today should consider “the Fathers and theologians of Christian tradition to be his masters.”
“Rooted in Sacred Scripture, read with the Fathers and the Doctors, theology can be a school of sanctity, as shown by Blessed John Henry Newman,” Pope Benedict said, referring to the recently beatified 19th century theologian and Church leader.
The Pope also said that theology can contribute to the Church’s social mission, to the dialogue with other religions, and can be a way to promote peace in the world.
“Indeed, knowing God in his true nature is also the sure way to ensure peace,” he said. “A God who was not perceived as a source of forgiveness could not be a light along the path of peace.”