In a meeting today with members of the International Theological Commission, Pope Benedict stressed the need for theologians to perform their work in union with, and under the authority of the Church Magesterium and sacred tradition.
The commission is being headed for the first time by an American--Archbishop William Levada, who replaced former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.
Speaking on the importance of academic study, the Pope told the group that "the theologian's work must be carried out in communion with, and under the authority of, the living Magisterium of the Church.”
“To consider theology as a private concern of the theologian”, he said, “is to misunderstand its very nature. Only within the ecclesial community, in communion with the legitimate pastors of the Church does theological work have meaning.”
The Holy Father went on, saying that “such work certainly calls for scientific competence, but also and above all for the spirit of faith and humility of one who knows that the real and living God, subject of his reflections, infinitely surpasses human capacities."
Anticipating possible dissent on this point, the Pope then said, "At this point it may be asked… Is theology thus defined still a science that conforms to our reason? Yes.
Reason, science, and thinking in communion with the Church”, he said, “are not only not mutually exclusive, but complement one another.”
“The Holy Spirit introduces the Church to the fullness of truth,” he added, and “the Church is at the service of truth and guides people by educating in truth."