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Pope-emeritus Benedict warns against ‘flight into pure doctrine,’ Vatican spokesman emphasizes

July 28, 2021

In an article that appeared on the front page of L’Osservatore Romano as well as on the Vatican News website, Vatican spokesman Andrea Tornielli drew attention to comments made by Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI in a recent written exchange with the German publication Herder Korrespondenz.

“Above all, then, the believer is a person who questions himself, a person who must continually find the reality of this faith behind and against the oppressive realities of everyday life,” Benedict XVI wrote. “In this sense, the thought of a ‘flight into pure doctrine’ appears to me absolutely unrealistic. A doctrine that would exist like a nature preserve separated from the daily world of faith and its needs would be at the same time an abandonment of faith itself.”

Tornielli, the editorial director of the Dicastery for Communication, then cited similar comments made by Benedict before and during his papacy, as well as similar remarks by Pope Francis. Other commentators, reflecting on the same remarks by the former Pontiff, had placed greater emphasis on Benedict’s warning about an “inner contradiction” in the German Catholic hierarchy.

“The words of the Pope emeritus, as can also be seen in the rest of the interview, bring out the face of a Church that speaks with the heart and spirit, because a Church that speaks only with its doctrinal officiality or the functionalism of its structures, tends to drive away rather than attract,” Tornielli commented.


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