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Pope says academic freedom self-defeating for theologians

Pope John Paul II has said that theologians lose sight of their purpose when they practise academic freedom in a manner that separates their work from 'communion of the Church'.

He was speaking at the weekend before 42 members of the Pontifical Academy of Theology.

He said: "Instead of being a limitation, ecclesial communion is, in fact, the place that vivifies theological reflection, supporting its audacity, and prizing its prophecy."

The Academy, founded in 1695, last week held its first forum since John Paul II approved its new statutes in 1999.

The Pope said: "The free research of the theologian is exercised, in fact, within the faith and the communion of the Church."

He stressed that theology is not about searching for unknown truth, but deepening the understanding of truth already revealed.

"Thus, by having an increasingly profound understanding of revealed truth, theological science becomes a service to the entire People of God, sustains its hope and reinforces its communion," the Holy Father added.