“If I were Pope Benedict, this is what I’d tell them in Berlin …”

June 27, 2011

(The Reichstag building, seat of the German Bundestag in Berlin, where Pope Benedict will deliver a speech on September 22. Picture taken on November 22, 2010/Pawel Kopczynski )

Have you ever wanted to write a major speech for Pope Benedict to deliver? What would you say? How much leeway would you have if you were chosen to be the papal ghostwriter?

Benedict is not about to let outsiders write the landmark speech he will deliver to the German Bundestag in Berlin during his visit to his homeland on September 22-25. But the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), a think-tank affiliated with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), wants to test out this idea before he leaves Rome for the visit.

The KAS office in the Italian capital has just announced a contest called “Ghost writer for the pope!”  This is not an invitation to write anything heretical. The announcement on its website says KAS will only consider entries that reflect Pope Benedict’s thinking “in theology, form and content.”  It suggests that papal speechwriters in spe should use his address in London’s Westminster Hall last September as a model. Maximum length 5 pages, deadline August 26. The winner will be invited to hear the pope’s actual speech in the Bundestag on September 22.

“The choice will be made by a jury of KAS staffers in Rome, Catholic theology professors, journalists (Radio Vatican and L’Osservatore Romano) and religious dignitaries,” it warned. “The choice is not subject to appeal.”

One last condition — all entries must be submitted in German. We’ll keep an eye out for the results to report how innovative — or imitative — the winning text may be.


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This is a creative idea, but for the record…

Pope Benedict is an extraordinary wordsmith who has authored dozens of books. He does not employ a team of speechwriters. The majority of his papal addresses come from his own hand…especially very important ones such as the one he will deliver to the German Bundestag in Berlin.

…Just sayin’.

Posted by HannahEngel | Report as abusive

My comment of yesterday has not been posted. Maybe Reuters does not believe that Pope Benedict XVI should talk about his role, in allowing the priest sexual abuse of innocent children to flourish worldwide, when he speaks in his German homeland?

As a Catholic physician who has met many who have been abused by priests and whose lives have been deeply damaged, I do think it is very important for the Pope to admit his role in the scandal, to apologize, and to demand that all cases of suspected abuse be referred directly to the police for investigation.

It is not the job of clergy to investigate clergy sex abuse. Sexual abuse is a crime and needs to be treated as a crime by thePope and other Roman Catholic Church leaders.

Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago

Posted by Physician | Report as abusive

Rosemary, I have no idea what happened to your initial post, which I did not see. We would not have rejected it for the reasons you allege, so I can only assume it got automatically rejected on some technicality. If you want to resend it, please do so and we’ll post it.

Posted by Tom Heneghan | Report as abusive