(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.”