I was wondering why Father Fessio wasn’t returning my emails. He’s in Rome attending a meeting of the Pope’s publishers.
After his election, authority over the Pope’s publishing rights moved to the Holy See. That’s because, for all intents and purposes, the Holy See is the Pope. Everything that it does, it does in his name. And the Holy See acts on behalf of and for the Popes, protecting their legacy and advancing their interests.
But this meeting isn’t just about hammering out contracts and legal disputes. These publishers have come together to discuss how to make sure that the Pope’s extensive writings, both in the past and in the future, are presented to the public fairly, accurately, and with the due diligence and dignity they deserve.
He said it was important that the publishers discuss translation styles not only to ensure the accuracy of the translations but also to make sure the phrasing reflects the way the pope writes and speaks.
Father Fessio also said he would encourage publishers to ensure new volumes are well produced on quality paper “because he is the Holy Father now.”
It’s also important to place Pope Benedict’s writings from before he was elected in their proper context. Before he was just a theologian, however gifted. But now he is the Pope, invested by virtue of his office with the divine protection of papal infallibility whenever he teaches on matters of faith and morals. In other words, writings or speeches made before his election could contain error, but he would not make the same error now.
A key discussion point, he said, would be how to ensure that any older manuscripts or speeches published in new collections would be presented with introductions pointing out where the then-Cardinal Ratzinger’s thoughts may have developed since the time the material was first published.
He also said they should find a way to make the Pope’s works available as widely as possible online. Hear, hear.
It’s interesting that Father Fessio is playing such a key role. It’s a good thing. I trust him.