Rome’s ‘Master of the Sacred Palace’

By Robert Duncan
Catholic News Service

ROME — Last year I produced a profile of Dominican Father Wojciech Giertych, theologian of the papal household, for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph. As theologian of the papal household, he is the official editor of all drafts of texts and speeches presented to the pope for him to read or issue in his name. Father Giertych’s task is to ensure that the contents of the drafts are in line with Catholic tradition.

I spent four hours filming an in-depth interview with Father Giertych last spring and was able to visit his quarters. In this video, which contains the first three minutes of a 20-minute program, Father Giertych comments on the state of modern society and on his role in guarding the deposit of faith. He does this while giving us a “special performance” of Chopin’s “Nocturne No. 20 in C-sharp minor.” It is said that the pope, who lives two floors above him, will answer his Chopin-playing with a bit of Mozart.

Enjoy, and for the full program, visit kindlylight.org!

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Robert Duncan is a multimedia journalist in the Catholic News Service Rome bureau.

3 Responses

  1. I wish he would change his title, it doesn’t sound like a place of humility and service. Those titles might have meant some thing at one time, but it doesn’t serve the Church in making a statement about the New Evangelism. “Master” and “Palace” have very negative overtones in world with hunger and poverty.

  2. The present office is called “Theologian of the Papal Household,” and, as you suggest, “Master of the Sacred Palace” is an antiquated title of the post.

    It may be good to remember that sometimes a deliberate lack of pretense is generally a transparent attempt to be political. The Church’s tradition of mystery, intrigue, and pomp can often spark people’s interest and motivate them to learn more about the Church. It also, properly understood, is a sign of the Kingship of Christ.

    Your reservation calls to mind the often-made suggestion that the Church should “sell” her treasures and give the money to the poor, but many visitors to Rome from poorer countries will express great gratitude that the Vatican has preserved history and great works of art in a way for the public to enjoy. The point is that Westerners are often much more scrupulous about these issues than is necessarily warranted.

    Just a thought!

  3. Does the Church have to defrock itself of every vestige of the past? Can’t we keep some of the titles and ceremonies of the past? I realize that in most people’s minds we must cater to the protestants and make everyone else happy. Forget evangelism, lets get back to traditional Catholicism!

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