Theology, as Benedict XVI understands it, is much richer than the clarification of doctrine against the claims of others. In ?The Nature and Mission of Theology,? Benedict rejects the utilitarian idea that theology is merely a way to ?calculate how much religion can reasonably be expected of man and to utilize bits and pieces of the Christian tradition accordingly.?

Surely, one function of theology is the critical examination of Christian traditions in the search for truth. But Benedict?s mission to Turkey fits within a second aspect of theology that he develops, an aspect based on the observation that the need for religion and transcendence is a universal human need. He argued (long before he became pope) that the theologian ?must promote interreligious dialogue and contribute to the development of a planetary ethos whose key concepts are justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.? This is where the theologian meets the bishop of Rome meets the modern world.