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Ratzinger urges compassion for dissident theologians

When a theologian appears to stray from a truth of the Catholic faith, his bishop must react with prudence, attempt to read the theologian's work in a positive light, and spend time personally discussing the issues with him, said Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told new bishops from around the world that "many things can be clarified through a personal rapport" with theologians.

"The closeness of the bishop helps reinforce the pastoral sensitivity" and sense of responsibility of the theologian, while at the same time giving the bishop access to information about current theological debates, the cardinal said.

Cardinal Ratzinger was one of several top Vatican officials making presentations at a 10-day seminar attended by 117 bishops from 33 countries who had been named to their posts over the previous year.

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Catholic News Service

26 Sep 2002