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"Dissident" theologian heaps praise on Pope Benedict


Professor Richard McBrien of Notre Dame University in the US, who is sometimes labelled a "dissident" theologian, has described Pope Benedict XVI as "open and secure", praising him for his willingness to enter into discussion on a range of issues.

"I have observed little or nothing from my vantage point that would trouble me or other reform-minded Catholics," McBrien said in a recture reprted in the Laporte County Herald-Argus. "He's not afraid of discussion. The initial signs are encouraging."

Although McBrien said no drastic changes in Catholic doctrine were imminent, the new pope was already doing his best to maintain the legacy of goodwill and interdenominationalism that his predecessor had begun.

Delivering Sunday night's Sinai Forum lecture in Michigan, he quoted Benedict XVI as saying, "My intent is to continue on this path."

He said that in the 30 weeks that Benedict has been pope, he has already met with many leaders from Protestant denominations, Judaism and Islam, looking toward a spirit of tolerance.

"Benedict was only the second pope to set foot inside a Jewish temple," McBrien explained.

McBrien also gave high marks to Benedict's more conciliatory approach to discussion and debate. He gave an example of renowned theologian Hans Kung, who had been stripped of his ability to teach in the Catholic faculty of theology in a German university. Kung had tried for 25 years to have an audience with Pope John Paul II, but was refused each time.

Pope Benedict accepted his request immediately, McBrien said.

He also said at a recent conference on the Eucharist, topics like the lack of seminarians and divorced and remarried Catholics came up and were addressed.

SOURCE
ND prof says new pope more open to discussion (Laporte County Herald Times 14/11/05)

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16 Nov 2005