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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

HOLY FATHER TO CONFER THE FIRST "RATZINGER PRIZE"

VATICAN CITY, 14 JUN 2011 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the "Ratzinger Prize", established by the "Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI". The Holy Father is due to confer the prize for the first time on 30 June.

  At the press conference Cardinal Camillo Ruini, president of the foundation's academic committee, announced the names of the prize winners: Manlio Simonetti, Italian layman and scholar of ancient Christian literature and Patrology; Olegario Gonzalez de Cardedal, Spanish priest and professor of systematic theology, and Maximilian Heim, German Cistercian, abbot of the monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria and professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology.

  Professor Simonetti, said Cardinal Ruini, "is a leading international authority, perhaps the first in Italy, in the field of the study of ancient Christianity. ... Although he has reached the age of 85, he continues to work actively on texts from the first four centuries of Christianity".

  Professor Gonzalez de Cardedal, who is 76, is a former professor of dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University of Salamanca, Spain. From 1969 to 1979 he was a member of the International Theological Commission. "His principal theological works concern God and the Trinity, Christology and the relationship between theology and anthropology, particularly as regards comparison between Christian faith and non-belief", said Cardinal Ruini.

  Professor Heim, 50, "entered the 'New Circle' of pupils of Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI ... and is a consultant in the project of publishing Joseph Ratzinger's complete works. ... Apart from being a monk and theologian, he is active in promoting questions relating to faith and theology among a larger public via a series of lectures and the publication of a number of books. Both initiatives have the title 'Auditorium'".

  Benedict XVI ordered the creation of the foundation on 1 March 2010, in order to respond to a desire expressed by many scholars over the course of the years. One of the tasks of the academic committee is to establish criteria of excellence for the creation and conferral of prizes to scholars who have distinguished themselves in academic publications and/or research.
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