Vatican City, 16 November 2015 (VIS) – At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the “Ratzinger Prize”, instituted by the “Vatican Foundation: Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI”, to be awarded on 21 November to Professor Nabil el-Khoury, Lebanon, and Fr. Mario de Franca Miranda, S.J., Brazil. The speakers at the conference were Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., member of the Foundation's Scientific Committee, Msgr. Giuseppe Scotti, president of the Foundation, and Professor Pietro Luca Azzaro, executive secretary.
Nabil el-Khoury is professor of philosophy and comparative literature at the Lebanese University in Beirut, where he has taught since 1977, and at the University of Tubingen, Germany. He is the translator into Arabic of the Opera omnia of Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI. He has held courses at the Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen, the Catholic University of Eichstatt-Ingolstadt, the Johannes Gutenburg University of Mainz, and the University of Freiburg in Germany, and the University of Salzburg in Austria.
Fr. Mario de Franca Miranda, S.J. began teaching in the theological faculty of the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) in Rio de Janeiro in 1974, and served as ordinary professor of systematic theology and subsequently in the Jesuit faculty of theology in Belo Horizonte, where in 1990 he was appointed as academic rector. He returned to the PUC in 1993, where he served as dean of the faculty from 2001 to 2003. In recent years he has devoted himself to ecclesiological studies. He has given courses in various dioceses throughout Brazil, and has collaborated extensively with the Conference of Brazilian Bishops. He has also served as a member of the International Theological Commission in the Vatican under during two periods between 1992 and 2003, under the direction of the then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
In his discourse, Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., emphasised that with its decision this year, the Foundation continues to broaden its horizons. “Indeed, from the beginning the Ratzinger Prizes have been granted to theologians of various nationalities: Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Poland and the United States, and by virtue of the ecumenical spirit that inspires the Foundation, this important award has also been given to some representatives of other Christian confessions. This year both prizewinners are Catholics, but neither of them belongs to the so-called 'Western world'. ... With these two figures, the list of theologians who have deservedly received the Ratzinger Prizes is further enriched not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively”.